October usually is about the end of the main Laura Ingalls Wilder season for the year. If you plan a Laura trip during or after October, make sure you call ahead. They may or may not be able to accommodate you by opening the museum, etc. or giving lists of what there is to see. On the plus side you get autumn foliage and then later in the year snow photos. I called around to find out when the Laura museums were officially closing for the year. Find contact information for the homesites/museums here:
Pepin, WI – After October 18, 2015 the museum will no longer be open daily, but will re-open for the weekends in October and early November 10 AM – 5 PM. Then they will be closed until May 2016. They should re-open for the town of Pepin celebration on the Saturday only, Hometown Holidays, December 5, 2015 (all-day).
Independence, KS – Closed October 31, 2015, Normal fall hours are Tues.-Sat. 10 am – 5 pm, Sun. 1 pm – 5 pm and closed Mon.
Walnut Grove, MN – Museum grounds closed for the season November 1, 2015, but their Gift Shop/Visitor Center will remain open during November and December from 10 am – 4 pm, Monday – Saturday. They will be closed December 24-25, 2015 and January 1, 2016. After New Years Day it will be open Monday – Friday, same hours, until April 1, 2016.
Burr Oak, IA – Closed October 17, 2015. Beginning in September they have reduced hours. After Labor Day the hours & days this year were Thurs, Fri, & Sat., 10-4. They weren’t open on Sunday after Labor Day this year.
De Smet, SD –
Memorial Society – open all year with slightly reduced hours during winter, Mon.- Fri. 9 am – 4pm with tours going out at 10 am and 2 pm. They will close December 24-January 3rd for Christmas and New Years.
Ingalls Homestead – Open depending on the weather through October and then closed October 31, 2015, Office remains open for making reservations, etc. Call and leave a message if they don’t pick up. Scheduled activities only take place through September 30th. People are welcome to walk around even after they are closed for the year. Look for maps in plastic holders beside visitor center/gift shop doors.
Mansfield, MO – Season ends November 15, 2015. The museum is closed, but the gift shop is open. They have a one-day Christmas open house. In recent years it has been on the Friday of the first weekend in December so plan ahead for next year. This year it is Friday, December 4th from 5-8 pm. It is free. You can take photos of yourself in front of the fireplace in the historic home with Santa. Pa’s fiddle will be played. Sample Laura’s recipes and enjoy a cup of Hot Cider or Coffee. Christmas Shop in the Gift Shoppe/Bookstore.
Malone, NY – Closed Sept. 30, 2015, Can arrange tours by appointment if volunteers available . Minimum admission is $25 for three or less. Four or more admitted at regular price. Arrange by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org Re-opens for Christmas With Almanzo event (1 Day) December 6th, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. For this event admissions free. Come and enjoy readings from Farmer Boy Christmas chapter in the parlor of the house at 11:30 and 1:00. (Adults must accompany and remain with child.) Enjoy cookies, mulled cider, Christmas carols, and children’s activities. Come visit our gift store for last minute shopping with complimentary gift wrapping for purchased items. “Happy Christmas!”
Spring Valley, MN – Only open on weekends for the rest of the month of October. Closed October 31, 2015. They reopen for Christmas teas. Teas will be Thursday the 3rd – Sunday the 6th with sittings at 12:30 pm each day. As of right now they only have Sunday spots available, but it’s an annual event and if you’re are interested check with them in early fall next year. It is a full lunch set in a Victorian home that was built in 1888. Reservations required for the teas. The cost for the tea is $10. They will also be having house tours that same week-end from 1pm-4pm each day. The cost for the tours is $7 and includes three area homes. For more info call 507-346-7659.
Keystone, SD – Closed September 15, 2015.
Vinton, IA – Pat Barr passed along this information: “Our hours are the same year round – 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – Monday through Friday. All but the museum is available. The roof is now done and work can be started/finished on the inside of the building – I believe that all the ceiling tiles have been replaced – but, there still needs to be painting, floor coverings, and possibly dry wall. Once third floor has been completed, the Society will start working on the museum. There is still plenty to see without the museum. For large groups, members of the Society can display historical artifacts in the auditorium. The makeshift tunnels, the fence, etc. are down. People can now come in the front door of Old Main once again. A group larger than five should contact me – all others are welcome to drop in. My phone number is: 319-472-5221, Extension 1110. My e-mail is: email@example.com ”
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.