Minuteman Missile Site
After leaving The Badlands, we stopped at the Minuteman Missile Site. This is the area where the government stored hundreds of missiles during the cold war. The launch center is now open for tours and is part of the National Park Service. I had called months ago about getting a tour, but they were booked. I decided to stop by anyway since I thought the kids might find it interesting, and surely they knew something about missiles from all of the video games they play! Well, it was just our luck that we showed up as an official tour was leaving and they had a cancellation. Not only did we get in, but our tour guide was a retired Air Force Officer and he was one of the original launch controllers. He is the only living person to have ever launched one of those missiles!
We toured launch control and learned about all the equipment. The amount of technology in that room could now fit in a cell phone! We also learned about launch procedures and security, and then drove out to see one of the missiles. It was very interesting and a very good history lessons for all of us. Our tour guide even told us that you can find historic footage of practice launches on the internet, and he is the person in the video!