The mid-western USA really surprised me with it’s diversity of landscape as well as the extent of interesting sites. I feel like I’ve discounted this part of the country and it was a huge mistake. The mid-west is where it’s at!
Our drive from New Ulm, MN took us past a tourist attraction called Sod House on the Prairie. The actual sod house at Plum Creek had collapsed, so this stop was essential for us to learn about how the Ingalls were living in Minnesota. We paid $4.00 per person and my son was free.
The owners have built several sod buildings and have restored a portion of prairie with native grasses and wild flowers. It was a very beautiful place and you could really imagine being a pioneer and the only humans for miles. There were tons of cats around, so I suppose our hair would not be chopped off by mice in our sleep!! 😃
Our next stop was the Walnut Grove Museum. This museum was $7.00 for adults, $4.00 for kids 5-12 and free for anyone under 5. The museum is full of replica buildings and some different items from the pioneer times. It was fun for about an hour and the children enjoyed it. My favorite part were the items that belonged to Laura and her family.
After we visited the museum, we took our picnic to a little park a few blocks away. There were plenty of picnic tables and a nice playground for the kids to run around, climb and swing.
A short drive away was Plum Creek. We drove up to a private farm, paid our $5.00 entrance fee and parked in a small lot next to the creek. An easy walk brought us to the site where the Ingalls had their dugout.
We let the kids dangle their feet into Plum Creek, but no swimming for fear of leeches!! haha!!
Who knew that Minnesota had so many mosquitos? I have no idea how the Ingalls lived right on top of this creek!! I was ready to leave after about an hour of exploring.
De Smet was our next stop and we were looking forward to our experience staying in the bunkhouse on the property. We arrived, paid our admission fees and then settled into our cute (air-conditioned!) house. The bunkhouse is the same nightly rate as the wagons, but it has lots of beds, air-conditioning, a small refrigerator and a covered front porch with a picnic table. I had originally wanted a covered wagon for 2 nights, but none were available. The bunkhouse was only available for 1 night so we decided to grab it and then book a hotel for the 2nd night. We felt like we really won the lottery because the bunkhouse was so much more comfortable than the wagons.
We explored the site this evening, got some twisted twine from one of the activity centers for starting our fire and bought wood from the gift shop. A beautiful double rainbow welcomed us to South Dakota.
The kittens were a huge hit!
Exhausted Mommy built a fire using our twists of straw, roasted some marshmallows and we were ready for bed!! Another exciting day on the prairie awaited us!!
Road Trip – Day 5
Driving Time – 3 hours
Accommodations – Bunkhouse at Ingalls Homestead, De Smet, SD
Cost – $50
Do-over wish list – We left one of my daughter’s new Keens at Plum Creek. It was very frustrating to have lost one shoe!!