Archive for January, 2015

Dutch Oven Diva at Brown County State Park, Mar. 7-8, 2015

January 31, 2015 Leave a comment
Brown County State Park

Brown County State Park. staff photo, (c) 2009, all rights reserved.

By Aubrey Sitzman
Brown County CVB

As part of the 2015 National Maple Syrup Festival being held in Brown County, Ind., campfire cooking extraordinaire Lesley Tennessen, better known as the Dutch Oven Diva, will prepare sweet and savory maple-based food creations in the Brown County State Park on March 7 and 8, 2015.

Stationed around a huge stone fireplace in the Lower Shelter of the park, the Dutch Oven Diva will cook live for festival guests, who will be able to enjoy samples and experience firsthand the fine art of outdoor cooking. Using only Dutch ovens, the Diva will serve up delicious dishes all featuring maple ingredients on Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Enjoying a tasty dinner around a campfire with friends and family near is hard to beat, which is why the Dutch Oven Diva has made it her mission to share with others her talent for unconventional, outdoor cooking. Being an avid outdoors person since childhood, the Dutch Oven Diva has pursued her love of the great outdoors over the years through hiking, camping, and campfire cooking.

The Diva has also been a lifelong member of Girl Scouts, serving and teaching Girl Scouts outdoor skills. It was during her time teaching outdoor cooking to Girl Scouts that she discovered the Dutch oven. It didn’t take long for The Diva’s interest and talent to grow as she began to explore and master Dutch oven cooking.

Soon Tennessen began to get involved with Dutch oven gatherings and before she knew it, The Diva had become the face of the Midwest for Dutch oven cooking, serving in leadership positions for several Dutch oven societies. Tennessen also currently teaches classes focusing on Dutch oven cooking, outdoor skills, teamwork, and group facilitation.

The Dutch Oven Diva is a well-known star among Dutch oven circles and true queen of campfire cooking. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to witness firsthand the Diva in action at the 2015 National Maple Syrup Festival. Cooking alongside Tennessen will be fellow Dutch oven comrades, Steve Meneely and Tina Misicka.

In addition to Dutch oven cooking, festival guests will be also be able to experience the maple sap to syrup process at the Brown County State Park through live demonstrations of tree tapping and sugaring. Descendants of the Delaware and Shawnee will reenact how their ancestors made maple syrup on this land centuries ago, and nearby French Colonial reenactors will demonstrate how early settlers made it differently. Interpretive hikes will also begin at the Lower Shelter and will travel through the woods, where festival guests can see tapped trees, learn the tapping process, as well as learn to identify maple trees in the winter.

Several other activities and events will be occurring throughout the county and within the Village of Nashville as part of the National Maple Syrup Festival including a culinary competition, a dinner series, live sugaring demonstrations, a pancake breakfast, live music, children’s activities, the sale of maple-related goods and foods, and much more.

For more information on activities occurring in the Brown County State Park and elsewhere as part of the National Maple Syrup Festival, please visit and be sure to make plans to attend March 5-8.

Zoobilation Ticket Sales Begin Feb. 2, 2015

January 30, 2015 Leave a comment
Indianapolis Zoo

Indianapolis Zoo. staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Carla Knapp
Indianapolis Zoo

Tickets for Zoobilation 2015 On Sale Starting Feb. 2
City’s premier philanthropic event raised $2.1 million in 2014

INDIANAPOLIS — An Australian-inspired adventure awaits guests this summer at Indiana’s largest and most anticipated black-tie fundraiser, Zoobilation 2015 presented by Indianapolis Power & Light Company.   

Tickets go on sale beginning at 9am, Feb. 2, 2015, on the Indianapolis Zoo’s website, and the event typically sells out in mere days. Now in its 29th year, the Zoo will host the city’s premier philanthropic event from 7pm to midnight on June 12, 2015, with the Premium Experience presented by Ice Miller LLP starting at 5:30pm. The Zoo will be closed to the public that day in preparation for this unforgettable evening.

This year’s theme is Boomerang Bash, a bonzer (that’s first rate in Aussie terms) celebration marking the summer return of koalas, one of Australia’s most iconic animals. Nearly 5,000 blokes and sheilas will party Down Under style as the Zoo brings the best of the Outback to downtown Indianapolis.

