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Things to do in Sioux Falls & De Smet, SD?


Ripley
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I'm thinking about taking my daughter to see the Laura Ingalls Wilder pageant in De Smet this weekend.

 

Has anyone been before? Would an enthusiastic 9 year old enjoy it?

 

We'd fly in to Sioux Falls the night of the pageant and stay 2-4 nights, depending on what there is to do in De Smet and/or Sioux Falls. 

 

So far here's what I have for De Smet - Laura's homestead ... wondering if the historic home tour is interesting?
 

Sioux Falls - ???

 

Maybe drive to Mt. Rushmore?? Is that worth the 5-6 hour drive? I could book our return flight out of Rapid City, if so.

 

This would be our first trip to either Dakota :) we could use some BTDT advice!

 

 

 

 

 

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We "did" DeSmet years ago on the tail end of a huge road trip that took us to Yellowstone, Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore, Devil's Tower, etc.  DeSmet was a favorite - and we did NOT see the pageant.

 

You do want to tour the Surveyors House, and the house in town where the family lived after Laura married and moved on (it has Mary's beadwork, too).  Drive out and walk and imagine life on the site of the original homestead (the cottonwoods Pa planted are still there although the claim shanty is long gone).  Try and find where Almanzo and Laura lived and had their tree claim.  It is a full day!

 

Your nine-year-old, if she  has read the books, will LOVE it.

 

If you want to add in Rushmore, and and maybe Devil's Tower, they are both cool.

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I just Googled Sioux Falls and it looks like they have a zoo and some museums.  I'd make an early start and drive to Mt. Rushmore one day, it is so cool, and nearby you can see a cave (look for Wind or Jewel caves on-line), or buffalo in Custer State Park, or the Badlands, before driving back late that evening.  Will be a full day, but worth it.  Pick just one thing besides Rushmore.  You can't do more in one day and still drive there and back again.

 

Never mind Devil's Tower, I think it is a bit too out of the way.  You can just make your own out of mashed taters.

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If you are doing a Laura Ingalls Wilder trip, I would recommend flying into Sioux Falls, doing the DeSmet pageant one night, stay in Brookings and spend the next day at the  Children's Museum   http://www.prairieplay.org (my kids love this museum). Then either that evening or the next day drive to Walnut Grove, MN (2 hours east) and go to the LIW pageant there. http://walnutgrovemn.weebly.com  We live in the area and have been to both several times.  They are well worth the trip, especially for a 9 yo girl.  :)  Both have museums and other things to look at and do.

 

The Black Hills is a serious trek from Sioux Falls.  I would never, ever attempt it in a day trip, but the Hills are very fun and a great vacation.  We just spent a week there in late May.

 

I would be happy to pm with you if you have any questions or need more info.

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The visit to the Ingall's homestead in DeSmet was a favorite in our last cross-country road trip about 5 years ago.  We explored the homestead and tried all the activities and stayed in the covered wagons and there was a tornado warning at around 5am and our covered wagon was shaking back and forth from the wind so we cowered in the underground bathrooms until the siren went off.  I'm sure it was no big deal for the midwesterners, but we were terrified!

 

It was otherwise an awesome place to visit with kids.  I'd totally go back!

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