Welcome to Prairie Village, a living museum of the past!
**** NOTE: Prairie Village is now fully closed for the 2021 season. This includes our historic buildings and all public visits, as well as our campground. We will open for the 2022 season on Sunday, May 8, 2022.
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 chapel railroad cars, the “Emmanuel”, and much more. Hours of operation and admission.
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.
Notice to Jamboree campers who have changed addresses: If you have recently camped with us during Jamboree, or if you submitted a Jamboree campsite request form during our last Jamboree, you need to contact us immediately with any changes to your mailing and contact information. A number of Jamboree camping forms have been returned to us by the postal service with no forwarding information. If you do not provide timely and accurate change of address/contact information, the Jamboree campsite may be offered to another party. Contact us at: email@example.com., or PO Box 256, Madison, SD 57042, or 605-256-3644.
Link to: Early History of Prairie Village
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.
We will be open daily from Sunday, May 2 through Labor Day 2021, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Final Village admission is at 4:00 p.m. daily. (For additional information, see Hours & Admission page). We offer camping from Opening Day in May into October (closing is weather dependent) with dozens of electrical sites, two shower houses and an RV dump station on the grounds. *Note that camping will not open until May 2 (Opening Day).
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. ATV’s, 4-wheelers and motor scooters are prohibited on Prairie Village property.
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 $4, age 3 and under free, family train pass $15 (up to 5 family members), group of 15 or more $3 per person. Free train rides for mothers on Mother’s Day and fathers on Father’s Day at 2:00 p.m. Check out one of America’s newest turntables and roundhouse in action.
Ride one of the world’s last remaining steam-powered carousels. Operating daily 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. Rides costing only $2 per person are available on the hour from 11:00 to 4:00 Monday through Saturday and noon to 4:00 on Sundays.
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 26, 27, 28, and 29, 2021 the 58th Annual Steam Threshing Jamboree will be held, featuring International Harvester. The following year (2022) will feature John Deere. 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 2021 Jamboree food vendor or flea market vendor click here. (2021 applications are posted).
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.
The Prairie Historical Society (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.