Storybook Island…It looks a lot better with the lights out.

It’s been nearly four months since moving to Rapid City, and two things are now certain:

  1. Useless conversations about the neurotic weather are the go-to conversation ice-breaker (I’ve grossly overused the line, “well this place is like Florida compared to Minot!”)
  2. Talking crap about Storybook Island is a sure-fire way to get your ass kicked by anyone in town.

Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration. Storybook Island stayed off our Child-Free, Booze laden Blitz of a weekend in July of 2015…for obvious reasons (see, no child). Now things are a little different, and time and time again we were told we just HAD to take Eden to Storybook Island.

Kids love it! It’s soooo cute! I went there as a kid! I went there as a kid!

Now all these things are true. Upon our first visit with Eden back in June, we had quite the time. The adorable little train was a blast, as were all of the little structures to play on.

There’s just one thing that left me feeling pretty “eh.”

There’s a thin, blue line between vintage and old. And that line is within the playground of Storybook Island.

You know that sound that an old, squeaky swing makes? That’s kind of how the entire playground sounds. The place is a little bit like the Wild West of “I went there as a kid” adults playing way too hard while their kids are nowhere to be found. Somehow, it started to make sense when that 50-year-old man told me that “he went there as a kid.”

confused fry
A little bit of both, maybe?

Ah, but I digress. I still think it’s a pretty fun rite of passage and yes, “I get it.” It’s not for lack of money, judging by the all-new Carousel House being built on the premises. It’s a piece of Rapid City history, and for many families who have lived and grown up…a piece of their childhood intact. (so lyk dont flame me plz)


So, bitchin’ aside, this entire month is Story Book Island’s Christmas Nights of Light. At $3 a person (and yes, even little Eden was a person–no “and unders” here) this fundraiser is to help keep Story Book Island free during the summer months. Okay, I’m buyin’.

I don’t think I need to explain the event ad nauseum–the typical summer displays are intricately and awesomely designed with Christmas lights throughout the park. While all of the structures are roped off, there is a nicely lit path to meander through the park.


I think everything looked particularly nice with the recent snowfall. I asked myself if this was the same “vintage” theme park filled with the sound of squeak squeaks. These aren’t raggedy, “we threw lights on top of everything for a fundraiser” displays–they’re well thought out and truly exciting to see (and take pictures of). Santa and Mrs. Claus are in the park nightly (5:30pm to 8:30pm) through December 23rd, and available for visits and pictures. Santa was super kind, given that even evoking his name has put Eden in tears every single time. There’s something a little special about a Santa that’s just “sitting around” and not part of a mall photo schill. There was no rush, no stress, and no veiled eyerolls at Eden’s tears. Bring your camera and be done with that obligatory photo. *Santa does accept donations toward the Park.

From what I hear, live reindeer will also be in the park, too. Additionally, Hot Cocoa, Cider and cookies are available for sale over at the train depot. Grab a hot cocoa and enjoy the annoyingly catchy soundtrack that plays on the train!

But don’t get me wrong here–the train is a must. Each car holds up to 450 pounds, so after doing some quick maths, we did all manage to fit in the same car (and not derail it). It’s not exactly Amtrak’s Superliner, but it is a fun ride around the park. By the time I got off the train, I was ready to do every corny Fortnite emote dance to the annoying soundtrack. So..yeah.

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Me, getting off the train. (Also, Source for this GIF so the Feds don’t shut me down)

Welp. I’ve reached the point of “about to ramble.” Cool.  So I’ll leave off with some of my favorite shots from Storybook Island.

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Have you ever been to Storybook Island? What do you think?

For more on the history and significance of Story Book Island, check out this article by Rapid City Journal.

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