Day 13: Laura Ingalls Wilder

While wandering through the Badlands National Park we learned about the settlers that attempted to build homes in the Badlands area, which was not very successful. Today we had a chance to learn more about the people who moved west with a visit to the South Dakota homestead of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  It is a 160 acre plot of land that was originally settled by Pa.

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After 7 years there he sold it, and it has been sold many times over, until the current owner, who lives across the street, decided to dedicate the land to recreating the Ingall’s world. It is totally hands on and the kids love it. Not only have they recreated the home and barn, but they also moved onto the land additional buildings from the late 1800s, including a church and a school.  The kids can dress up, drive a horse and wagon, make corn cob dolls, wash laundry, sew and play Mary’s pump organ. ( You can also camp there in covered wagons, tents or RVs.) While the premise is all about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her life there, it really is a great way to learn about the homesteading movement of the late 1800s.

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I had to drag Shayna away after about 3 hours since we had so much driving to do today. We are heading to Madison, WI via Minnesota. Of course when I saw the sign for Walnut Grove, MN I had to stop. They have a LIW museum and some replica buildings as well. The Walnut Grove site focuses on all aspects of Little House one the Prairie, the various families in the stories, the television show, the history of the town, etc. They also have a Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant every year in July which would be a fun time to visit.

 

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