The Ark Encounter! It's what everyone is talking about and what you've seen advertised on TV lately so why not join like-minded travelers on this exciting, educational and truly unique experience from Rapid City, SD to the Louisville, KY area. Your experienced Tour Director, Marilyn Hovland, has been delighting guests for years on several Motorcoach tours. Tour Highlights include The Ark Encounter, Ararat Ridge Zoo, and the Creation Museum.
Stand in awe at the size of the reconstructed Noah's Ark built according to the dimensions given in the Bible spanning 510-feet long, 85-feet wide, and 51-feet high. Exhibits explain the architectural and engineering feats and how Noah lived and cared for the animals on board. Sculpted extinct and exotic live animals such as yaks and camels greet you at the Ararat Ridge Zoo. Learn more about biblical history at the Creation Museum starting with a walk in the realistic Garden of Eden, view exhibits with talking heroes of the faith, watch a presentation in the special effects theater, and explore the botanical gardens.
Additional adventures: Steamboat Arabia Museum; Louisville Slugger Tour; Kentucky Derby Museum; Illinois State Capitol; Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library; Indy 500 Museum and Track, and the Little Brown Church in the Vale.
We will take care of all the details! We have carefully planned stops and meals along the way to enhance your tour experience so you can sit back, relax and enjoy.
Activity Level: Easy
This is an easy-paced tour, with frequent stops and opportunities to set your own pace.
Day 1- Depart Rapid City this morning for Sioux City, IA (Hilton Garden Inn)
Travel through the wide-open country of South Dakota with additional passenger pickups along the way. Enjoy a tasty lunch along the way. Join us this evening for a short orientation followed by a welcome dinner at your hotel. (L, D)
Day 2: Sioux City, IA to Kansas City/Columbia, MO (Hilton Garden Inn Colombia)
Today's highlight is the Arabia Steamboat Museum.
Join your fellow travelers for breakfast at the hotel before departing for Kansas City.
Arabia Steamboat Museum opened in 1991 with the mission to transform the cargo of the Arabia Steamboat into a top Kansas City attraction. Your museum visit includes a short video, guided tour, time for self-exploration and a unique opportunity to watch and learn from the museum's preservationist at work in the lab restoring many more artifacts. The steamship sank in 1856 with over 200 tons of cargo aboard. Lying 45-feet deep beneath a Kansas cornfield, the cargo was protected from light and oxygen and therefore was well preserved. View artifacts from fine china, toys, quilts, carpentry tools, guns, and clothes, to the world's oldest pickles. Lost and buried for 132 years, these everyday treasures recovered from the Arabia provide an insight into what made life possible for pioneers in the 1800s. It is the largest single collection of pre-Civil War artifacts in the world.
You can choose your own time and place for dinner. Enjoy the indoor pool, visit with fellow travelers, or just relax the rest of the evening. (B)
Day 3: Columbia, MO to Louisville, KY (Galt House Hotel)
Today you will start with breakfast at your hotel in Missouri.
Louisville's legacy of the river runs deep from the Shawnee to early European settlers who depended on the mighty Ohio River for commerce and supplies. The river remains the heart of the city even today along with being known as the epicenter of the world's horse racing and Bourbon industries. Enjoy a wonderful buffet lunch.
Late afternoon arrival in Louisville, Kentucky will give you a bit of time to unwind or explore the downtown area before dinner.
Step into a piece of living American history as you board your steamboat for a dinner cruise on the Ohio River.
Your home for the next two nights is The Galt House Hotel – A legendary destination among hotels in Louisville with a history that dates back to the 1800s. The hotel overlooks the waterfront in the heart of downtown and has seven restaurants and lounges within the complex to meet all of your culinary tastes. (B, L, D)
Day 4: Louisville, KY (Galt House)
This morning we are off for breakfast in the Horsemen's Track Kitchen of Churchill Downs Racetrack followed by a guided tour. The backstretch experience gives a behind the scenes view of Thoroughbred racing at the "World' Most Legendary Racetrack." Learn about life at the track, get a view of the horses, jockeys, trainers, and other connections that live the sport of horseracing.
Afternoon: Learn about the story of Louisville Slugger baseball bats in American History. Take a photo of World's Biggest Bat! The fascinating bat factory tour, amazing artifacts, and interactive exhibits translate into an All-Star Experience at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Enjoy insights and anecdotes on hitting from top players past and present in an inspiring film narrated by James Earl Jones.
Return to your hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening as you please in what's considered one of the region's most vibrant cities. Dinner tonight is at your choice of many fine Louisville restaurants.
Time permitting: You may choose to visit, on your own, the Muhammad Ali Museum or the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience or check with the hotel personnel for other options within walking distance of the hotel. (B)
Day 5: Louisville, KY to Lawrenceburg, IN (Doubletree by Hilton)
A deluxe breakfast awaits you this morning at the hotel. Depart for The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY.
Meet Noah, his family, and the animals on the Ark as you take a walk the inside of the Ark. You will explore three decks of world-class exhibits, learn about the incredible craftsmanship, and the fabricated teaching exhibits within. The Ark Encounter is the largest timber-framed structure in the world spanning 510-feet long, 85-feet wide, and 51-feet high. It was built in part by skilled Amish craftsmen from standing dead timber. Learn what is a "cubit" and which cubit measurement was used to construct the Ark Encounter.
