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“A Perfect Place for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Fan!”

Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial
Ranked #2 of 4 things to do in De Smet
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: We invite you to visit the historic homes of famous author, Laura Ingalls Wilder. ​Have a fun filled day visiting the Surveyors’ House from By the Shores of Silver Lake. Attend class in the First School of De Smet, the original school that Laura and Carrie attended and visit the home that “Pa” built in 1887. Visit the Discovery Center for Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes pioneer activities! Try to sew on a treadle sewing machine, dress like a pioneer, and learn to read Braille. Each summer a new exhibit is on display of original belongings of Laura and her family. A must for all Laura fans.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Level Contributor
297 reviews
118 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
“A Perfect Place for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Fan!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 1, 2013

Our family enjoyed our recent visit to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial. It was wonderful to see the Surveyor's House, just as Laura described it in her book. Also, we greatly enjoyed visiting the house that Laura's father (Pa) built. They also had several items that belonged to the Ingalls family, including Caroline's (Ma) shawl, Mary's beads, Almanzo's glasses and much more. This is a perfect stop for any Laura Ingalls Wilder fan.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Julesfromlc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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140 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Detroit, Michigan
Level Contributor
153 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 157 helpful votes
“It all depends on the guide”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 30, 2013

We drove 14 hours straight just so that we could make it to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial before closing time. Needless to say, I was really excited and had high hopes for this tour.

We arrived around 4:00 and were able to sign up for the last tour of the day. While waiting, we browsed in the gift shop, which had some nice locally made items.

The tour turned out to be something of a disappointment. We visited several buildings located on the grounds of the visitor center. We were in each building for just a few minutes. The tour guide spoke some rehearsed lines and when people asked questions, she answered by repeating lines from her script. It didn't seem that she had a lot of knowledge--nor interest--in Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was pretty clear that she was trying to hurry us through.

Next, we were told that we had to get in our cars and follow our tour guide to Ma and Pa's house. We got in our car and waited for the tour guide to do the same. She stood around chatting with other workers for a while and then eventually drove over to the other building. It seemed like an odd thing to do with so many of us sitting and waiting for her.

At the other building, a different tour guide took over, and she was much better. She shared more stories and didn't seem to be on a script. After the presentation, she stayed and chatted with people who had questions.

Based on the other reviews here, as well as my own experience, it really seems that the your experience depends upon the tour guide.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank agdwsu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Level Contributor
92 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Big LIW fans disappointed by disengaged tour guide”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 22, 2013 via mobile

We love everything LIW and LHOP, and we wanted to rate this site higher, but the complete lack of enthusiasm displayed by our tour guide was disappointing. She conducted our tour by quoting obviously memorized facts and figures with no personal flair. Our kids questions were either not answered or laughed at. This was not a tour that encouraged conversation or interaction with children.
The buildings themselves were in excellent preserved condition with some very informative historical exhibits. I think for adult fans of LIW this tour is a "must", but maybe leave the kids at the hotel or camp site with grandma.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Lillie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado, United States
Level Contributor
34 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Worth the drive”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 31, 2013

Yes, we drove about 12 hours so I could visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial, and it was worth it! The exhibit in the main house was full of information & exhibits that even the biggest fan wouldn’t know about the Ingalls family. My husband has never read the books or seen the TV show, but he liked it as well. We took the tour, and our tour guide was so nice, informative and answered all of our questions. The gift shop was full of local souvenirs. I bought a prairie style hat and apron hand made in De Smet. I’m so glad we made the trek out to the prairie to see this.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank Lucy99_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
49 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 31, 2013

Not much to see. A little schoolhouse with some real flooring... that's about it. The tour guide was excellent

Visited October 2012
Thank Teesie28385
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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