Not Your Mama’s Conner Prairie

When we relocated to Indy last year, I remember hearing about Conner Prairie, conjuring up memories of my childhood visit there.  Once when mom or dad had a conference in the area, we got to make the trek down from Michigan for a visit.  All I really remember is a bunch of old prairie style homes.  Well, a lot has changed.

What I love about Conner Prairie is that you have different experiences every time you visit.

IMG_2046Case in point: our last visit, we got to pet a nine day old lamb, build blanket forts, and eat fresh made caramel apples.   None of these were available during our last visit, where we got to pretend-shoot rifles in the Civil War Journey, throw a tomahawk in Lenape Indian Camp, and ride in a hot air balloon.

And I always learn something new.  Did you know a group or flock of turkeys is called rafter?  We learned this as the entire rafter (quite literally) followed us through Prairie Town.  While they were harmless, the kids loved but were somewhat frightened a bit to have them within a few inches of their legs.IMG_2050

After visiting the loom house, we learned it takes nine days on a loom to make a blanket.  I think my kids had a whole new appreciation of what it takes to stay warm (or at least I did.)

IMG_2174Back to those delicious caramel apples.  My son got to experience his first, a salted caramel chocolate yellow delicious, while my daughter sampled the apple cider slushie, and even tried the apple, though she doesn’t like caramel or chocolate….miracles never cease.  The Apple Store is only open a few short months in the fall, and celebrates all things apple.  Sales benefit the charitable arm, Conner Prairie Alliance, which funds missions of Conner Prairie.  I even brought a half peck home to share from a local Indiana farm.  Delicious!

And let’s revisit the blanket fort…or aptly named the Hide Away Fort building area of the indoor Discovery Station, which is open all season.  My kids couldn’t get enough.  The area in which Conner Prairie has it right is making very simple things fun, which you could even replicate at home. IMG_2054

So, you have until the end of October run out for those caramel apples and other treats at the Apple Store.  After that, the outdoor portions close for the season (except for select events), but the indoor areas remain open.  So we’ll have to settle for blanket fort making, crafts, and how to harness wind energy, all located inside.  But somehow we don’t feel like that is settling.

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About expatmama

Karla Oselka Walsworth is a freelance writer/blogger, born and raised in the great state of Michigan. She has lived abroad twice, most recently in London, and keeps a blog on Expat living and traveling with children, www.expatmama.wordpress.com. Living in the last five years in four different cities, her writings tend to focus on challenges of moving/living with children while exposing them to all this planet has to offer. Karla, who has her MBA from the University of Illinois, and is also a certified 200 hour yoga instructor, has settled (for this moment) in the Midwest. As a recovering accountant and budding writer, she is actively raising two children with her husband Eric, hoping to give them as global a perspective as one can, at ages 7 and 4.
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