Visit animals from around the world at the Ararat Ridge Zoo such as Tibetan yaks, kangaroos, and ostriches. If so inclined, you can take a ride on a donkey or camel (extra cost).
Lunch at Emzara's Kitchen at the Ark complex.
Late Afternoon: Depart The Ark Encounter and travel to our overnight location in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
This evening is yours to enjoy as you wish. Dine at the hotel restaurant or explore other options within walking distance. The mayor of Lawrenceburg refers to this charming town as one taken right out of the pages of a Hallmark Movie. (B, L)
Day 6: Lawrenceburg, IN to Brownsburg, IN (Hampton Inn)
Breakfast buffet served in the hotel dining room.
Today's highlight finds us at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. This state-of-the-art museum takes you through biblical history, stunning exhibits, botanical gardens, and planetarium.
Nearly 150 exhibits feature animatronic dinosaurs, talking heroes of the faith, and displays that honor God's Word. Learn more about the biblical history through film in a 200-seat 4D special-effects theater complete with seats that rumble, shake, and deliver other surprises.
Take time to visit the planetarium as realistic images projected on a 30-foot diameter dome allow stargazers to learn about what we see in the night sky that relates God's Word in Genesis. Enjoy the beauty of God's creation as you enjoy a mile-long walk in the beautifully themed botanical gardens, cross over multiple bridges, and view a variety of waterfalls as you take in the beauty of God's creation all around you.
Lunch today at Noah's cafe, main museum lobby
Mid-afternoon: Depart The Creation Museum for Indianapolis.
Very Late afternoon: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and Track.
The museum houses a collection of automobiles and memorabilia of more than a century of Indianapolis 500 culture and competition. A short-guided tour takes you on a lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval with a stop at the famous Yard of Bricks~the start/finish line.
Late group dinner this evening at a local restaurant.
(B, L, D)
Day 7: Brownsburg, IN to Springfield, IL (Doubletree by Hilton)
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.
Late morning: The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum is a state-of-the-art facility designed with exacting historical detail that tells the entire life story of our nation's 16th President. View the well-preserved artifacts at your own pace.
The museum features high-tech exhibits, interactive displays, and multimedia programs as well as a reproduction of the White House as it looked in 1861. The holographic and special effects theatres will entertain, educate, and mesmerize you with ghostly images, live actors and high action.
The Presidential Library houses the world's largest collection of Lincoln-related documents, artifacts, and books. The library is a great resource of information for families, historians, and scholars.
Lunch today at the museum (Subway, own cost)
Mid-afternoon: Guided tour of the Illinois State Capitol. The first legislative session was held here in 1877, the new capitol building. The building is topped with a 405-foot dome and is a combination of Renaissance Revival and Second Empire design style. Inside, the bronze sculpture of a woman standing in the rotunda directly beneath a beautiful stained-glass dome welcomes you with open arms. Learn more about the art, architecture and the different departments within the capitol.
Dinner on your own this evening, hotel or area restaurants (B)
Trivia: The movie, Legally Blonde2, was filmed in the Illinois House chambers. The U.S. Capitol wasn't available, and this one resembled the U.S. Capitol more closely than any other in the country.
Day 8: Springfield, IL to Austin, MN (Holiday Inn and Convention Center)
Buffet breakfast in the hotel dining rooms.
Relax as we travel from Springfield, IL to Austin, Minnesota today. Practice singing a tune from your childhood days as the miles go by.
Lunch along the way.
Mid-afternoon: You all remember singing "Little Brown Church in the Vale, don't you? Well, this is our final highlight of the tour; a stop at The Little Brown Church in the Vale" located in Nashua, Iowa.
Tonight, enjoy a special farewell dinner along with a recap our memorable week together. (B, L, D)
Day 9: Austin, MN to Rapid City, SD
Breakfast at the hotel
Today is our last travel day, a day when you can sit back and watch the miles go by, visit with your new traveling friends, work on a crossword puzzle or catch up on some sleep!
Lunch in Mitchell, SD
Late afternoon: Welcome home! We hope your time spent with us on this special tour has renewed and refreshed your spirit and that your treasured souvenirs include precious memories and new friendships. We trust that you will be joining Prairie Spirit Tours on many more adventures. (B, L)
Book your fun-filled adventure online or if you prefer, please give us a call and we’d be happy to help! Some tours sell out very quickly, so you may want to hold a space. PST is glad to hold a space for you for up to three days with no obligation.
Deposit: 50% deposit is due the day of booking.
Final payment: Due 60 days prior to the start date of the tour. If full final payment has not been received by the due date, Prairie Spirit Tours may cancel the reservation without notice. Please see our Terms and Conditions policy for detailed refund information.
Either book online using a credit card or call to reserve your space and send payment to:
Prairie Spirit Tours
211 Founders Park Drive,
Rapid City, South Dakota 57701
Pay by check, Visa, Mastercard, AmEx