If you are looking for a great place to take the family that is both historical and educational, then check out the Ingalls Homestead in South Dakota. At Fulltime Families, we help provide ideas for not only RV living and traveling with kids but also homeschooling tips and field trips. Check out our latest roadschool guide below.
Visiting Ingalls Homestead
Location: De Smet, SD
Full Price Admission Cost: $15 for adults and kids; 4 and under free; multi-day tickets available
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This is the land of Ma and Pa Ingalls’ homestead in De Smet, South Dakota. You will step inside the home they lived in, experience a sod house, explore the barn, and meet a teacher at the one-room schoolhouse to learn about education in the late 1800s.
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In addition to everything there is to see, there is so much to do. From making a jump rope and a corn cob doll to take home, to pumping water by hand or riding a pony, you certainly won’t get bored here. Visitors even have the opportunity to drive a covered wagon across the prairie to the schoolhouse.
If you’re a fan of the Little House books, this is a can’t-miss opportunity to walk on the same ground as the Ingalls family. However, even if you’ve never read the books, Ingalls Homestead is a fascinating trip back in time to see how pioneers lived during the time of westward expansion.
For young children, there are plenty of hands-on activities and outside space to run and play. Meanwhile, older kids and adults will love the history behind the place, making this a great all ages activity. Such a great roadschooling field trip!
- Open May to October.
- Ask for a multi-day ticket if you’ll be in the area for several days.
- Other Ingalls homes in De Smet require a separate entrance fee.
- Overnight accommodations include a 4-site RV park, covered wagons, a bunkhouse, and tent sites.
- Prepare to walk on grass, as there are few paths.
- Private parking lot with room for one or two RVs.
- Picnic tables and some packaged snacks available.
Books To Read
- A Little House Picture Book Treasury: Six Stories of Life on the Prairie — by Laura Ingalls Wilder
For 10 +
- Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography — by William Anderson
- The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder — by Marta McDowell
- A Little House Traveler: Writings from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Journeys Across America — by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- The Little House Guide Book — by William Anderson
- The Little House 9-Volume Set — by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- The World of Little House — by Carolyn Strom Collins
- Laura’s Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder — by William Anderson
- Little House Sampler by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane
- If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon — by Ellen Levine
- You Wouldn’t Want to be an American Pioneer — by Jacqueline Morley
Videos to Watch
- Laura Ingalls Wilder Biography Webpage
- Laura Speaks — Only known audio recording of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Activities to Do
- Make some of the Ingalls family’s favorite foods from this great cookbook.
- Explore Pioneer fashion with this Little House paper doll set.
- Try one of the crafts from My Little House Crafts Book.
Things to Discuss
- If you lived on the Ingalls Homestead, which chores would you like the most? Which would you dislike?
- Why do you think the Ingalls family chose to travel westward? Would you be brave enough to be an American pioneer?
Other Area Attractions
Below are some of the other great attractions in this area. We try to keep things affordable, sticking to free and cheap attractions and/or museums and zoos on reciprocal lists. If an attraction is affiliated with a reciprocal program or offers free admission, I have noted that beside the attraction listing. To learn more about saving money using reciprocal programs, see this post.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial
- De Smet Cemetery — Free
- De Smet Depot Museum — Free
- Wilder Welcome Center
Closest Places to Stay on a Budget
For information on camping memberships, see this post.
- Passport America: Spot (1 mi)
- State Park: Lake Thompson State Recreation Area (8.4 mi)
- On Site: Ingalls Homestead Campground (onsite)
Related Attractions in Other Areas
- Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin, WI
- Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum in Mansfield, MO
- Little House on the Prairie in Independence, KS
- Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, MN
For more great roadschool guides, have a look around Wonder Wherever We Wander.
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