During the Cold War, a vast arsenal of nuclear missiles were placed in the Great Plains. Hidden in plain sight, for thirty years 1,000 missiles were kept on constant alert; hundreds remain today. The Minuteman Missile remains an iconic weapon in the American nuclear arsenal. It holds the power to destroy civilization, but is meant as a nuclear deterrent to maintain peace and prevent war.
Visit the once secret facilities where Air Force personnel controlled and maintained ten nuclear missiles, part of a force of 150 missiles located in South Dakota. Discover the Cold War events that shaped our lives and still remain through a tour of the underground control center at Delta-01. At the Delta-09 silo, view a nuclear missile which once carried a 1.2 megaton warhead.
Plan to visit all three sites
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is located at three sites along a fifteen mile stretch of Interstate 90 in western South Dakota. The Visitor Center is located immediately north of I-90, exit 131. The Launch Control Facility Delta-01 (reservations required) is four miles west and the Delta-09 missile silo self guided tour is 15 miles west of the Visitor Center.
Delta 0-1 Tour Description
To see Delta-01, visitors need to attend a ticketed ranger-guided tour. The forty five-minute ranger guided interpretive tour of Launch Control Facility Delta-01 begins with a walk through of the grounds and topside support building. Visitors will see the living, dining, and recreational areas for the eight people stationed on the topside at Delta-01, working three days on and three days off at a time.
Visitors then descend via an elevator 31 feet underground. They enter the Launch Control Center by walking past an eight ton blast door built to protect missile crews from the effects of a nuclear blast. Visitors will see the complicated array of electronics used by missileers during their alert shifts to monitor the missiles and learn what it was like to have the awesome responsibility of thermonuclear war at their fingertips.
Tour Safety Restrictions
Visitors who wish to participate in the underground part of the tour must fulfill the following requirements:
- Be physically capable of climbing two 15 foot ladders unassisted. These ladders are permanently attached to the wall and are very sturdy.
- Children must be at least 40” tall, six years of age, and be able to climb the ladder unassisted.
– At least one adult must accompany child on Delta-01 Tour.
- Be comfortable in a small elevator in close proximity to six other adults.
- Be comfortable with heights of approximately 35 feet or about 3 stories. The elevator door is an open grate, not a solid door.
- The underground control center was not designed to accommodate the general public. It is accessed by an elevator and a ladder. In the event of an elevator failure, visitors that are underground will need to be capable of climbing the ladder for a safe and timely exit. Entering the control center also requires passing through a narrow corridor.
- Why only six per tour? Because the facility was built for nuclear war. A small elevator and tight space.
- Arrive 15 minutes early tour time