Little House on the Prairie
Little House on the Prairie
105 Olivet Avenue
DeSmet, SD 57231
Little House on the Prairie Description
DeSmet is a tiny prairie town whose claim to fame is that it was the setting for the last six of Laura Ingalls Wilders' "Little House on the Prairie" books. Costumed guides lead tours of the tiny home Pa built "On the Shores of Silver Lake" and the house they stayed in during "The Long Winter." There is a gift shop and the Discover Laura Center, where kids can dress up and play games from that era. The nearby Ingalls Homestead: Laura's Living Prairie has replicated buildings and hands-on pioneer activities like grinding wheat and riding in covered wagons.
Toddlers & Pre-K: Both the drive to DeSmet and the tour of the homes may be a little long for small kids, although they'll probably enjoy dressing up in the Discover Laura Center.
School-Age Kids: Most of the attractions and hand-on activities are directed at school-age kids (and nostalgic adults). But unless your kids enjoyed "Little House on the Prairie," it may feel more like a field trip than a vacation for them.
Pre-Teens & Teens: If your teen loved the "Little House on the Prairie" (or is interested in the pioneer lifestyle) they may get a kick out of DeSmet -- but if not, be prepared for complaints about the length of the drive, how dull it is looking at old houses, and how most of the activities are for "little kids."
- Long ago and far away. If DeSmet feels as remote as it did in Laura Ingalls Wilder's day, then that's because it is. It is nearly 5 hours from Rapid City, and 40 miles from the nearest Interstate.
- Watch a show. If you visit during the last three weekends in July, check out the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant. Volunteers put on a performance based on one of the Little House on the Prairie books in an outdoor amphitheatre.
- Come prepared. If you plan to attend one of the evening performances of the Pageant, bring a sweater or a blanket -- it gets cool after dark. There is bench seating on the hill, but if you want to get up close, bring a blanket or lawn chairs to sit on.
- Get involved. Ask about the special activity days at the Discover Laura Center (butter making, spinning and weaving, etc.).
- You're not in Kansas anymore. Several of the restaurants in DeSmet offer lunch but not dinner. If you're there in the evening you're limited to the Oxbow Restaurant, Dairy Queen, Subway, or hot dogs from the Gas n Goodies and The Main Stop convenience stores. Some diners normally closed for dinner will stay open during the pageant weekends in July.
Just the Facts
Hours: January, February, March, April: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May: Open Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June, July, August: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. September: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. October, November, December: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Fees: Under $10