Patrons will sample a diverse selection of tucker and grog (that’s slang for food and drinks) from 70 of Central Indiana’s best eateries, all vying for the coveted blue ribbon awards as well as the people’s choice award. In addition, party goers will sip on top-shelf cocktails, wines and other drinks served at 13 different bars, with beverages sponsored by Republic National Distributing Company of Indiana. The night will be filled with the sounds of live entertainment presented by Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, featuring nine of the top local acts on four stages.

The Premium Experience will offer a limited number of party goers early access to the event plus other exclusive benefits, including priority parking, an arrival gift, full access to the air-conditioned Oasis Lounge in the Dolphin Pavilion and more. Guests can then rage on at the official after-party from 11pm-2am at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.

Attire is black-tie and all guests must be 21 or older. General admission tickets are $250 for Zoo members (limit four) and $275 for non-members. Premium Experience tickets are $450 for Zoo members (limit four) and $475 for non-members. Prices increase $50 after March 1. Tickets are non-refundable.

Zoobilation attendees will experience the party of the year while also supporting the Zoo’s mission of advancing animal conservation. In 2014, this lavish event raised $2.1 million to help fund the care of more than 1,600 animals and 23,000 plants in the Zoo’s collection as well as the Zoo’s global conservation initiatives.

For more information, call 317-630-2001.

Valentine ideas from Indiana State Parks and Inns

January 30, 2015 Leave a comment
McCormick's Creek State Park in Owen County, Indiana.

McCormick’s Creek State Park in Owen County, Indiana. staff photo, (c) 2014, all rights reserved.

By Christie Sorrells
DNR Division, Indiana State Parks

Valentine ideas from Indiana State Parks and Inns

Let Indiana State Parks and Inns be your cupid this Valentine’s Day with gift ideas and lodging specials. offers gift cards for camping at Indiana State Parks and for  lodging at State Park Inns, annual park entrance passes, and more. Or, buy one of two GO! Pack specials that include an entrance permit, one-year subscription to Outdoor Indiana magazine, gift certificates and more at a discount. Use the coupon code VDAY to receive free shipping on all gift card orders placed between Feb. 1-15.

You can also donate $10 to plant a tree on an Indiana state forest as a symbol of your relationship. Information is at

Canyon Inn at McCormick’s Creek State Park (see related photo above), Clifty Inn at Clifty Falls State Park and Fort Harrison Inn at Fort Harrison State Park are offering Valentine’s Day packages for Saturday, Feb. 14, that include dinner and overnight accommodations. Prices range from $165 to $225 per couple. The Fort Harrison package includes chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of wine in your room.

Turkey Run Inn at Turkey Run State Park is offering a getaway available between Feb. 9 and 15. The deal includes dinner in an intimate setting, lodging, a bottle of wine, chocolates, breakfast and more.

Spring Mill Inn at Spring Mill State Park is offering a special for all of February, and several inns will be offering a 2-for-1 special through Feb. 26 (restrictions apply). Spring Mill Inn and Potawatomi Inn have extended their 2-for-1 special through March 31.

More information is at

For those who prefer a cabin, Shakamak State Park is offering a weeknight discount through Feb. 25. Those who reserve a cabin for one or more weeknights (Sundays through Wednesdays) will receive 25 percent off of their reserved weeknights at the time of booking (restrictions apply). Reservations can be booked at or by calling (866) 622-6746. Use the promo code “SHAKCABIN15.”

To view all DNR news releases, please see

2015 Summer Camps at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

January 24, 2015 Leave a comment
Indianapolis Museum of Art

The Indianapolis Museum of Art. staff photo, (c) 2012, all rights reserved.

By Stephanie Perry
Indianapolis Museum of Art

Warmer days ahead: IMA summer camp registration now open
Expanded offerings for 2015 includes camps in new places, opportunities for younger audiences 

Is your family dreaming of warm, sunny days amidst the winter chill? Get a jump start on your summer planning and choose from over 30 day camps offered at the Indianapolis Museum of Art from June 15 through July 24, 2015.

