“nuclear missile launch control center!”
The Cold War—an event lasting almost 50 years in human history that caused fear, panic, and distrust during the time of nuclear weapons development in the United States and Soviet Union. Minuteman missiles held the power to destroy civilization, but this destructive force also acted as a nuclear deterrent which maintained peace and prevented war. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site was established in 1999 to illustrate the history and significance of the Cold War, the arms race, and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) development. This National Historic Site preserves the last remaining Minuteman II ICBM system in the United States. (450 of the newer Minuteman III missiles are still on active duty, at Malmstrom AFB, MT, Minot AFB, ND and F. E. Warren AFB, WY.) Minuteman Missile offers daily tours. Tour schedule varies on a seasonal basis. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is the only unit of the National Park Service devoted to Cold War history! The site's visitor contact station is the starting point for all ranger-guided tours of Delta-01, a Cold War-era Launch Control Facility which controlled the operation of ten Minuteman II nuclear missiles for almost 30 years. The contact station also includes exhibits and artifacts, as well as a brief orientation video that places the Minuteman missile system in the historic context of the Cold War. The visitor contact station is located south of I-90, off Exit 131 and shares a parking lot with the adjacent Conoco gas station. Ranger-guided tours of Delta-01 are available year-round. Tickets are free, and are issued at the contact station on a first come, first served basis. Each tour is limited to six people due to the size of the elevator. Tours are conducted throughout the day and last 30 minutes and include an above ground tour of the Launch Control Facility, as well as a trip 31 feet underground to the Launch Control Center!
Tickets went fast. It was interesting but disappointed not to get tickets we got there at 9:45 and they were gone.
Great tour, if you get there early enough to get tickets. The visitors center is no longer in a trailer by the Conoco, but rather in a new facility just north of I-90, off exit 131.
There are 3 locations associated with this historical "attraction". The first is the visitor center, mentioned above. Next, is the Delta-01 launch control facility where the guided tour is actually given. That facility is located off of I-90 exit 127. After that, or if you don't get a chance to score tour tickets, you could still go to the Delta-09 missile silo location for a self guided, or cell phone guided tour off of I-90 exit 116. It's pretty cool seeing an actual missile in its silo if your into that sort of thing. The multi-ton concrete and steel cover is partially pulled back and the silo is covered by glass.
Like everyone else, I recommend getting there early to obtain tickets. We wanted to do all three locations without delay so we were the first ones there at 7am. The next group was in the parking lot at about 7:20. We got our tickets when they opened at 8:00 am and the first tour was at 8:30 at the Delta-01 location. Since our guide was actually stationed in the launch control facility when it was active, we got thorough, first hand information and anecdotes making this one of the best stops on our trip. Though our kids were really tired from getting up that early, even they felt it was well worth it.
Great tour. The visitor center is small but very informative. There's also gas right next to it. I'd recommend taking the paid guided tour through the control center. It really is the best way to experience the site. The tours are by appointment, so prepare to allow a bit of extra time.
Awesome tour! This is a must if you have any interest in the Cold War. The tour is free, but they have limited tickets, and the groups sizes are limited to about 5 people. Get there early, they open at 8:00 AM. Also be sure to check out the self guided tour of the actual missile site, it's very, very cool!
Tour was interesting, worth the visit. Get to visitor center here early. I was at 7:30 AM and there was already a good 35 people in line. Drive to location. And drive to missile site (no ticket needed for that) can use phone for audio tour.
Pretty interesting. Go early for tickets!
Go early for tickets. I only got to go to the visitors center.
Be sure to arrive early in the morning, the number of tickets is limited and the distribution begin at 8am
They have changed their tour ticket system!! Instead of first come first serve, they now require a reservation either online at https://www.blackhillsvacations.com/things-to-do/national-state-parks/supplier/698193-Minuteman-Missile-National-Historic-Site or by phone. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance, and can be made up to 90 days ahead of time.
We only got to go to the museum in the visitor center (which was really well designed and very cool to see) and to the Delta-09 site where there was luckily a ranger who had worked on the Minuteman missiles for several years to talk about them and answer questions.
Cool. We purchased tickets for the launch center tour (Delta 1) online so we didn't miss out. The tour was for 2:00 in the afternoon, so we went to the visitors center in the morning, then drove to the Delta 9 site to see the missile still in the silo (Delta 9 closes at 3:00), then on to Wall Drug for lunch. That was the perfect amount of time to make it back to D-1 for the tour.
Learned so much about the procedures that were in place during the Cold War to make sure we didn't have a nuclear accident.
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Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
- Mon - Fri: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
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