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What’s New in North Dakota

There’s plenty new in North Dakota.

Known for its expansive plains and rugged terrain, North Dakota offers history, adventure and scenery to visiting groups. But the state’s appeal isn’t all based on the past: In cities and towns from the eastern border to the western badlands, new attractions and activities are giving travelers reasons to return.

In Bismarck, the state capital, visitors can marvel at the size of an aquatic dinosaur that once lived in the area at a new museum exhibition. There are more dinosaurs to discover at a new museum in Dickinson, about 100 miles away. And further west, in Medora, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, with plenty of ways for groups to enjoy the area’s heritage.

In the eastern part of the state, sports fans can tour one of the country’s pre-eminent hockey arenas at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks or explore an emerging art scene in the town of Wahpeton.

Celebrating Teddy

This is an exciting year in Medora, the North Dakota town that Theodore Roosevelt made famous. Roosevelt spent time in the Dakota territories as a young man in the 1880s, and the experience left a lasting impression on him. Medora is home to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary throughout 2018.

The park is known for its spectacular scenery, with 70,000 acres of canyons and wildlife. Near the main visitors center, groups can visit the Maltese Cross Cabin, where Roosevelt stayed during his time working as a cowboy in Medora. The visitor center also has a gift shop, a museum and a theater.

Groups visiting the park almost always stay for “Medora Musical,” a revue-style outdoor show that highlights the area’s Western heritage in an amphitheater overlooking the North Dakota Badlands. Many also include a pitchfork fondue, complete with steak and sarsaparilla. At the nearby Chateau de Mores State Historical Site, visitors can now enjoy new activities such as a gospel brunch, street performances and musical entertainment.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.