Summer camps are available Monday through Friday for children ages 4 to 13. With themes ranging from music and theater to pirates and dinosaurs, camps offer activities for every interest and hobby. Kids can play secret agent or superhero, archeologist or botanist, painter or astronaut. They can take a trek through the woods, start a band or create an artwork inspired by the IMA’s galleries.

The 2015 lineup features old favorites such as the popular Superheroes camp, complemented by new additions such as Villains camp. New for 2015, two camps will be offered in The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres for children ages 8 to 10. In Off the Beaten Path, budding scientists can examine insects under a microscope, meet a bee expert and check out the IMA’s man-made hives, build a bat house and more. In Our Backyard will feature nature-inspired art activities, photography sessions and the opportunity to create a new interactive play space within The Park. Many camps will feature visits from IMA employees, including curators, horticulturists and conservation scientists, along with special guests and experts from the community.

Other 2015 highlights include several camps inspired by the upcoming exhibition, Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas, opening at the Museum on May 3. In Fasten Your Seatbelts, campers with a need for speed can build miniature race tracks, create toy car sculptures and race Big Wheel® bicycles through paint to create colorful compositions.

For registration and a complete list of camp offerings, visit Registration can also be done by phone at 317-920-2679. IMA members receive special discounts on all camp offerings.

Martin Luther King Day 2015 in Downtown Indianapolis

January 18, 2015 Leave a comment
Indianapolis skyline

Indianapolis skyline. staff photo, (c) 2011, all rights reserved.

By Amanda Dorman
Downtown Indy, Inc.

Celebrate MLK Day Downtown

Many FREE events offered Jan. 19, plus Devour Downtown in full swing

Celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by taking advantage of special offerings in Downtown Indianapolis on the holiday. FREE admission to Downtown’s top attractions, appearances by local celebrities and more help make this year’s tribute to the iconic civil rights leader a fun, meaningful one for the family!

Don’t forget: metered parking Downtown is FREE on certain holidays, including MLK Jr. Day.

IUPUI’s Dr. Martin Luther King Day of Service

Hundreds of IUPUI students, faculty, staff, and community members will volunteer at community sites across Indy on Jan. 19 as a way to honor Dr. King’s commitment to service and social justice.

White River State Park: FREE admission to the following attractions with donation of one non-perishable food item per person, per attraction for Gleaner’s Food Bank.

The Children’s Museum: FREE admission from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Celebrate the life, achievements, and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with special activities, storytelling and performances by The Griot Drum Ensemble and Epiphany Dance Collective.

Indiana Historical Society: FREE admission from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Take part in the National Day of Service by packing care packages to benefit the Wheeler Mission from noon – 4 p.m. Visitors may also meet prominent Indianapolis physician Dr. Harvey Middleton in You Are There 1939: Healing Bodies, Changing Minds, as well as attend a discussion highlighting collection items documenting Indianapolis’ African-American communities. Enjoy FREE admission to Indiana Experience.

Indianapolis Museum of Art: FREE admission to Speaking of Love from 2 – 5 p.m.

Hear Indianapolis writers, poets, singers and artists speaking of love in the galleries as we remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of speaking truth and love to powers that sought to divide humanity based on fear and prejudices. Participate in a social art experiment and bring letters or notes that comfort, encourage, uplift, compliment or motivate and give them to people you don’t know.

Rhythm! Discovery Center: FREE admission from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Enjoy a special presentation with the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation about Indianapolis’ jazz tradition and Indiana Avenue.

Devour Downtown Winterfest kicks off

“Open wide” for Devour Downtown, launching on MLK Day and running through Feb. 1. Participating Devour Downtown restaurants will offer guests pre-fixe menus ranging from $10 – $35 while showcasing specialty dishes and highlighting popular items. Several lunch and dinner menus are two for $30. New participants this year include: Burgerhaus, Spoke & Steele, Chilly Water Brewing Company, Tow Yard Brewing Company and more. Several Downtown venues will offer special discounts during Devour Downtown, including: NCAA Hall of Champions, Rhythm Discovery Center, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana Historical Society and Theatre on the Square.

Harlem Globetrotters

The iconic Harlem Globetrotters are coming to town beginning Jan. 19 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Ever seen a 4-point shot in basketball? You just might.

For more information, visit, or call 317-237-2222.