Whether it’s a day trip or a pitstop off the interstate to release energy, the Children’s Museum of South Dakota in Brookings is a great place for parents and kids to learn through an entertaining environment (have you been to KidStreet?!). Kerrie Vilhauer is the director of marketing and is surrounded daily by the creative outdoor and indoor exhibits. 605 caught up with her to get a peek into her life when she’s not hearing Mama the Tyrannosaurus rex roar at guests.

If I’m working remotely from Sioux Falls, I typically start my day at [1] M.B. Haskett. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and it doesn’t disappoint.

When I’m not reading a book and enjoying my coffee, I start my morning out at Forged Strength. I get a no-nonsense, effective workout surrounded by a community of wonderful people.

Speaking of coffee, my morning would not be the same without The Breaks Coffee Roasting Co. Thankfully, though, my job serves coffee roasted in Brookings, [2] Kool Beans Coffee and Roasterie and Cottonwood Bistro, to keep me caffeinated throughout the day.

I commute to Brookings for work, so I listen to a lot of podcasts. If my kids are riding with me (or sometimes if they aren’t) we’ll listen to Brains On!, a podcast for kids and curious adults. I also enjoy The Splendid Table because I love food and to cook. Both of those podcasts come out of Minnesota. For South Dakota conversations and current events, I love South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s In the Moment with Lori Walsh.

Sometimes I joke that if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now, I’d be running a bakery or restaurant in a mountain town somewhere. That’s why I’m so glad the museum has its own (delicious) cafe, [3] Café Coteau. If I’m lucky and my work day allows, I can don an apron and help out. The cafe’s signature mac and cheese is delicious for children and adults. No, I don’t have the recipe.    

Speaking of food, I love [4] The Carrot Seed Kitchen Co. in downtown Brookings. I’ve been known to take a break from work and stop by to buy a new cheese grater or some fresh pizza dough to bring home.

Those who know me know I like to ride my bicycle. That’s why I’m glad my friends at [5] Spoke-N-Sport opened a shop in Brookings around the same time I started working at the museum. I’m hoping they’ll give me a ride back to Sioux Falls if I make an attempt to ride to work during the Falls Area Bicyclists Bike to Work Month.

If that doesn’t work, I still plan to ride my bike through Brookings on RASDAK, a bicycle tour across South Dakota the first week in June.

There are so many cool places to visit in the state. My kids and I have spent a lot of spring and summer days picking strawberries or raspberries at Sanderson Gardens in Aurora.

The thing that keeps me grounded during the week is yoga. Whether I’m in Sioux Falls or Brookings, I can hit up [6] Revolution Yoga & Cycle or Prairie Soul Studio. We also have two yoga teachers who work at work, so pop-up yoga play on the museum floor is totally within reason!

For more information, visit prairieplay.org.


The Prairie
Experience the wide open prairie and climb in the clouds. Investigate lifestyles of traditional Dakota/Lakota people and pioneer settlers, and see farming start to finish at the Market Fresh Grocery.

Cruise on down the street with Under the Hood car tune-up, Café Oscar, Kids Live! studio, the Post Office, Fit 4 Life gym, and more!

Experiment with water with the Splash Table, Tot Spot, and Plink, Plank, Plop.

Nature Play
Get outside and climb hills and logs. Cross waters Streamside by walking on stones, build a beaver dam, check out Dino Dig, connect to nature with Music Meadow, or walk through Patrick Dougherty’s sculpture, Tangle Town.

Random Facts:

I love downtowns, and have spent the majority of my adult life working in one. I’d have most of my basic needs met if I had to spend 90 percent of my time on Main and 5th Street in Brookings. You’ve got a bicycle shop, an Indian restaurant, a burger shop, a brewery, and a post office.

I’m also known as Mrs. Radish and happened to be the one who broke the dinosaur bone during the Children’s Museum of South Dakota’s most recent Mystery Dinner Theater. I was a chef, which may or may not have inspired me to start singing “Be Our Guest” during the interrogation.

I have a sourdough starter named Twinker that just turned 6 years old.

I am a nerd for all things museums (which is why I love working at one). I love exploring when traveling. You’d be surprised how valuable museum memberships can be. Depending on which local memberships you have, you can be granted admission to children’s museums, science centers, zoos, and historical centers all across the country.

Once I Twitter-stalked foodie Alton Brown and ended up meeting him at M.B. Haskett downtown. He liked my coat.

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