Six things to know about the Trees and Trains exhibit at the South Dakota State Railroad Museum

HILL CITY, S.D. – For some holiday cheer, South Dakota State Railroad Museum is a stop to make this time of year. On Friday, the museum started its Trees and Trains exhibit for people from far and near to visit.

What is Trees and Trains?

Trees and Trains is an exhibit that the SDSRM puts on every year, with this year being the 14th. The event is a chance for local businesses of the Black Hills to decorate a tree that’s displayed at the museum, featuring 30 different trees. The exhibit supports local businesses, while also bringing a little holiday cheer to visitors.

When can you go?

The exhibit is open most weekends through December.


  • Nov. 25-26, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-19 & 23, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Dec. 24, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • December 27-28, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Cost of admission:

Kids 10 years old and under get in for free, but admission for adults is $3.50 each. There is a group or family price of $10.

There is also an option to take pictures with Santa for $10 each, or three for $25, then you get free admission to the museum along with the photos.

Photos of the decorated trees at SDSRM:

How long does it take to set up?

Rick Mills, curator and historian of the SDSRM, says that the event takes a decent amount of time to put together.

“We have a lot of partners, a lot of folks and individuals from around the Black Hills area that come in and put up trees to advertise their businesses,” He said. “We started actually mid-October getting ready on some of these projects. So when they come in, folks are going to see just a lot of talent and a lot of different variety in the trees and the displays, the wreaths.”

Amount of people who stop in:

While there isn’t an exact number, Mills says that they get a decent amount of people into the museum as well as the 1880 Train Holiday Express, which they always work closely to.

Families with their visiting relatives come in and people from states like California and Texas stop in at the exhibit.

Why is it held?

Trees And Trains6“This started before the museum was actually open. So what we’ve done every year is expand the event,” Mills said. “We have folks that come in when they’re here in Hill City. But so many other businesses and everything around the hills share their creativity. It expands the exhibit every year. We always get new trees. We get new folks that are coming in. It doesn’t cost anything for any business to come in and be a part of this. We just like to see what people want to display to promote their business, but also just to get in the spirit of the holidays.”

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Events, Local News