Monday, April 24, 2017


I doubt there are many who do not know who Laura Ingalls Wilder, aka: Half Pint, was.  The “Little House on the Prairie” books and tv series have been popular for generations.

This is the second of the Ingalls homestead we have visited in all our years of travel together.  The first was just a few buildings, no interpreter and very few information kiosks. 

This one in De Smet, SD was far from that.  It is an interactive location and well worth the rough ride down the dirt road to get to it. 

We knew we were in for a fun and interesting day when one of the first things we saw from the parking lot were people riding in a covered wagon.

The modern guest services center, complete with modern facilities should you need them, is at the top of the hill near the parking lot and that is your first stop.  They have a nice gift shop there where you can buy the usual gift stop stuff including “brag rags” as I call the t-shirts/sweat shirts I purchase as my souvenir as we travel. Of course I had to have one.  I adored all the Laura Ingalls books as a child, including “Farmer Boy”  which most people do not connect with the Little House Books, but it is the story of “Manly” Wilder as a child.

Once you pay your $12 fee per person to enter you are given a map on how the place is set up and are set free to wander the grounds as you wish.

We chose to start at the interpretive center near the welcome center and work our way around the grounds in a clockwise direction. To do so we walked past this watch tower.

The interpretive center contained some of the history of the Ingalls family, a covered wagon, excerpts from some of her books and photos.  It was interesting to a Laura Ingalls fan such as myself.

Just below the hill from the interpretive center are two styles of structures, both are earth sheltered, one being a soddy such as the Ingalls had lived in for awhile.

The other was an one room cabin similar to another home they had lived in.

From the soddy you climb back up the small hill to a view of the barn, house and stable that Pa built for Ma in stages.

This is the area the interactive activities start.  The farm does have animals, which you are allowed to interact with.  One group of teens were busy petting the animals in the barn as we walked by and a cat watched them carefully through its own private window.

Examples of life during that era are everywhere on the grounds.

As we entered the different buildings employees filled us in on the history of the building or building replica.  They explained how the house was built in stages, how various items were made and used and answered questions.

At the stable area you can learn how rope and corn cob dolls were made by doing it yourself. A visual demonstration of how long it took to grind wheat to even make a single biscuit and a lesson on making hay knots. 

If you have read the series you know the family got snowed in with no firewood and they had to knot hay to keep warm until the menfolk  got home.

To see the lessons given on site on these skills you can view our video here .
 You get to take the product of your labors home with you.

This is also where you get to opportunity to drive a cart, ride a pony or catch the covered wagon to go to school.

At the school you are in a one room school house and are given a lesson on how classes were taught.

Once class is over you ride the covered wagon back to the stable/garage.  There is a church off in the distance as well, but it was near closing time so we opted to not walk the long distance to the church.

In the various photos you might have caught glimpses of covered wagon like structures other than the covered wagon you ride to the school.  These are overnight bungalows that you can rent by the night to stay on site.  There were a few families there when we were that had done just that and said they were comfortable, but basic.

If you are a fan of Little House on the Prairie you will enjoy this location, or at least we did.


  1. So fun! I LOVE little house on the prairie!

  2. Me too, that is why I really wanted to go to this site and had to have my brag rag.

  3. Me too, that is why I really wanted to go to this site and had to have my brag rag.