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Conner Prairie brings our nation’s history to life.
Photo courtesy Conner Prairie
At Conner Prairie, they know the best way to learn about history is to live it! In today’s world, history is one of the most important subjects for our kids to study. But textbooks and lectures never seem to capture the excitement of making history. That’s why Conner Prairie makes learning fun for everyone with hands-on activities and events for all ages!
Conner Prairie is a one-of-a-kind interactive history park, where the past comes to life through re-enactments and immersive activities. From early settlers to Civil War soldiers, you can step back in time and meet the ‘residents’ of the re-enactment.
As a Smithsonian-affiliated organization, Conner Prairie has carefully crafted their experiences to be as historically accurate as possible. They base every site and character on years of demographic and geographic research. So, all the people are dressed in full costume, ready to guide you through history without ever breaking character.
“Institutions like Conner Prairie are redefining the museum experience, helping people engage with the past to better understand the world around them and developing solutions for the future.”
Explore the great outdoors in Indiana’s natural environment.
With over 800 acres of activities, Conner Prairie is one of the most visited outdoor museums in the country. After all, it’s not just a time capsule of Indiana history. Conner Prairie’s also a place where your children can play games, learn about science, and connect with nature.
Their Nature Walk is a beautiful trail experience, winding through woodlands, prairie, and river sites. From the trail, you can immerse yourself in the local wildlife and catch a spectacular view of the museum. The Animal Encounters exhibit lets kids meet real farm animals and talk to the experts who care for them. And if you’re ready to go back inside, the Create.Connect exhibit teaches about the history of innovation with STEM-based activities.
Whether they’re toddlers or teens, kids in the Indy region grow up loving Conner Prairie. They have fond memories of 4th grade field trips and summer camps spent exploring the outdoors. Because Conner Prairie is an adventure right in their backyard!
Immerse yourself in the lifestyle of early American settlers.
Conner Prairie is called a living history museum for good reason. It’s a unique place where visitors can explore authentic recreations of Indiana’s most historic time periods.
First, Prairietown transports you back in time to 1836, when Indiana was still a relatively new state. This fictional village is based on the small proprietary towns that settlers lived in, showing what life was like for those early Hoosiers. You can study in a one-room schoolhouse, play 19th century games, and watch traditional craftsmen like potters and blacksmiths.
Then, the Lenape Indian Camp teaches you about the life and culture of the native Lenape people. The camp is the earliest historical area in Conner Prairie, going back to 1816. While you’re there, you can learn to throw a tomahawk, try candle-making, and even stop by the Trading Post to negotiate with traders.
And finally, at the 1863 Civil War Journey, you can experience the battles of the Civil War like never before. The journey starts in a recreation of Dupont, Indiana, during the aftermath of a raid on the town. There, you’ll meet fictional residents and help defend the state from Confederate General John Hunt Morgan. Kids can even participate in military drills and create their own battle reenactment, dressing up in uniform for their counterattack against the Confederates.
Join Conner Prairie for community events and celebrations.
If history isn’t your favorite subject, your family can still visit one of Conner Prairie’s seasonal special events! Throughout the year, Conner Prairie hosts a variety of outdoor festivals and activities for the entire community to enjoy—from the annual Heartland International Film Festival to the harvest season Apple Store.
One of their most popular events is the Symphony on the Prairie concert series. Every summer, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and other musical guests travel up to Hamilton County to perform live music for the community. For nearly 40 years, families from across the region have brought their picnic blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy music on the amphitheater lawn week after week.
When the weather starts to cool and Halloween lurks right around the corner, Conner Prairie revives their annual Headless Horseman Festival—with spooky traditions and fall fun for the whole family. You can get lost in the haunted corn maze, play games with friendly monsters, and enjoy a hayride through the grounds. But watch out! Once the sun goes down, the Headless Horseman begins to haunt the hayrides through Sleepy Hollow.
Photo courtesy Conner Prairie
As autumn passes and the winter chill sets in, Conner Prairie transforms into A Merry Prairie Holiday to celebrate the spirit of the season. The outdoor museum creates a dazzling winter wonderland with glittering lights, festive storytellers, and reindeer games for the little ones to play. Your kids can also sled down the 150-foot Polar Bear Plunge or even meet Santa in his workshop!
Conner Prairie is where families make memories.
Whether you’re visiting to learn or play, Conner Prairie is a unique museum experience unlike anything you’ve seen before. Every day, the museum teaches children that history is an adventure and that learning can be fun, creating timeless traditions to bring the Indy region together. Your kids will never forget the days spent exploring the world beyond their textbooks—so bring your family down to the prairie and start making your own history!
Photo courtesy Conner Prairie