If you’re a Hoosier, you’ve probably been to Conner Prairie for a field trip at some point — whether it was as a kid in elementary school or a parent chaperone.
The living history museum has an eye for the future + is looking to make some big changes.
Conner Prairie has made $3.2 million in investments to improve the visitor experience and if you haven’t been there recently, you’ll notice some of those changes.
Recent improvements include:
- Reimagined balloon voyage
- Ag Adventures at Estridge Park
- Treetop Outpost
- Prairie Mobile
- Adult Rec + Camp
Promised Land as Proving Ground is a new permanent exhibit that has partially opened on the grounds this summer. It’s part of the Smithsonian Institutes’ affiliate program aiming to expand the Prairie Town experience + tell more inclusive stories. The exhibit will cover 500 centuries of African American history from pre-colonial Africa to the present day.
Conner Prairie’s master plan is aiming to change the landscape of the grounds to activate its largest asset — 3.3 miles of the White River and 1,000+ acres of prairie and woodland.
The master plan includes things like:
- 2.5 miles of trails
- 6 miles of shoreline stabilization and wetlands to improve drinking water
- Up to four nature education hubs with evolving content
The long-term plan looks to Conner Prairie’s land in Carmel for some of the most significant changes, featuring a White River Education & Ecology Center, which will include exhibits, a citizen science lab, classrooms, multi-purpose rooms, and offices.
Upscale farm-to-fork restaurants, a boutique hotel, spa, and cabin site are also part of the plan, among other park upgrades.
The long-term plan is still in its early stages, but is expected to total ~$80 million.
- Symphony on the Prairie | June 24-Sept. 4 | Enjoy a range of live performances from classical, pop, and family-friendly by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Pro tip: Gates open at 6 p.m. and concerts begin at 8 p.m. each evening.
- Glorious Fourth | July 2-4 | Visit Prairietown as it celebrates 60 years of American independence, and also hear how others have questioned just how free America is.
- Throwback Camp | Sat., July 9 | 9 a.m.-11 p.m. | Experience Conner Prairie’s Adventure Camp as an adult with a “grown-ups only” day of ziplining, archery, camp crafts, field games, and summer tubing — catered lunch + dinner with s’mores and beer/wine will be available.
- Jupiter Flights Balloon Festival | Sept. 9-11 | 6-10 p.m. | This hot air balloon festival features a live concert, bounce houses, and activities for the whole family.