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“Sites from The Little Town on the Prairie book”

Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial
Ranked #2 of 5 things to do in De Smet
Certificate of Excellence
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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 young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed November 7, 2013

We visited the Laura Ingalls site on a blustery October day. I suggest calling ahead for tour times in the "off-season", but even then the information might not be correct. I called a day ahead and was told the last tour of the day was 2:00, so we dutifully showed up at 2:00. However, as our tour ended, we saw another tour was beginning, so things might be a bit scattered during the "winter" season.

Our tour guide was more suited for a group of third graders than adults. She also assumed a very high level of knowledge (and interest) in all things Ingalls. Throughout the 2-hour tour, she kept quizzing the group on minute details from the books and became rather annoyed if answers were not quickly forthcoming.

The tour took you to the surveyors house, 2 school houses and a house built by Charles Ingalls. These are places from The Little Town on the Prairie book. The Ingalls house is at the end of the tour and you will follow the guide in your own vehicle to this house across town (which is only a minute or two drive).

If you are on your way to the Black Hills/Mt. Rushmore, it might be nice to break up the long drive with a visit to De Smet, however I would not make a special trip to come here--unless you are an Ingalls enthusiast.

2  Thank HaveSuitcaseWillTrvl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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122 - 126 of 165 reviews

Reviewed October 22, 2013

This is where you can step back into the "Little House" books if you love Laura Ingalls Wilder. The Memorial includes the well preserved Surveyor's House to tour, along with a partially restored schoolhouse and a replica of a schoolhouse similar to the ones mentioned in the book. A short drive to follow your guide takes you to the last home Pa Ingalls built, which is quite elegant. The guide we had was top notch and made for a wonderful visit.

Thank John H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2013

This place was great. Our tour guide was amazing! She really took her time with us. I had a very grumpy toddler so kept having to walk away while my 9 year old got to listen. Seeing the actual house Laura stayed in was a treat. It brought tears to my eyes as we recalled exactly how she talked about the house and the house itself. Seeing the last house Pa built was great too. After the tour we drove to the cemetery to see the final resting places!

2  Thank Brayjj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2013

I'm so glad we stopped by on the way home from our Black Hills trip. DeSmet is a little out of the way, but this experience was so worth it. I read these books as a child, and now I am reading them to my children, so sharing this with them was fun for all. Our tour guide was friendly and knowledgable. She didnt seem to be "on script" as other reviewers had stated. She expanded on any topic that people questioned her about. We spent about 1 1/2 hours seeing the 3 buildings at the memorial site, and the home built by Pa a few blocks away. If you are a LHOP fan and considering this, you won't be disappointed!

2  Thank Lisa H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2013

I had thought that since I had not picked up a Little House book for many decades, I would have trouble identifying with the place. I was welcomed warmly. A temporary exhibit helped re-introduce me to the life of the Ingalls. Unlike some of the previous reviewers, I found the guide knowledgeable--and I did ask quite a few questions requiring thought. What I find amazing is that this little town with a small and aging population in today's internet-filled world is able keep the life of LIW and pioneering life real. For real fans, this is the better of the 2 LIW main sights to see. One visits 2 actual homes of the Ingalls plus much more.

Thank WorldWanderer88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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