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 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:
As a heads up the weather this fall has been unusually mild across the Midwest as a whole, but one big snow storm has already cut across the upper Midwest reaching De Smet, Walnut Grove, and points east. The weather forecast is still calling for a cold and snowy winter once it does arrive so account for that possibility in your plans if you are planning a winter trip.
Pepin, WI – Closed for the season Oct. 26, 2016. They aren’t participating in the town’s Christmas event this year.
Independence, KS – They closed for the season in October.
Walnut Grove, MN – Museum grounds closed for the season November 1, 2016, but their Gift Shop/Visitor Center will remain open during November and December 23, 2016 from 10 am – 4 pm, Monday – Saturday. After Christmas it will be open Monday – Friday, same hours, until March 1, 2016. If you’re looking for winter homesite photos, they have snow already.
Burr Oak, IA – Closed mid-October 2016. Beginning in September they have reduced hours. In October they are open Thurs.-Sat. 10 am-4 pm and Sunday noon-4 pm. They will have their annual fundraising event Dec. 12th. If you’d like to attend contact the museum. Best bet is to e-mail them because they are not in the office every day.
De Smet, SD –
Memorial Society – open all year with slightly reduced hours during winter, Monday–Friday 9 am -4 pm. They suggest tour times at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. They will be closed from Dec. 24, 2016 to Jan. 2, 2017.
Ingalls Homestead – Open depending on the weather through October and then closed at the end of October. 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, 2016. Winter hours are November 16 – December 15 by appointment only (call ahead). Bookstore 10 am -2 pm.
Christmas at Laura’s
Chistmas Tradition here on Rocky Ridge Farm. Free admission to the historic home featuring vintage decorations. Tunes on Pa’s fiddle. Bring YOUR camera or cell phone for pictures with Santa by Laura’s fireplace. Normally photos aren’t allowed inside the house so this is a rare treat. Tastings from Laura’s own recipes. Laura’s Christmas is scheduled for December 3, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:00 P.M. Weather Permitting. (NOTE*) If the parade is canceled for bad weather Laura’s Christmas will be canceled as well. Come celebrate Christmas with us in a most special way!
Malone, NY – Closed October 2, 2016 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 3, 2016 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 – They closed for the season at the end of October, but they reopen for Christmas teas. Teas will be held on Dec. 3-4, 2016 at 12:30 each day. Cost is $12 for the lunch. It is a full lunch set in a Victorian home that was built in 1888. Reservations required for the teas. Contact the museum at email@example.com
Keystone, SD – Closed September 15, 2016.
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. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org ” The biennial membership meeting is December 1 at 7:00 p.m.
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.