Custer State Park kicks off summer season with an open house

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State Parks across South Dakota are kicking off their summer season.

Black Hills FOX's Katrina Lim shows us what one park is offering their summer visitors.

Custer State Park hosted an open house this weekend to kickoff their summer season.

The park offered free admission, free fishing, and several other activities.

Visitors could take a hay rack ride, attend a fire truck demo, or eat at a pancake feed.

Interpretive Program Manager Lydia Austin says state parks in general have a lot to offer.

Lydia Austin says, "State Parks are a great thing to have. They are a way to go explore your state's history, especially in South Dakota. It's a way to see your natural history, your history, explore, get out and hike. Things like that. People benefit from that just because we're here. We draw the visitors in and they go out to all our neighboring and surrounding communities to see what they have to offer."

As part of the open house, Chris Tibbetts and his family attended a presentation about birds of prey from the Black Hills Raptor Center.

Raptor Center employees showed several different birds including an American Kestrel, screech owls, and a hawk.

Chris Tibbetts says, "It was awesome to see them so up close and be able to take pictures. Things that you wouldn't be able to do outside a program like this, to learn so much from people who live a lifestyle all surrounded by birds."

Tibbettts has been to Custer State Park twice now.

He says his family plans to explore the area by hiking.

Chris Tibbetts says, "It's just a beautiful way of coming and experiencing nature. Even on a cloudy day, the landscape is incredible. You see deer. You see birds. You see moose even. Things that you don't normally get to see from living in a city."

If you haven't been to a state park before, Austin suggests hiking, biking on the Mickelson Trail, and observing wildlife.

Other state parks you can visit include Bear Butte State Park or Angostura Recreation Area.

Reporting from Custer, I'm Katrina Lim, Black Hills FOX News.