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Holiday Activities at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park

Horse-drawn wagon ride at Conner Prairie.

Horse-drawn wagon ride at Conner Prairie. Photo provided by Conner Prairie and used with written permission.

By Lynelle Mellady
Conner Prairie Interactive History Park

For the first time, Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, Indiana’s only Smithsonian affiliate, will open its outdoor historic grounds during select daytime hours to present new and exciting holiday activities for families.

Throughout December, families can celebrate the holidays at Conner Prairie during Holidays on the Prairie, which includes new activities and traditional family favorites. New this year is a winter romp outside during the 1836 Outdoor Adventure, where families can help the costumed residents of Prairietown prepare for the holidays, participate in parties straight from the past, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, sing songs and tell stories around the bonfire and delight their senses during a chocolate demonstration and tasting at the Conner House.

Also new this year, families can have dinner with Santa and members can participate in a special breakfast with Santa. Along with new programming, Conner Prairie will also offer traditional holiday favorites such as Conner Prairie by Candlelight and the Gingerbread Village.

Holidays on the Prairie activities begin Dec. 1 and run through Dec. 31 during select days and times. Activities this year include:

1836 Outdoor Adventure – New

Dec. 3, 10 and 17; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
$12/adult; $9/youth ages 2–12

Head outdoors during the day to 1836 Prairietown where costumed residents need your help preparing for the holidays. Enjoy the sights from a horse-drawn wagon ride and visit the Campbell home where it’s holiday party time. If you prefer a more raucous party, join the Rowdies as they sing, play games and tell stories around the bonfire and maybe even cause trouble for the other folks in town. Learn how to make a candle for someone special on your gift list, sample a holiday treat from an 1800s-era recipe, treat yourself to a holiday lunch and much more. You can even stop by the Conner House for a chocolate demonstration and tasting and purchase your favorite Indiana-made chocolate treat. Some activities include an additional fee.

Dinner with Santa – New

Dec. 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17; 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. dinner seatings
$18.95/adult ($16.95/adult member); $9.95/youth ages 2-12 ($8.95/ youth member)

Come enjoy dinner with Santa Claus and tell him what you’re wishing for this holiday season. Join Mrs. Claus and her helpers decorate cookies. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Guest Services at 317-776-6006 or 800-966-1836. Some activities include an additional fee.

Members Only Breakfast with Santa – New

Dec. 3 and 10; 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
$14.95/adult member; $7.95/youth member ages 2–12

Enjoy breakfast and a visit with Santa then decorate a gingerbread cookie to take home. Reservations required by calling Guest Services at 317-776-6006 or 800-966-1836.

Gingerbread Village

Dec. 1–31; Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m.-5  p.m. and Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Free with general admission

Overwhelm your senses with the scent of gingerbread as you stroll through a display of gingerbread creations.

Conner Prairie by Candlelight

December 2–3, 9–10, 16–17; Tour start times are staggered between 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
$15/adult ($13/adult member); $13/youth ages 2-12 ($11/youth member)
Group pricing available

It’s the night before Christmas and you are in Prairietown helping costumed residents prepare for the holidays. Visit different homes on this family-friendly, 60-minute guided tour. Join the Ullman’s Hanukkah celebration, and meet the German Pennsylvania Santa Claus. Joke with the Rowdies around the bonfire, and join in the dancing, singing and good conversation at the Campbell family party. Reservations are required by calling 317-776-6006 or 800-966-1836.

Bill Hixson’s Holiday Ornaments and More

Dec. 3; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Dec. 4; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
No admission required

Meet Bill Hixson, better known as “Mr. Christmas,” White House decorator since the early 1980s. Purchase a favorite from a vast collection of mouth-blown, hand-painted glass ornaments from Europe, each with its own story. Have him sign the ornament and give it to someone special on your gift list.

Access Pass/Military Discounts

Conner Prairie offers free admission to members of the military and 50 percent off admission for immediate family of military. Discounts are also available for families that are eligible for the Access Pass program, which provides admission for just $1 per family member per visit. You must present the required documentation to receive discounted admission through Access Pass. Military and Access Pass discounts only apply to daytime general admission activities including the1836 Outdoor Adventure and Gingerbread Village.

More Information

Some holiday activities include an additional fee. For more information on cost or to create your special holiday itinerary at Conner Prairie, visit www.connerprairie.org or call 317-776-6006 or 800-996-1836. Conner Prairie will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

  1. December 1, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I was unaware of Conner Prairie’s affiliation with the Smithsonian. What a wonderful resource for them to be partnered with. Kudos.

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