You want to be out in nature, the kids want to go see some animals, and the grandparents wanted to stroll through a museum. It’s the age old struggle, but it doesn’t have to be. The D. C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery in Spearfish, South Dakota is the perfect solution. The hatchery offers fun attractions for the whole family and the best part is, it’s free. (And who doesn’t love free!)
The fish hatchery is loaded with rich history, not only of the Spearfish hatchery, but from all hatcheries throughout the United States. The museum gives you a taste of the history of the fisheries management, the Ice House replicates the storage systems used to keep ice for transportation, and the fisheries Railcar/ Yellowstone Boat #39 show you the vehicles used in the collection and transportation of the fish in the 1800s. If you’re looking for history, the D. C. Booth has you covered.
The D. C. Booth Fish Hatchery is also an aquarium. With different ponds and raceways full of trout, your family gets an up close and personal view like you’ve never experienced before. The main pond has underwater viewing windows where you can meet the trout face-to-face. The trout in this pond are not spawned or stocked and stay at the hatchery year-round. From the lookout deck above, visitors can purchase a handful of fish food, giving a more hands-on feel that the kids will love! As a disclaimer, the workers at the fish hatchery ask that you do not feed the ducks and fish bread. Bread does not give the animals enough nutrients like the fish food does.
One of the hidden gems at the hatchery, is the handful of nature trails. These nature trails are located on both sides of the hatchery ground. Originally serving as fire breaks for the hatchery grounds, they also provide as a route to take you to the historic sites, such as the reservoirs and the Mort Pit. This is an easier hike than those in the canyon and can be accessed by most age groups. This is a great getaway with your family, providing an amazing overview of the hatchery grounds.
Nature is always the number one reason that someone visits Spearfish, but when you’re here, you should learn about the history as well. The D. C. Booth Fish Hatchery is a great way to get both; the history behind the hatchery not only about the city of Spearfish, but of fisheries throughout the nation. Also, with its nature trails and being located next to the city park, the hatchery provides an experience unlike anything else.
For more information on the D. C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery, follow the link below: