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Three SDSU attractions earn ‘Great Places’ designation for 2022

Three attractions on the South Dakota State University campus have made the cut in the South Dakota Department of Tourism’s listing of 2022 South Dakota Great Places.

Among this year’s designees recognized for outstanding hospitality and customer service are McCrory Gardens, the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum and the South Dakota Art Museum.

The three SDSU destinations join four others in Brookings—the Brookings Arts Council, the Children’s Museum of South Dakota, The Lanes and Visit Brookings—making the South Dakota community the most represented on the list.

Art Museum
South Dakota Art Museum

The South Dakota Department of Tourism recognized 48 businesses across the state with the 2022 South Dakota Great Place designation.

The South Dakota Great Place program is designed to put a spotlight on tourism-focused businesses that exemplify great service by going above and beyond for guests and employees. The goal of the program is to strengthen the tourism industry in South Dakota and offer support to tourism industry members.

Ag Museum
South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum

“Welcoming hospitality and exceptional customer service are the foundation for supporting a strong tourism industry here in South Dakota,” said James Hagen, secretary of the Department of Tourism. “The South Dakota Great Place program recognizes those businesses that have gone the extra mile to ensure their employees have received the proper training and possess the skills needed to meet the needs of visitors.”

South Dakota Art Museum Director Donna Merkt said the museum works hard to be inviting to all.

“The South Dakota Art Museum believes that being a welcoming destination with outstanding hospitality and customer service are absolutely integral to our mission to inspire creativity, connect people and enrich lives through art. It is our pleasure to extend an invitation to all to visit the state's art museum—we're open seven days a week, and admission is always free. We promise to greet you at the door with a warm welcome and a smile,” Merkt said.

South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum Director Gwen McCausland agreed that hospitality is integral to the success of the museum.

McCrory Gardens Sign
McCrory Gardens

“The staff of the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum pride themselves on creating a welcoming place where families can learn about the history, culture and science of agriculture in South Dakota. Our gift shop specializes in regionally made items that capture the spirit of South Dakota in every gift. We take great care in training our front desk staff to ensure that visitors have an enjoyable experience.

McCrory Gardens Director Lisa Marotz thanked the efforts of Visit Brookings­—including Executive Director Laura Schoen Carbonneau, Director of Operations and Sales Bridgit Burghardt and Marketing Coordinator Lili Schulte—for their enthusiasm and support. “They are definitely the cheerleaders for Brookings,” Marotz said.

Marotz added that McCrory staff want every guest to feel welcomed there.

“Whether you are here to indulge in the peaceful oasis of the region’s only botanical garden or if you are an invited guest of an event that a venue client has arranged, we are happy to know you are here. Our gift shop is designed around the creations of local artists, including the capacity for us to brew you a cup of Kool Beans espresso and coffee. We look forward to seeing you—all year round.”

To learn more about the SDSU attractions that earned the Great Places designation, visit South Dakota Art Museum, South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum and McCory Gardens.

To view the list of businesses recognized statewide.