So, for our anniversary, Josh decided to surprise me with a random nerdy outing. Unfortunately for him, I talked him into giving me a hint and I accidentally figured out what the surprise was. Whoops! Due to my bookwormish tendencies since I was a child, we were heading to Walnut Grove, MN to see the annual pageant that is performed in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It’s a bit of a drive, and made for a late night as it is performed outside and doesn’t start until 9pm, but it ended up being a really fun day since we both appreciate a bit of cheese, but also history, and we of course both took plenty of pictures to share with everyone.
So, the first place on our list was at someone’s house. It was quiet and we weren’t sure if parking there would lead to us being tied up and hidden in a barn or an actual sod house. Turns out they actually have recreated sod houses (very few if any original sod houses remain).
It was extremely hot out, but we made the most of it. It was actually not that hot inside the sod houses, and the main one was surprisingly nice. Apparently at one point the owners actually let people sleep overnight as a fun B&B.
Lap of luxury.
Cozy, but not awful… it stays nicely cool in the summer and I imagine it warms up well in the winter months much as I imagined when reading the books. Granted, we got a more realistic look at what most sod houses started out as with dirt floors and without plastered walls.
After our visit to the Reptile Garden, we spent the rest of the day at the hotel in the pool and in the room. We were all fairly tired and since we knew the next day was going to be long as well, we figured we might as well be well rested. We left as early as we could the next morning and it was long until we started to see the many signs leading to Wall Drug. Honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I think I was expecting a little more. Haha! It was really just a bunch of touristy shops all in one big location with a bunch of cheesy touristy things to look at. We did get some donuts and 5 cent coffee for sure, though. It wasn’t a bad way to stretch our legs either and the kids decided to kill some time in an arcade.
There are so many signs advertising Wall Drug… SO MANY.
Not gonna lie, getting hit with a major snowstorm when we arrived in South Dakota was not something I had planned for. I could have sworn I had checked various forecasts and they were all good. Whoops. Go figure that it was during my turn to drive that the roads got nasty. On the plus side, I did see a coyote when it calmed down a bit and a few other critters. The weather did mean that we would need to find some indoor activities, though, because we didn’t bring any cold weather gear with us.
Thankfully, not too far from us was The Reptile Garden. You really can’t go wrong with reptiles, right? Plus it’s guaranteed that you won’t need a jacket inside and that always wins for me. I admit I was a little put off by the initial cost, but it ended up being worth it. They had an enormous collection of critters, some of which I have never seen in person before. There was also a really neat greenhouse that had some birds, snakes and lizards completely out of cages, which was unique from what we’ve been to before.
There were a few “shows” throughout the day, so we decided to check out the snake show. The kids got a little bored until the trainer (are they called trainers??) started pulling out actual snakes – many of which were venomous and therefore extra cool. Enzo even got to ask a question after raising his hand (which was possibly even more exciting) and he asked what Rattlesnakes eat. We got up close and personal with one too when the gal put the rattler on the ground with this 2-3 foot high clear barrier surrounding it. The kids, especially Enzo, were stoked.
The trip from California to Durango, Colorado was done overnight, so we didn’t make many stops along the way, however count on small children to need to use the restroom at the worst time possible when there are no bathrooms around. Haha. We also started to run into cooler drizzly weather which made exiting the car even more enjoyable.
I really failed at taking pictures during this portion of our trip and I don’t know why! Maybe because it felt so much like just being at home? I know at home I have to make more of an effort to pick up my camera at times. Plus, a lot of our time was just spent hanging out and chatting and unfortunately we were only there a few days, so that has a lot to do with it as well. Lots of good food and just nice to be home where really not much has changed, and as always a part of me thinks of moving back one day. Just maybe.
My dad has several of these large creepy crawlies around the yard and on his Jeep that he has made.
Enzo disovered Sprite on this trip, and now we’ve had to come to an agreement that he only gets it occasionally as a special treat. 😉 Also… while I try to avoid the kindles at restaurants, at this point in our trip the kids got cranky pretty fast and this battle is one I chose not to fight.