North Dakota State Capitol

The North Dakota state capitol reveals significant political history and is home to numerous historical statues portraying important people and events from North Dakota's past. The prominently built structure is the second-tallest in North Dakota and is the state's seat of government. It is located in the city of Bismarck on sweeping 160-acre grounds that are also home to other government buildings and offices comprising the state's judicial and legislative branches. Often referred to as the Skyscraper on the Prairie, the North Dakota state capitol building is a hot spot for tours and one of the biggest attractions in the state.

Bismarck State Capitol
Bismarck State Capitol

Measuring almost 250 feet high, the North Dakota state capitol building isn't incredibly tall, but it stands in stark contrast to the flatness of the prairie. Completed in 1934, the building is a Depression-era project replacing one destroyed by a savage fire in December 1930. A tour of the more than 130-acre capitol grounds is one of the popular things to do here, especially in warmer weather. The grounds feature many lovely trails for hiking, intriguing statues, large parks, and interesting memorials. Also located throughout the North Dakota state capitol grounds are the North Dakota Governor's Mansion, the ND State Heritage Center Museum, and the Liberty Memorial Building.

There are both indoor and outdoor tours to be enjoyed at the state capitol in North Dakota during area vacations. A look inside is a must, but with so many attractions to see, the outdoor tours are far more extensive. Along the three distinct trails carving through the grounds, visitors can see almost 80 tree and shrub species, beautiful wildflowers, and assorted native prairie grasses. Capitol Park features both an extensive playground and a basketball court.

The sheer number of statues around the state capitol in North Dakota is impressive. One of the most popular statues, the All Veterans Centennial Memorial, is dedicated to North Dakota natives who were part of the armed forces throughout the first century of statehood. The fossilized tree stumps on display are almost 60 million years old. Originally from Amidon North Dakota, they are now found in Centennial Grove after being donated in 1988. Other statues and memorials located on the grounds of the state capitol in North Dakota include the famous Sakakawea statue, the pioneer family statue, the Peace Officers Memorial, and the French Gratitude Boxcar.

If you're visiting Bismarck, the North Dakota state capitol is a definite highlight when sightseeing. There are many other excellent attractions in town, including several art galleries, the Dakota Zoo, and the Lewis and Clark Riverboat. Almost equal distance from Bismarck are Dickinson to the west and Jamestown to the east, which creates great opportunities for road trips. If you're only in Bismarck to visit the North Dakota state capitol building you have lots of choice in what to see next. It's roughly a two-hour drive from Bismarck to the stunning Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where both day trips and overnight journeys offer many things to do and see. If you're limited in time, the national park and the Badlands are a definite memorable attraction to fit into your itinerary with scores of recreational activities available and breathtaking scenery everywhere you look.

Top image: (flickr)
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