The Ben Reifel Visitor Center (25216 Ben Reifel Rd., Hwy. 270, 605/433-5361, www.nps.gov/badl , mid-Apr.–May daily 8 a.m.–5 p.m., June–mid-Aug. daily 7 a.m.–7 p.m., mid-Aug.–Oct. daily 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Nov.–Apr. daily 8 a.m.–4 p.m.) is located at Park Headquarters on the south edge of the Badlands Loop Road .
Watch the award-winning video Land of Stone and Light in the adjacent theater. The video is a great introduction to the park. It is 20 minutes long and plays every 25 minutes during the day. The video features superb photography of the park, along with narrative discussion of the wildlife, geology, paleontology, early peoples, and history of the park.
Exhibits at the visitors center examine the history, ecology, and paleontology of the Badlands, with murals of the geologic layers of the park, samples of fossils found in the park, and two other videos in the exhibit hall.
One of the videos discusses the work of the paleontologist, from the discovery of a fossil in the field to the work that is done back at the laboratory. The second video examines different personal perspectives of the park, with interviews of park rangers, Native Americans, ranchers, and park visitors. There is also a bookstore on-site, and restrooms.
For the kids aged 7–12, there are Junior Ranger booklets, filled with activities to do in the park. And, during the summer months, there is a 45-minute Junior Ranger Program presented by a park ranger that may include a hike into the prairie, a game, or another activity. A completed activity book, or completion of the ranger-led program, will earn the participant a Junior Ranger Badge.