Welcome to Prairie Village, a living museum of the past!
Prairie Village is now closed for the 2023 season. This includes all historic buildings, our gift shop, and public visitation.
The final day of fall camping will be Sunday, October 8, 2023. At the end of the day Sunday, we will be closed to all public camping until May 5, 2024.
We will offer 2023 camping from Opening Day in May until Sunday, October 8 with dozens of electrical sites, two shower houses and an RV dump station on the grounds. If you wish to camp with us after our Labor Day main village closing, please stop upon entry at the self-check-in station, fill out the appropriate forms, and make payment via the secure drop box. You may then proceed to any open campsite. There are no reservations or site marking/saving during fall camping.
Board meeting Sunday, October 8 at 11:00 am in the Opera House.
*Following recent board action, UTV’s/side by sides are no longer allowed to operate on our grounds. ATV’s/4-wheelers, dirt bikes, and motorized scooters/hoverboards are also prohibited. Medical scooters are allowed.
* Prairie Village Events 2023 Concerts, Car Show and more
* Prairie Village Jamboree 2023, featuring stationary engines, orphan and garden equipment
* Prairie Village News See details of the new Prairie Village Hall of Fame initiative.
* Prairie Village Camping If you would like to camp with us, we ask that you make advance reservations for all camping stays during this time, as some camping areas may be unavailable.
* Important firewood quarantine information Some bad firewood is not allowed.
* Early History of Prairie Village Please be aware that historic building access, carousel rides and train rides can be affected by inclement weather. Guests are encouraged to call ahead with weather-related questions.
Located 2 miles west of Madison, South Dakota on the shores of Lake Herman and situated on 120 acres, Prairie Village features more than 40 antique-filled buildings, reliving the days of an active turn-of-the-century main street. Visit the Lawrence Welk Opera House, a rare operating steam carousel, sod and log houses, country school, churches and one of the last remaining railroad chapel cars the Emmanuel”, and much more. Open from the first Sunday in May through Labor Day. Click for details Hours of operation and admission.
Visit our gift shop, where you can purchase drinks and snacks along with souvenirs from your visit. We also offer a large covered picnic shelter with connected kitchen facilities which can be rented for family reunions, business picnics or other group gatherings. Church services are held every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. from June through August at the village’s Junius Church.
For grounds layout see the: Map of Grounds and Building Descriptions. Free but limited WiFi access is available near the gift shop and just north of the carousel (not available in most camp sites).
Give a click and follow Historic Prairie Village on Facebook.
All motorized vehicles must obey the grounds speed limit of 5 mph and be operated with care and due regard. Operators must be at least 16 years of age and possess a current driver’s license. Operators of any motorized vehicles must not drive while consuming – or while under the influence of – alcohol or other performance altering substances. Vehicles are allowed only on established roads within the immediate historic building and camping areas and within campsites. All other areas (such as railroad right-of-way, grain/hay fields, etc) are prohibited. Campers’ personal vehicles may not be parked on/in other campsites, even if vacant. UTV’s/side by sides are no longer allowed to operate on our grounds. ATV’s/4-wheelers, dirt bikes, and motorized scooters/hoverboards are also not allowed.
Pets are welcome at Prairie Village but must be on a leash and kept under control at all times. Pets (except for official service animals) are not allowed in buildings, and owners must pick up after their pet. All appropriate immunizations must be current and documented.
Smoking is not allowed inside or within 25 feet of buildings, the carousel, and railroad equipment.
Campfires are fully the responsibility of the person setting the campfire, and are only allowed in campsites and when contained within an appropriate containment device. All campfires must be put out thoroughly before departing, and are not allowed during high winds or extremely dry conditions. Fireworks of all kinds are prohibited on Prairie Village property.
Camping checkout time is 4:00 pm, unless late checkout has been previously approved by Prairie Village staff. Incoming campers may choose to arrive prior to 4:00 pm but must understand that certain campsites may remain occupied from the day prior until 4:00 pm. Quiet hours are 11:00 pm through 9:00 am daily; during these hours, all guests must curb excessive noise and loud campsite conversations.
Drone flying is prohibited unless specifically approved by management.
The village is surrounded by 2 miles of railroad track for the Prairie Village, Herman & Milwaukee Railroad. Buy a ticket to ride one of our trains, which run every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. during our regular season (dates shown above), as well as on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Railroad Day, during the Steam Threshing Jamboree and by special arrangement for groups. Train ride ticket prices: adult and child $5.00, age 3 and under free; family train pass $20.00 (up to 5 family members); group of 15 or more $4.00 per person. Free train rides for mothers on Mother’s Day and fathers on Father’s Day at 2:00 p.m.
Ride one of the world’s last remaining steam-powered carousels. Operating daily (weather dependent) during the regular season (dates shown above), the 100-plus year old Herschell Spillman steam carousel features hand-carved horses prancing to the tune of great calliope music. Our carousel operates most days during the season, with times dependent on weather and guest count. Ask in the gift shop for that day’s schedule.
Over the years, thousands upon thousands of elementary school children have come to Prairie Village on “school tours” in May and early June to have fun while gaining knowledge and appreciation for how rural citizens lived in eastern South Dakota many years ago.
We conduct numerous events throughout the season (Schedule of Events). On August 24, 25, 26, and 27, 2023 the 60th Annual Steam Threshing Jamboree will be held, featuring stationary engines, orphan, and garden equipment. Plan now to attend what promises to be a huge event. The Jamboree features parades, a large flea market, hundreds of antique tractors, antique car show, horse & steam powered threshing, saw mill & machinery demonstrations, tractor pulls, wagon trains, railroad roundhouse and turntable demonstrations, train & carousel rides, evening dinner train (by reservation), musical entertainment, exhibits, food and family fun.
For information on being a Jamboree food vendor or flea market vendor, Click here.
We offer Prairie Historical Society Associate Memberships and Season Passes. Season passes provide big money savings. Click Here
The continued dynamic progression of Prairie Village is the result of extensive volunteerism. Find out more by going to the Volunteer’s Page. Many of the dedicated volunteers are among the over 400 members of the Prairie Historical Society. The requirements to become a PHS member are 100 hours of volunteer service at Prairie Village, OR at least 3 consecutive years as an exhibitor, OR a $500 cash contribution.
Prairie Historical Society (Historic Prairie Village) is a non-profit corporation and is organized for the charitable, educational, and scientific purposes within the 501(c)(3) section of the IRS code. Gifts and donations to the Prairie Historical Society are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the IRS. Feel free to contact us for further information.
Prairie Historical Society (Historic Prairie Village) does not discriminate regarding race, religion, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, political affiliation, marital or veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by state or federal law in any facet of its operation.
Mission Statement: Preserving the history of the South Dakota prairie pioneer by fostering experiential education through regionally relevant displays, demonstrations, and events.
Vision Statement: To be the region’s destination for family oriented, historically educational experiences reaching across the spectrum of age, class, and background.