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 as a parent chaperone.
The living history museum has an eye for the future + is looking to make some big changes.
The balloon voyage is one of the most iconic experiences at Conner Prairie. | Photo by Conner Prairie
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
Adult Rec + Camp
Promised Land as Proving Ground is a new permanent exhibit that has partially opened on the grounds this season. 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.
The master plan is aimed at leveraging the museum’s strengths to create a new experience. | Photo by Conner Prairie
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.
Dining Out for Life Night | Thurs., June 16 | 7 a.m.-11 p.m. | Participating restaurants | Cost of purchase | Dine out during this 28th annual fundraiser to benefit the Damien Center — the city’s oldest + largest AIDS service organization. 🍴
Indy Pride Drive-In Movie Night | Fri., June 17 | 8-11:30 p.m. | Tibbs Drive-In, 480 S. Tibbs Ave. | $11+ | Join Indy Pride for a family-friendly evening of movies + celebration. 🎥
Anniversary Celebration | Sat., June 18 | 10 a.m.-6 p.m. | North Mass Boulder, 1411 Roosevelt Ave. | $5 | Celebrate this bouldering business’ one year anniversary with $5 day passes, local DJs, bounce houses, complimentary beer, an ice cream truck, and screen printing. 🧗
Market on the Pennsy | Sat., June 18 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Black Acre Garden, 5529 Bonna Ave. | Cost of purchase | This monthly market features small business owners with vintage clothing, home decor + handmade items. 👗
Paint-a-Palooza | Wed., June 19 | 9 a.m.-4 p.m. | Garfield Park, 2432 Conservatory Dr. | $150 | This one-day kids’ camp explores how to get the most out of painting. 🎨
Le Brunch en Rouge: A Juneteenth Celebration | Sun., June 19 | 11 a.m.-2 p.m. | The Balmoral House, 10101 Hamilton Hills Ln., Fishers | $40+ | Indy’s first Junetheeth celebration for LGBTQ+ Black/African Americans (and their allies) featuring a drag brunch by Black chefs. 🍽️
We have amonthly guide filled with events + activities you can plan for in advance. Click the button below to bookmark ideas for upcoming date nights, family outings, and time with friends.
National Drink Up Week is July 25-31. | Photo by INDYtoday team
Raise your glasses. This toast is dedicated to Indy’s beverage industry, from morning iced lattes to afternoon power smoothies and evening specialty cocktails. We appreciate what makes our local drink scene unique.
And to kick off our National Drink Up Week, July 25-31, we want to partner with local coffee shops, wineries, bars, restaurants, distilleries + more to shine a spotlight on our local beverage tastemakers. Find out more below.
City officials are reminding Hoosiers to stay safe, stay cool, and check on neighbors during the extreme heat central Indiana is experiencing this week. Cooling centers are open for free at ~20 library branches, Indy Parks family centers, and some indoor facilities. Anyone who needs assistance can contact 211. 🌡️ (WRTV)
The development team behind a redevelopment plan for the Willows Event Center in Broad Ripple withdrew their proposaljust hours before it was set to go before a city commission. The proposal was seeking city approval for the rezoning of the property to build 250+ apartments and townhomes. It was expected to cost $61 million. 🏢 (IBJ)
The former west side Marsh store (6965 W. 38th St.) will be transformed into a 61,000-sqft Vasa Fitness facility. This will be the third chain location in Indiana — with others at Thompson Road in Indianapolis + South Street in Lafayette. The gym is expected to open late summer or early fall. 💪 (IBJ)
A new exhibit is hopping at the Indianapolis Zoo this weekend. Kangaroo Crossingopens Sat., June 18 + will give visitors the chance to get up close and personal with red kangaroos as they roam freely in their space at Café on the Commons. Learn more here. 🦘
IndyGo has unveiled a new line of buses expected to help with air quality by reducing the amount of emissions. IndyGo will get three of the Allison-Glen Flex electric buses that can run on a battery for 10-50 miles. The route for these buses hasn’t been decided yet. 🚌 (WRTV)
Planning a family vacation? Take a look at the upcoming events in Bullitt County, KY for some itinerary inspo. From city + county fairs to craft festivals and holiday fun — there’s something for everyone. 🚗*
The Indiana State Fair announced a third wave of acts that will perform on the Free Stage from July 29-Aug. 21. Pop singer Jesse McCartney + country music singer-songwriter Travis Tritt were among the new additions. All of the concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. and are free with fair admission. 🎶 (WTHR)
The annual “Motorcycles on Meridian” event is no more. The summer event posed problems for local drivers + business owners, according to Downtown Indy, Inc. officials. The organization says it’s working with nonprofit motorcycle group American Bikers Aimed Toward Education of Indiana to put together a new event for the motorcycling community. 🏍️ (WISH)
Vintage race cars are making their way back to the track.This weekend, IMS will host hundreds of the world’s most historic race cars as they compete for the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational. Tickets start at $30. Pro tip: Kids 15 years old and younger get in for free with an adult. 🏎️
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A big focus of the project is bringing more apartments to the city’s central business district — transforming the 20-story Gold Building into 350 apartments, along with the construction of an 11-story, 60-unit apartment tower to replace the City Market’s east wing.
The project proposal also includes:
$30 million for ongoing improvements to the 11-story 251 E. Ohio St. building
$12 million in improvements to the parking garage adjacent to the office building
$4 million for redevelopment of the alleyway north of City Market
The entire project is expected to be finished by the end of 2025.
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Editor’s pick: I’m interested in checking out Symphony on the Prairie this summer — I’ve never been. While City Editor Anna + I were visiting the grounds, I noticed that it has designated handicap accessible areas for people to see the shows. I appreciated that because my brother uses a wheelchair.
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