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“Fascinating for LIW fans”

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
Montreal, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
201 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
“Fascinating for LIW fans”
Reviewed 15 August 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.

Visited August 2013
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Thank WorldWanderer88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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150 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Hillsboro, North Dakota
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great look at life”
Reviewed 11 August 2013

We made this day trip with my 2 friends and 14 year old daughter. Loved to see the old buildings and the preservation that the Memorial Society has did. We had a fantastic tour guide, who even though it was scripted, was very knowledgeable in all the areas. We went on the 12:30pm tour, it was unrushed and all questions were answered right away. The hardest part for our group was to keep the books (real) and television show (fake) separate! I see many hours of re-reading books from my childhood!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Pooh1989
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
98 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Great tour”
Reviewed 3 August 2013

Lots of history, great tour guides take you through two historic homes plus two schools. Great exhibit in the museum as well.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank BKanten
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Level 6 Contributor
334 reviews
132 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 165 helpful votes
“A Perfect Place for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Fan!”
Reviewed 1 August 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
Helpful?
1 Thank Julesfromlc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Detroit, Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
155 reviews
55 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 158 helpful votes
“It all depends on the guide”
Reviewed 30 July 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
Helpful?
1 Thank agdwsu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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