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South Dakota was bought from France in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Pierre, a smaller city located on the Missouri River, has been South Dakota's state capital since 1890. The South Dakota National Guard Museum, the Big Sioux Recreation Area and the South Dakota State Capitol Building offer some interesting things to do in Pierre.
The State Capitol Building houses the South Dakota state legislature and the offices of the Governor. The magnificent structure, built between 1905 and 1910 and refurbished, features hand laid Italian terrazzo tile floors and marble staircases. Interestingly, the floors in many rooms have a single blue tile in a sea of neutral toned ones. These tiles mark the work of each Italian artisan. Outside the Capitol Building is a man made lake in a calm setting.
The Big Sioux Recreation Area offers many different things to do in Pierre's great outdoors. Kayaking, canoeing and fishing are popular in the Missouri River. The fishing areas are known for their catfish, crappie, northern pike and smallmouth bass. Hiking and camping are two things to do in Pierre's Big Sioux Recreation Area as it has some of South Dakota's oldest trees along prairie and woodland trails, a homestead cabin and camping cabins. Chief White Crane Recreation Area is said to be a good place for bald eagle viewing, fishing and canoeing.
Visiting the South Dakota National Guard Museum is one of the best things to do in Pierre for those interested in American military history. The Museum has many military documents and historical items that relate to the work of the Guard from the Civil War Period and 1862 to Operation Iraqi Freedom and the present day. Calling before planning a visit to the Museum is necessary as tours are by appointment only. The South Dakota National Guard Museum is one of the United States' 20 authorized National Guard Museums. A Sherman tank, Armored Personnel Carrier, A-7-D Jet, Anti-Aircraft guns, 75mm cannon and a 105mm Howitzer are on display outdoors.
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