Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Minuteman Missile National Historic SiteThe National Park Service keeps tabs on visits to every one of its
national parks, seashores, historic monuments, memorials, recreation
areas and grasslands. Attendance, as you might expect, varies from a few
thousand to many millions annually — but one of the most popular
locations in the NPS arena has rarely entertained more than 5,000 guests
each year. In only its third year of existence, the Minuteman Missile
National Historic Site was booked solid through the 2005 summer season.

 

Why? Only two free tours are offered daily at the once-classified
military installation near Philip, South Dakota. The guided tours take
visitors through a launch control facility and a missile silo complex —
the only remaining intact components of a nuclear missile field that
once consisted of 150 Minuteman II missiles and 15 launch control
centers, and covered more than 13,500 square miles of southwestern South
Dakota.

As one guide noted, “Visitors were astounded by the experience
of entering the underground launch control center … shocked to stand
in the same location where missileers could have launched a nuclear
strike.”

Reservations for summer tours will be taken starting April 3. For more information, call (605) 433-5552 or go to nps.gov/mimi.

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