Attractions Along River Road in Bismarck, North Dakota

A family gathers at Sertoma Park
A family gathers at Sertoma Park
The Sertoma Community Center is great for larger get-togethers such as family reunions.
The Sertoma Community Center is great for larger get-togethers such as family reunions.

It's Fall in Bismarck, North Dakota and you couldn't have picked a better time to come visit. There is so much to see and do - beware though, the weather may be really warm or really cold, no one really knows what our fall weather will be like. So grab a warm coat just in case we see some snowflakes and take a trip with me along Riverside Park Road also known as River Road in Bismarck, North Dakota.

First stop? Sertoma Park also known as Riverside Park, located at River Road and West Arbor Ave. Sertoma Park has many fun and recreational activities including: ball diamonds, cross-country skiing, horseshoes, picnic shelters, tennis. volleyball and a walking trial. There are also concession stands and restrooms.

Sertoma Park takes up nearly 100 acres in southwest Bismarck and is just one of several parks in the area. What makes Sertoma my favorite, though, is because it offers such a variety of attractions and activities.

Sertoma Park is also a great place to gather with family and friends. The park contains 11 shelters and a community center available for rent. The shelters are of various sizes, depending on the number of people. Capacity for the shelters varies from 25-350 people - perfect for the smaller or very large get-together. Shelters are equipped with electricity, a picnic grill, volleyball courts and horseshoe pits. Also, the Sertoma Park Community Center is a multi-use indoor building that is air-conditioned in the summer and heated throughout the winter.

Let's walk around for a bit and check things out but then we should head to the amusement park to go down the superslide and we'll hit the zoo on our way out. Sound good? Don't forget to grab your trusty google map.

Oh yeah, and by the way, if you happen to come back to Sertoma Park during the Christmas season they have a spectacular display of lights and other decorations.

show route and directions
A markerSertoma Park -
W Arbor Ave, Bismarck, ND 58504, USA
[get directions]

B markerSuperslide Amusement Park -
500 River Rd, Bismarck, ND 58504, USA
[get directions]

C markerDakota Zoo -
602 River Rd, Bismarck, ND 58504, USA
[get directions]

D markerKeelboat Park/Port of Bismarck -
1970 River Rd, Bismarck, ND 58503, USA
[get directions]

E markerPapa's Pumpkin Patch -
5001 Fernwood Dr, Bismarck, ND 58503, USA
[get directions]

photo by Kristin Tidd
photo by Kristin Tidd

The Superslide Amusement Park

Hey, let's go check out the superslide! Don't worry if you don't want to go alone because up to six people can all go down the 150-foot slide together!

It's over here, right next door to the Sertoma Community Center at 500 River Road. if you're too scared to go down the slide, there are many other fun things to do at the amusement park and admission is free!

The park is open from May through September, weather permitting. You must purchase tickets to go on the rides.

Some other activities at the amusement park:

  • miniature golf
  • rock climbing
  • carousel rides
  • Ferris wheel
  • batting cages
  • bumper cars
  • go-carts

 

members of a bridal party go down the superslide
members of a bridal party go down the superslide
The deer are so used to people, they'll come up to you and eat corn out of your hand
The deer are so used to people, they'll come up to you and eat corn out of your hand
all aboard for the grand tour!
all aboard for the grand tour!

Dakota Zoo

Time to relax after some exhilarating fun at the amusement park. The Dakota Zoo is perfect for relaxing as you can just walk around and look at all the animals or take a 20-minute tour of the zoo via one of two little trains. You'll be able to see about 125 different species of animals and be included in the 100,000 visitors per year, making Dakota Zoo one of Bismarck's top attractions.

Dakota Zoo is open from April through September, weather permitting. The zoo charges admission but there is also membership available.

There are many events held each year at Dakota Zoo including: Breakfast at the Zoo, Conservation Day, Children's Day, an Easter Egg Hunt, Saturdays with Santa (each Saturday in December) and their annual New Year's Eve Walk/Run.

At the zoo there is also a playground for children to play and a Discovery Center where kids can learn to milk cows, hold a birthday party and see the clown fish and various other fish and reptiles.

Some of the animals at the zoo include: Alaskan brown bears, Siberian Tigers, wolves, camels, river otters, bison, mountain lions, prairie dogs, elk, moose, reindeer and various farm animals that like to be fed corn.

The Big Cat Habitat is one of the most recent expansions
The Big Cat Habitat is one of the most recent expansions
statues of the famous explorers, Lewis and Clark along with their guide, Sacajawea
statues of the famous explorers, Lewis and Clark along with their guide, Sacajawea

Keelboat Park

Now that we've made a complete tour through Dakota Zoo, and have seen most of Sertoma Park, let's drive north up to 1970 River Road. There is a large parking lot complete with boat ramps at Keelboat Park, which is also where we can see the Lewis and Clark Riverboat.

