Of all the places I went, the biggest disappointments were Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. I remembered little of my previous visit to Mount Rushmore except that my father was interviewed by a radio station. They asked what he thought of it and he said it was too commercialized.
Although managed by the National Park Service, your park pass doesn't get you into the park. Instead, admission is free, but you get to pay for parking because the parking structure is administered by some other organization.
When you first enter, there is a small NPS office on the right and bathrooms on the left. A little further on and you pass the huge gift shop on your left and restaurants on the right. In addition, there are tables set up with vendors selling crap.
For an indication of size, the head of Crazy Horse is 87 feet high. The head of the the presidents at Mount Rushmore are 60 feet. If this is ever finished, 641 feet wide and 563 feet high. So there is a lot of work to be done.
But still, as I wandered through the extensive visitor center, which is run by the family of the original sculptor, all I could think of was they were continuing to exploit the Indians. Yes, it is essentially an Indian cultural center, and is technically run by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, it is the family that continues to benefit.
To me it seemed as much, or more so about the family, as Crazy Horse. Yes, they were instrumental in starting the sculpture, but it seems to me that they have too much riding on taking their time rather than a completed project. It just left a bad taste in my mouth.
I spent a couple of hours there, including eating at the restaurant (don't, by the way) and was glad when I drove out of the parking lot and onto the main road.