Holiday Open House and Annual Bird Count Help Celebrate the Season at Wind Cave National Park


The annual Wind Cave National Park Christmas Bird Count will be held on
Sunday, December 11. (NPS Photo)

Holiday events this year at Wind Cave National Park begin Sunday, December 11, with the park’s annual Christmas Bird Count followed by a holiday open house on Monday, December 19.

The bird count begins at 7:30 a.m. in front of the visitor center. Staff will distribute hiking and driving routes and datasheet packets. Participants are encouraged to bring a lunch, warm clothes, and if you have them,
binoculars, field guides, and spotting scopes.

The count ends at 2 p.m. but it is not required to attend the whole day.
Smaller hiking and driving units are available. To request specific units or
for questions, please contact Angela Jarding at 605-745-1157 or via email at

The count is patterned after the nationwide National Audubon Society effort
to document trends in wintering birdlife throughout the United States.
The count will cover all of Wind Cave NP and areas of the Black Hills
National Forest and Custer State Park. Information from the count will be
provided to the South Dakota Ornithological Union.

Festivities move inside on Monday, December 19, when the park hosts its
annual holiday open house. It will run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the visitor
center. Light refreshments will be served, and students from the Hot
Springs’ third grade will present their Christmas program at 1:15 p.m.

During the open house, the public will be able to view park exhibits and
browse through the park store operated by the Black Hills Parks and Forests

The visitor center and cave will close on Christmas and New Year’s Day to
allow staff to celebrate the holidays with their families. Throughout the
remainder of the winter, the visitor center will be open daily from 8 a.m. to
4:30 p.m. with cave tours at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.