Keelboat Park is close to the banks of the where there is a replica of the keelboat in which famous explorers, Lewis and Clark traveled down the Missouri River. There are also statues of Meriwhether Lewis, William Clark and their Indian guide, Sacajawea. It's a great place to just sit and relax and watch all of the river activity.

Be sure to grab a pop and use the restrooms if you have to!

Keelboat Park along the Missouri River
Keelboat Park along the Missouri River
Those on the Lewis and Clark Riverboat enjoy a relaxing ride down the historic Missouri River
Those on the Lewis and Clark Riverboat enjoy a relaxing ride down the historic Missouri River

Lewis and Clark Riverboat

Next, let's take a walk up here to a place called the Port of Bismarck where the Lewis and Clark Riverboat is just beginning to dock.

The Riverboat is a beautiful 40 ft flat-bottom steel hull riverboat powered by two diesel Cummins engines. There's room aboard for 150 passengers. You'll need to make a reservation to get on the Riverboat and then you can take a nice, relaxing tour on the Missouri River and learn a little bit about its history.

The riverboat has an open upper deck so you can look out onto the river and it also has a climate-controlled bottom deck complete with a bar, snack counter and restrooms. Many events are held on the Lewis and Clark Riverboat, including weddings, proms, customer appreciation cruises, family reunions and business presentations.

Before you leave, be sure to stop at the gift shop!

Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Papa's Pumpkin Patch provides many photo opportunities
Papa's Pumpkin Patch provides many photo opportunities

Papa's Pumpkin Patch

Why don't we go back to the car (where did we leave it again?) continue north on River Road and go off the beaten path a little ways to one of Bismarck's biggest fall attractions - Papa's Pumpkin Patch!

When the fall season comes to Bismarck, this is the best place to be! It's a wonderful way to celebrate the season, being in the country, surrounded by nature, seeing all the pumpkins (about 25,000-30,000 are grown each year), scarecrows, wooden tractors and lots of hay bales. The kids laughter is contagious as they take turns riding the ponies, going on the zip line, enjoying the wagon rides and running through the corn maze.

Papa's Pumpkin Patch started in 1983 with about 20 kids coming out to collect green pumpkins, the result of a bad pumpkin season. Since then over 4,500 preschoolers and elementary school kids come to visit the Pumpkin Patch each year. In 1989, the Pumpkin Patch was open to the public and they now open their gates to over 50,000 people each season. The season runs from mid-September until late October and admission is $2.50 each person.

Be sure to come back in the winter when it is transformed into Papa's Polar Patch.

A classroom gets their photo taken in front of Scarecrow Cove during their field trip to the Papa's Pumpkin Patch
A classroom gets their photo taken in front of Scarecrow Cove during their field trip to the Papa's Pumpkin Patch

I guess we'll end things here so you can take time to enjoy the Pumpkin Patch and maybe treat yourself to a cup of hot cider and one of their famous pumpkin cookies.

Thank you for coming along on this little journey down River Road in Bismarck, North Dakota. I really hope you had a great time. I know I did!

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Comments 10 comments

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

What lovely places! I'd love to take a ride on the Lewis and Clark Riverboat XD


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

Yes, the riverboat is lovely. We took our in-laws on it when they visited and they absolutley loved it!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Cari, This was a very nice hub. I have never been to South Dakota and picture it as so barren but the pictures are always full on interesting events and scenery.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

Hi Cari thank you for transporting me across the pond to South Dakota, your excellent photographs made me feel I was right there with you. Thank you for sharing this well written informative hub.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you, Cari, for this well described tour. The pictures were adding to the information.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

Pamela - thanks for your comment, even though its North Dakota, not South Dakota (common mistake). Many people think of ND as a barren, desolate wasteland but in reality it is really quite beautiful, esp. during particular times of the year - like Fall!


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

D.A.L. - again it's North Dakota not South Dakota. But thank you for your comment! I love sharing about ND because I think its a great state with a beauty all its own!


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

Hello, hello - thanks for your comment. One reason I love HP is you can add so many different things to make your article even better. That's why I like to add lots of pics.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

Cari Jean I apologise for the mistake. It should have course been North Dakota. It is indeed a beautiful State. Sorry once again.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND Author

D.A.L. - That's ok! Like, I said, common mistake - South Dakota is nice too!

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    Why don't we go back to the car (where did we leave it again?) continue north on River Road and go off the beaten path a little ways to one of Bismarck's biggest fall attractions - Papa's Pumpkin Patch!

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