If you’re like me, perhaps you grew up watching reruns of the “Little House On The Prairie” series with Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert, and reading the classic collection of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder—including “On the Banks of Plum Creek” which accounts Laura’s experiences living in a dugout home in southern Minnesota.
While she was born in Wisconsin, Laura Ingalls Wilder spent some of her childhood in Walnut Grove, MN. Today, fans of the beloved author can visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum and Gift Store right in the charming downtown area, as well as the Ingalls Dugout Site outside of town.
A while back I finally made the trek to Walnut Grove to check out the Laura-related sites—which I highly recommend if you’re a fan of the books.
The museum has a series of outdoor buildings including a dugout home, school house, covered wagon, 1898 chapel and an early settler home—all of which visitors can step inside and learn about life on the prairie in the 1800s. Plus there’s a museum building with some of Laura’s personal items, as well as scale models and memorabilia from the TV show, and a gift shop with books and Laura-focused items.
If you grew up reading the books, you must head out of town to the Ingalls Dugout Site. While the dugout home has long ago caved in, you can still see the depression on the banks of Plum Creek where the home once was, and the very spot Laura describes in her book, “On The Banks of Plum Creek.” Standing there, you can just imagine Laura playing in the creek and hear the sounds of the prairie grasses flowing in the breeze.
Serious fans will want to plan their visit on weekends in July for the Wilder Pageant, which is an outdoor family-friendly drama about Laura’s life in Walnut Grove during the 1970s. In 2016, there are shows July 8-9, 15-16, and 22-23.
What’s your favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book?