The Prairie Homestead is not only famous for its historical value; it also offers visitors the chance to see a prairie dog town. The prairie dogs were originally here before the homesteaders. Once the homesteaders arrived, the prairie dogs were able to grow in population and spread over thousands of acres of land. The homestead offers the only white prairie dog town. One great thing about having the prairie dog town here, is that if you are traveling with children, they may get bored of the historical aspects of the homestead, but most children love to watch the prairie dogs! (Even adults like to watch them!)
Turn off of Interstate 90 at Exit 131, the entrance to the Badlands National Park. Stop at the unique Badlands Trading Post and new Amoco gas station, "Where the West still lives". It features gifts ranging from mounted buffalo heads and skulls to western designed T-shirts and a variety of lower priced items as well as food - from the famous Buffalo Hot Dogs and Ice Cream Cones, down to a candy bar. The Prairie Homestead is located just 2 miles south on Highway 240, the east entrance to the Badlands National Park.
Most people know not to approach wild animals, and the prairie dogs here at the homestead are indeed wild. You can actually get reasonably close to the prairie dogs, but don't do anything risky, like trying to pet them. If you're traveling with children, it would be wise to remind them that, although the prairie dogs are cute, they may bite, so children should not get too close.
Favorite thing: The Prairie Homestead in Philip was built in 1909 by Mr. and Mrs. Ed Brown. The homestead is almost completely untouched, with the exception of a few minor repairs. Most of the sod is original, and the wood on the house is the original cottonwood logs that Mr. Brown used to build the house. Homesteads are becoming very rare sites, making Philip a very important historical site, especially for the American West. Also, since it is almost completely original, it is arguably the best example of a homestead. The inside is furnished as a homestead would have been back when they were used, so visitors may enter and see the small area that many of the first Americans to live in the West had to live in, due to their lack of money, machinery, and resources. Most homesteaders came on wagons with only a plow and dreams of a new life! The Browns remained in this homestead until 1936 when it was sold to George Carr, but the Browns, especially Mrs. Brown, always missed the homestead, despite the hardships they faced.