Three ranger-led programs are offered at Mount Rushmore  during the summer months. The programs begin near the end of May and cease at the end of summer. (The closing date varies from year to year.) Check with the Information Center  or at the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center  on arrival to determine which programs are offered during your visit.
The 30-minute Ranger Walk is a ranger-led tour that follows the Presidential Trail  to the base of the mountain carving. The discussion includes information about the four presidents selected for the monument and information about the natural and cultural history of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills .
The second program is a fascinating 15-minute Sculpture Studio Talk presented at the Sculptor’s Studio . This program includes a discussion about the tools used to carve the mountain, stories about some of the workers on the mountain, and information about the first model for the sculpture. Samples of the tools are on-hand at the studio, as is the model for the current sculpture.
The Evening Program (late May–mid-Aug. daily 9 p.m. and mid-Aug.–late Sept. daily 8 p.m.) is the most popular program in the park. Attended by upwards of 2,500 people a night during the summer months, it is an inspirational program about the presidents, patriotism, and our nation’s history. A short film entitled America’s Lasting Legacy is shown and the program ends with the singing of the national anthem, a flag ceremony honoring military personnel past and present, and the lighting of the monument. The monument is lit in the evening in the off-season as well, but there is no program presentation to accompany the lighting.
All of the informational areas in the park carry free Junior Ranger Program activity books. Three booklets are available. One program is designed for children aged 3–5, one for children aged 5–12, and a third program is designed to enhance the Mount Rushmore  experience for adults and children aged 13 and older.
On completion of the activities, which generally take 30–60 minutes, young participants will receive a Junior Ranger badge and a certificate of completion. Older children and adults receive a certificate of completion. The programs include activities designed to educate the participant on the monument’s history and ecology.
During the summer months, free sculpture workshops are taught by an artist in residence. The one-week sessions are held about every other week. The classes are held outside and run daily 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m. so non-participants can enjoy checking out the work of budding sculptors as they learn the art of stone carving and clay portraiture.
Registration is available on the monument’s website (www.nps.gov/moru ) or you can stop by the Information Center  or the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center  and discuss the workshops with a park ranger. Registration in advance is required. All tools are provided. Plan on bringing a hat and sunscreen.
For those who fly into Rapid City  and elect not to drive, there are several tour companies that provide service to Mount Rushmore. Each company has a slightly different offering.
ABS Travel Group (945 Enchantment Rd., Rapid City, 605/791-2520 or 888/788-6777, www.abstravelgroup.com , $60–115) specializes in the short-duration (4–5 hours), small-group tours. Generally, only two sites per day are included, for instance Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse , or Rapid City and Crazy Horse, or Wall Drug  and the Badlands .
Affordable Adventures (409 N. Ellsworth, Box Elder, 605/342-7691, www.affordableadventuresbh.com , $40–105) is another small-group tour company that offers slightly longer tours of 4- to 8-hours duration.
Mount Rushmore Tours (2255 Fort Hayes Dr., Rapid City, 605/343-3113 or 888/343-3443, www.rushmoretours.com , adult $49–69, child $24.50–34.50) offers two itineraries. One tour includes a cowboy breakfast and a chuck wagon dinner at Fort Hays (where part of the movie Dances with Wolves was filmed) and a nine-hour tour of the Black Hills . The other tour does not include meals.
Black Hills Aerial Adventures (24564 U.S. 16/385, 605/673-2163, daily 9 a.m.–7 p.m., $40–199), located between Hill City  and Custer , is the only helicopter tour company in the area. It offers up-close-and-personal aerial views of Mount Rushmore  and the surrounding areas.