Things to Do in Bismarck, North Dakota

Top Must-See Attractions and Activities in Bismarck, ND.

Bismarck, North Dakota, is the state capital and a city rich in history, culture, and outdoor recreation. Visitors to Bismarck will find various activities to enjoy, from exploring museums and historical sites to hiking, fishing, and boating in the great outdoors.

One of the top attractions in Bismarck is the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum. This massive museum features exhibits exploring North Dakota’s history, from the state’s earliest inhabitants to modern times.

Visitors can see artifacts from prehistoric times, learn about the state’s Native American tribes, and discover the role of North Dakota in shaping the United States. The museum also features interactive exhibits and special events throughout the year.

Best tourist attractions in Bismarck, North Dakota

Another must-visit attraction in Bismarck is the Dakota Zoo, which features a variety of animals native to North America, including grizzly bears, bison, and mountain lions.

Visitors can stroll through the exhibits, attend animal shows and feedings, and even ride camels. The zoo also has a petting zoo, playground, and picnic area, making it an excellent destination for families with kids.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Bismarck offers plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature. One popular destination is the Missouri River, which runs through the city’s heart and offers fishing, boating, and kayaking opportunities.

Visitors can also hike or bike along the Missouri River Trail, which runs for miles through scenic parks and natural areas. With its mix of history, culture, and outdoor recreation, Bismarck is a great destination for anyone looking to experience the best of North Dakota.

Dakota Zoo

The Dakota Zoo is located in Bismarck, North Dakota. This zoo offers a variety of animals and other educational experiences.

There are 600 animals on the premises. These include a range of species, from the exotic to the native.

In addition to the animals, the zoo also offers several outdoor activities. Zoo has a large playground for kids to enjoy. It also has a train that allows visitors to see the wildlife.

Leaf Bed - Dakota Zoo Bismarck
Leaf Bed – Dakota Zoo Bismarck

Another impressive feat is the fact that the zoo is self-sufficient. A portion of every admission fee goes into a conservation fund. Since 2013, the zoo has contributed over $100K to the fund.

Other notable accomplishments at the zoo include the canine exhibit and the River Otter exhibit.

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Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park in Mandan, North Dakota, is a great place to learn about the history of the American West. Visitors can experience life in an early Indian village while learning about the area’s development.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

Located on the Missouri River, this park features several reconstructed buildings and has a unique blend of military and early Native American culture. In addition, it offers various activities and adventures special to the state of North Dakota.

Several historic structures are located at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. These include the Custer House, which was modeled after a Victorian house.

The park is also home to the historic cemetery. In addition, several other reconstructed buildings, including the Fort McKeen blockhouses, have been restored.

North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum

The North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum is home to the State Museum and State Archives. Visitors can explore the past, present, and future of North Dakota and get hands-on with its artifacts.

The museum features state-of-the-art exhibits. One of the most excellent features is the new digital Great Plains Theater. This high-tech theater provides an interactive experience with a full-size revolving theater screen that takes visitors on a state tour.

North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum, Bismarck, North Dakota
North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum, Bismarck, North Dakota

There are many other features to appreciate at the Heritage Center. Aside from the high-tech exhibits, several artifacts are also on display, from the first cannonball concretions in North Dakota to a 67-million-year-old hadrosaur fossil called Dakota. Among the highlights is a 12-foot giant sea turtle named Archelon.

The building also features a plethora of geothermal wells. These wells are not only suitable for cooling down visitors during the hot summer months, but they also reduce energy costs.

Former Governor’s Mansion State Historic Site

The Former Governors’ Mansion State Historic Site in Bismarck, North Dakota, is a well-preserved 1884 late Victorian mansion. It is a significant landmark in Bismarck and has been restored over the years.

The first Governors’ Mansion in North Dakota was built in 1884 by Asa Fisher, a local businessman who made a fortune in real estate and liquor sales. He sold the house to the state for $5,000.

Bismarck North Dakota Former Governor's Mansion
Bismarck, North Dakota, Former Governor’s Mansion

In 1975, the State Historical Society of North Dakota acquired the house; in 1983, it opened to the public as the State Historical Site. It has been renovated and remodeled many times over the years. Most of the house was remodeled in 2000.

During the restoration, the house was given a new coat of paint, and the interior was given a makeover. In addition, a modern exhibit space was installed on the main floor. New wallpaper was also installed. Other notable renovations included stabilizing the foundation, rebuilding the south porch, and re-roofing the building.

North Dakota State Capitol in Bismarck

The North Dakota State Capitol is an impressive art deco building in Bismarck, ND. It is home to the state’s legislative and judicial branches. In addition to its beautiful architecture, the building is a landmark on the city’s skyline.

It was built in 1934 to replace the original Capitol, which was burned down in 1930. This 21-story Art Deco-style building cost $2 million and is the tallest structure in the state. You can tour the facility and see the monuments adorning the campus.

North Dakota State Capitol, Bismarck, North Dakota
North Dakota State Capitol, Bismarck, North Dakota

A significant highlight of the Capitol is the tower. The 21-story building is one of the tallest buildings in the state. At the end of the holiday season, the outlook is lit with Christmas lights, giving the building a festive atmosphere.

There is also a cafe on the 18th floor of the building. The restaurant is open throughout the day and has good food. In addition, visitors can take in the views of Bismarck from the observation deck.

Another exciting piece of architecture is the Northern Lights Atrium. It features bronze elevator doors that depict the history of life on the prairie.

Best Things to Do in Bismarck, North Dakota

Places to visit in Bismarck, ND:

  1. Dakota Zoo in Bismarck
  2. Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
  3. North Dakota Heritage Center State Museum
  4. Former Governor’s Mansion State Historic Site
  5. North Dakota State Capitol in Bismarck

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