Children attend schools in the Sioux Falls School District where staff strives "to educate and prepare each student to succeed in a changing world." Local universities and colleges include Augustana College, Sioux Falls College, Colorado Tech, The University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University.
Washington Pavilion of Arts and Sciences is the centerpiece of Sioux Falls culture, arts and education. Located in downtown, the Pavilion includes the Husby Performing Arts Center for music, dance and theatre; the Visual Arts Center showcasing works by Native American artists as well as regional and national works; the Raven Industries Children's Studio which allows children to learn about the process of creating art in a hands-on environment; and the Kirby Science Discovery Center with opportunities to launch a hot air balloon, fly the space shuttle, play in a stream with boats and waterwheels, operate a pioneer store, play with lasers, check out a working beehive, put your hand in a tornado, watch the effects of an earthquake, and dig for dinosaur bones. The Wells Fargo CineDome Theatre puts visitors in the middle of outdoor adventures on the 60-foot domed screen.
Historical attractions include the Battleship USS South Dakota Memorial, which commemorates one of the most decorated battleships from World War II. A museum features a scale model of the ship while outside is a full sized concrete outline of the ship, its mast, anchor, gun barrels and radar screen. The Old Courthouse Museum is housed in the restored late 19th century courthouse. The exterior of the courthouse is styled in an outstanding example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. The Pettigrew Home and Museum is located in a restored 1889 Queen Anne style house. The personal effects of Senator Richard F. Pettigrew, and the story of his life are on display. There are also exhibits on the history of the Sioux Falls region.
The Great Plains Zoo features 400 animals in naturalistic habitats. Critically endangered Siberian tigers, giraffes, bears, snakes, zebras, penguins and flamingos are among the animals on display. The Outdoor Campus is an educational center and a hands-on museum with mounted wildlife, nature exhibits, a 3000-gallon streambed aquarium, hiking trails, a pond, butterfly garden and a tall grass prairie.
The Horse Barn Arts Center, managed by the Sioux Empire Arts Council, was built in the late 1800s and served as a horse barn. The former hayloft is an art gallery, exhibit space is located in several former horse stalls, a gift shop occupies two former stalls, and a working artist uses another stall. Artist demonstrations, hands-on activities for all ages, classes, workshops, poetry readings, artist receptions and musical performances are some of the activities that take place at the Horse Barn Arts Center.
Other great recreational opportunities can be found at Great Bear Ski and Recreation Area located on the East edge of Sioux Falls and operated by the community's Parks Department. Annual Events include: Sioux Falls Sidewalk Arts Festival in September. Jazz Fest (80,000 people attend) in July and Friends of Old Time Music Festival in Canton (30 minutes from Sioux Falls) in August.
The Queen Bee Mill, located near the falls, was built of native Sioux quartzite in 1878. The mill was six stories with maple floors and imported Scottish machinery. The ruins were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and serve as a reminder of the early town builders and their efforts to create a wonderful place to life. The Sioux Falls Light and Power Hydroelectric Plant, also built out of Sioux quartzite, is also on the National Register for Historic Places. It generated electricity for the city's streetlights and for the trolley system in 1907. The Carnegie Building was built in 1903 from a $25,000 gift to the city by Andrew Carnegie. Originally the city's library until 1972, the building then became the home of the Civic Fine Arts Association until 1999. In 2001, the Carnegie Building became Carnegie Town Hall. It is the home of the Sioux Falls City Council, the City Clerk's office and the Community Development office.
Annual Sioux Falls events and activities include a Farmers Market, operating on Saturdays from May through October. The Festival of Cultures celebrates the cultures and traditions found in Sioux Falls with exhibits, entertainment and food. Artfalls at Falls Park features the visual, performing and culinary works of artists from the surrounding nine state areas.
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