After seeing approximately100 billboards for Wall Drug the only thing left to do was to see what this place was all about.  With billboards reading, “Come see the T-Rex”, “5 cent coffee”, “free ice water”, “homemade ice cream”, and a hundred other things we figured it was worth a “quick” look.  And a quote from their website said, “Free Admission to this 76,000 square foot wonderland of free attractions!”  We were curious.

Wall Drug is more like a department store.  It takes up about a block of the small town of Wall, SD.  It really is the only reason people stop in Wall.   The hundreds of billboards has been a great marketing tool that keep tourists curious and willing to make the stop.   I’m not sorry we went but it’s one of those places that I can’t seem to get my kids out of.  There was always more “stuff” to look at and just one more room we hadn’t explored yet.  Someone told me to give the kids $20 each and let them have at it in this place.  Keep in mind this was coming from a person with one adult child.  I said $5 sounds like a more appropriate amount to me.

The story of how it all began is a sweet one. This is how the story ends on their website,  “Free Ice Water. It brought us Husteads (Wall Drug owners) a long way and it taught me my greatest lesson, and that's that there's absolutely no place on God's earth that's Godforsaken. No matter where you live, you can succeed, because wherever you are, you can reach out to other people with something that they need!”  You can read their story here, http://www.walldrug.com/t-history.aspx.

We did all have 5 cent coffee (that tasted like water), a delicious homemade donut (none of that Dunkin’ Donuts crap), and of course a cup of ice water.  How could we not?


The list the kids made before we went to Wall Drug.



Coffee all around when it’s 5 cents.




Shopping, ice water, and the history of Wall Drug


We waited 12 minutes.  Apparently the T-Rex wasn’t hungry today.



Aside from the donuts this is what I was most excited about.  If you know, me then you know my phobia of public restroom door handles.  This is a beautiful thing…. touch-free handle!


We didn’t leave empty handed.  Now that we are in the west, what better to purchase than a few cowboy/cowgirl hats, except for Korben who refused.


The kids had such a great time at this place, that is before we got kicked out.  Yes, we really got kicked out of the Prairie Homestead.  I’m going to try to make this short, even though I was quite upset when this went down.

This is an original sod house from 1909.  When we arrived the friendly woman at the counter advised us that the Prairie Homestead likes to try to give an authentic experience.  She then proceeded to show us where the dress up clothes were and that the kids could touch all the things in the house and feed the animals hay in the barn.

So we did just that for about 3 hours as the woman behind the counter watched us from the large window at the house we entered in.  After those 3 hours of play the woman came walking toward us.  I wasn’t thinking we were doing anything wrong until she began yelling at Freya.  Hold on a second… then she began yelling at me and telling other customers that we weren’t supposed to touch anything.  Then she asked us to  leave.  I was so confused; so I confronted her.  We had quite an argument but what it came down to for me was these 2 questions:

1. You told us to play with everything.  Were we not supposed to do that?

2. We have been here for 3 hours.  If we were doing something wrong why didn’t you come tell us right away?

Her response (over and over again) was, “I told you the kids could touch everything, not play with everything”

Is this woman for real?   I’m going to end the story here… our exchange of words is better left unsaid. 

The sod house can be seen from the parking lot.  Save your money and view it from there since you aren’t allowed to touch anything once you pay to get in.

Here are some pictures of the fun the kids had before we were kicked out.









It was one of those moments… one kid was tired, one kid was hungry, one kid was thirsty, one wanted to be read to, one was screaming, one had to pee, one was cold, one was hot.   I think that count is at 8 yet I only have four children… although the volume in the motorhome sounded more like 8 kids… on the Scream Machine. We were in need of a break but we were trying so hard… too hard to make it to the campground we had just made a reservation that same afternoon.

Then all fell silent!

Why, you ask?

Because it sounded like the roof of the motorhome blew off.  There was suddenly a loud noise and it wasn’t humans.  Now would be a good time to mention that we had been driving about 2 hours straight in 25mph South Dakota winds.  Two hours might not sound that long but for a motorhome towing a van in the South Dakota hills, it’s a really really long time.

Well, we got that much needed break we all desperately needed.  And we also almost lost the three vents on the top of the motor home.  All three vents were hanging on by one last screw.  All three had blown open while driving which is what created the “our roof blew off” sound.

Thank you to man who offered us zip ties to tie the vents back in place.



It may appear in this picture that Jeff is wearing a crop top.  Trust me when I tell you that he is not and that this is wind practically blowing his shirt right off his body.  At one point, one of us opened the door from the motorhome to go outside and the wind  blew the door so hard that it actually put a hole in the outside of the motorhome.


And what were the kids doing?



Sliding down a pile of dirt in the lot we were parked in… or at least we hope it was dirt.


Only three kids is these pictures… where was #4?


Soaking up the rays of the South Dakota sun.

God has a funny way of giving you exactly what you need.  We needed this time outside, even in the wind, to let go and unwind for a bit… sometimes it takes a little unexpected turn of events for me to do exactly what needed to be done anyway.   This little story could have had a terrible ending but I am thankful we were are all safe and so was everyone else on the road that these vents could have easily hit had we gone any further.


We had heard about The Corn Palace but it wasn’t on our list of things to do.  Then we realized that we were staying in the town The Corn Palace is located in and we were in search of a grocery store.  Well, we found the Corn Palace and a parade that was blocking the road to the grocery store.  Come to find out that this parade is a big deal in Mitchell, SD and that people travel far distances to see this particular parade.  What was so special about this parade?  I have no idea. 

We saw the Corn Palace and it was interesting but I don’t ever need to see it again.  The building is covered with ears of corn in different colors to make a mural.  Think of a paint by number but with colored ears of corn instead.




The “paint by ears of corns”.  This is what they draw before they put the corn in place.  The best picture I could get.



The corn murals.

When we went inside to see what was in the building we were asked if the kids were participating in the tractor pull.  “The what?” I said.

It turns out the building is a venue for various town events.  This particular day the event was the kid tractor pull.  I didn’t know what a tractor pull was.  For those of you like me, the child peddles a tractor for as long as they can as the weight they are pulling gets heavier and heavier.  It looked like a pretty serious event with prizes and trophies.



My kids don’t love parades but they do love candy so we stopped briefly to watch the parade but really is was just to score some candy.



It was hard to see the candy after this car passed by.  There is no possible way this car passed inspection with the fumes it was giving off.



We did eventually get to the grocery store.  What a great place this was!  I started chatting with the woman managing the gluten free section of the store.  She was telling about various websites to get coupons for gluten free food.  After giving her my email address, I later received 7 emails from her with loads of info on g-free eating.  She also asked if we wanted samples of some items in the store.  Um, free stuff… yes , please! She whipped out her Sharpie marker, began picking up items off the shelf and then wrote “sample” on  the items as she put a slash through the UPC.  I was so thankful for her generosity.