One Travel Website Calls South Dakota’s Wall Drug the ‘Most Uniquely American Tourist Attraction’
You can't travel anywhere within 500 miles of South Dakota without seeing a billboard for Wall Drug. Those billboards promise all kinds of different adventures at this 76,000 square foot collection of buildings at the eastern edge of the Badlands.
You just have to stop there at least once, if for no other reason, than to say you did.
The business may have been around for 86 years, but it's hasn't grown old with tourists - two million visit each year.
Now one travel website is heaping some very high praise of one of South Dakota's best known places.
Urban Daddy says Wall Drug is the 'Most Uniquely American Tourist Attraction'. The website cites the famous free water, five-cent cups of coffee, and quirky 'attractions' like the robotic gorilla and giant rabbit. But it also picks up on a whole different side of the business, which rakes in $10 million a year.
The writer, Joe Eichner, makes note of the surprisingly international diversity among the staff at Wall Drug, tucked away in the small western South Dakota town of just 766 people:
There are those, like us, who, after seeing Julie S. from China take our order, Nikole Z. from the Czech Republic serve it, and Nicole S. from Jamaica ring us up, think this makes Wall Drug even more American—in both its absurdist embrace of diversity and those young peoples’ likely disillusionment with our country’s promise.
As South Dakotans, it's easy to look at a place like Wall Drug as the punchline to a joke, but seeing it thru the eyes of an outsider gives you new appreciation for this old place.