The natural beauty of the Big Sioux River gave South Dakota’s largest city, Sioux Falls, its name, and like a lot of places in South Dakota, it has a long history. Falls Park is one of South Dakota’s Great Places.
Queen Bee Mill at Falls Park was built in the 1880s and was used to tap the falls for water power. In 1908 the hydroelectric plant was built and the original dam was raised to supply power to the plant. Parts of these structures are still visible to the visitor and provide a glimpse at the area’s history.
On the grounds of the 123 acre park are picnic areas, six viewing areas, walkways, a restaurant and an Arts Center inside a historic building. Each second, an average of 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet over the falls.
The Falls Park Visitor Information Center features a 5-story observation tower where visitors can take in the 360-degree view of the majestic falls along with the city skyline of Sioux Falls.
The park is free to visit and offers a Sound and Light show which tells the history of Sioux Falls; it is shown at dusk Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather permitting.
The Viewing Tower is open to the public during the hours when the Visitors Center is operating. For a detailed listing of seasonal hours, visit the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau website, www.siouxfallscvb.com.
South Dakota’s Great Places weekly press release series is a project of the South Dakota Department of Tourism, designed to highlight places in South Dakota that are unique to travelers and residents alike. Click on the special “South Dakota’s Great Places” link at www.MediaSD.com to access the complete list of articles. Information for this release was obtained from the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau.