This past August we ventured out to South Dakota for a last minute family adventure! (You can read here why we call them “adventures” and how we document new states that we visit).
One of our stops was to see the Ingalls Homestead in De Smet, South Dakota. I had first heard about this place on a favorite podcast that I listen to called, The Simple Show (you can find that episode here). Kat talks about the covered wagons that you can rent and sleep in. She also talks about how cool it was to roam the property after all of the tourists had left for the day.
Since last Fall I’ve been watching Little House on the Prairie episodes with the kids (I wrote about that, here). Sam and I realized that this summer would be really good timing with our kids’ ages (13, 11, 8, 8 & 6) to take a trip to visit the homestead. We decided to surprise the kids and not tell them where we were going. The trip was totally last minute and as I was searching online to see what was available (assuming that everything would be booked since it was already August and we were going to be traveling in August). I discovered that I would need to send an email to find out what was available. I almost didn’t even try. After all, there are only 4 covered wagons. Thankfully, I decided to send an email anyway. I heard back that there were two wagons available on the night that we would be coming through. That was great because one wagon slept 5 and the other slept 3…we reserved them both. Sam and the boys took the bigger one and the two girls and I took the smaller one.
I’m standing at the door taking the pictures above.
The wagons definitely only fit the exact amount of people specified (with little room for belongings).
However, the experience was well worth it!
One night in the wagon was an experience that all of us will remember forever.
There are more sleeping options than just the wagons. You can find out about those, here. The best part about any of the options is that you get to roam the grounds once all of the visitors have left for the day. There were a few RVs and other guests there during our stay but it was still so quiet and absolutely beautiful.
I woke up as the sun was rising and took the girls up to a lookout point
(right next to the wagons) to watch the sunrise.
The whole sky was lit up pink and we could scan the prairie for miles.
The day we arrived we purchased tickets so that we could join in on the activities (pricing info is, here).
We toured a replica of Ma’s house based on the dimensions written in Laura’s book.
A woman was there reenacting how laundry would have been washed.
Everything was hands on so the kids were able to give it a try.
There was also a wagon ride that would take you to the schoolhouse.
The kids enjoyed taking turns driving.
Once we arrived at the schoolhouse the kids were able to dress up and then we all took a seat at wooden desks. The school teacher shared what learning would have been like back in the day.
She was very entertaining and the kids enjoyed following along.
Here they are practicing spelling words for the class.
We spent about 18 hours at the homestead. We had plenty of time to see everything and truly enjoyed all aspects of it.
If you decide to take your crew on an adventure, I highly recommend making the Ingalls Homestead one of your stops!