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Conner Scairie at Conner Prairie Opens Oct. 9, 2015

October 4, 2015 Leave a comment
Conner Prairie Headless Horseman

ABOVE: Headless Horseman at Conner Prairie. Photo provided by Conner Prairie and used with written permission.

By Duane Brodt
Conner Prairie Interactive History Park

Conner Prairie transforms into Conner Scairie next week for 11 days of Headless Horseman, a fall family tradition in central Indiana. And this year, guests can help Conner Prairie set a world record.

The 32nd year of Headless Horseman begins Oct. 9, 2015. Conner Scairie will be a haunted land inhabited by fun-loving ghouls Beautisha, a cosmetics-loving witch; underworld expert and stand-up comedian wannabe Dr. Acula; mad scientist Ed and assistant Esmeralda; magic storyteller Holly Ween; and the Headless Horseman roaming the land.

Guests of all ages are encouraged to attend in family friendly costumes. Each night, Disney’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” will be shown at Lenape Indian Camp. The story will also be shared through nightly marionette shows. Magic shows, storytelling, face painting, ghostly vortexes, fortune telling, music and more are offered each night.

And guests are asked to visit a new craft area each night of Headless Horseman and help ghouls create 6,000 origami bats. Once that feat is achieved and verified, Conner Prairie will be eligible to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The Apple Store at Conner Prairie has extended hours each night of Headless Horseman. The store will serve up its popular gourmet caramel apples plus fresh cider slushies, popcorn, rice crispy treats and more until 9 p.m. each night.

And Headless Horseman guests can take in the fall sights and Conner Scairie from above as the 1859 Balloon Voyage exhibit will be open each night, weather permitting.

Sponsored by Reynolds, Goodwill, Marsh Supermarkets and Fishers Family Dentistry, Headless Horseman runs from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 9-11, 15-18 and 22-25. Activities and hayrides may run past 10 p.m. Tickets on Thursday and Sundays are $10 in advance, $12 at the gate and free for Conner Prairie members. Tickets for Fridays and Saturdays are $14 in advance, $16 at the gate and free for Plus Level members.

Advance sale tickets are available at select central Indiana Marsh and O’Malia’s locations: http://bit.ly/1KQGMnv.

Conner Prairie members can take advantage of a host of Headless Horseman perks, including free admission and an Express Pass to ride the hayride. For a list of perks, visit http://bit.ly/1KVFINb. Guests may sign up to become a Conner Prairie member at the entrance of Headless Horseman.

Spanning 850 wooded acres in central Indiana, Conner Prairie welcomes more than 360,000 visitors of all ages annually. As Indiana’s only Smithsonian Institute affiliate, Conner Prairie offers various outdoor, historically themed destinations and indoor experiential learning spaces that combine history and art with science, technology, engineering and math to offer an authentic look into history that shapes society today.

A Great Day at the Indianapolis Zoo

June 27, 2015 Leave a comment
Indianapolis Zoo.

Indianapolis Zoo in White River State Park.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

By Bob Burchfield, Editor
AroundIndy.com, LLC

It’s easy to dream about taking a trip to the beach or the mountains or some special place that’s captured in your imagination, but we often overlook the obvious gems right under our noses.

You don’t have to travel all over the country or the world to have a good time. Indianapolis is living proof of that. And one of those gems is the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens.

In the course of covering Indianapolis events, I drive by the zoo almost every week. But I haven’t been inside the zoo in nearly five years. I discovered this week that a LOT has changed since the last time I visited.

With its entertainment and rides, dining options, special exhibits, and all those animals, the Indianapolis Zoo is among the best attractions in Indiana. The Oceans, Forests, Deserts, Plains, and Flights of Fancy areas—in addition to White River Gardens—offer visitors a wide variety of viewing and interactive activities and a full day of fun.

Bath Time at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Bath Time at the Indianapolis Zoo.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

My personal favorites during this visit were the elephants in the Plains area. I found two active youngsters in the pond just swimming and splashing and having a good time and putting on a real show for the spectators (see photo above). Simple enjoyment at its best! I also enjoyed getting up close and personal with the giraffes (as the photo below reveals!).

Up close and personal with the giraffes at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Up close and personal with the giraffes at the Indianapolis Zoo.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

That’s not to overlook or overshadow the other activities at the zoo. Each day from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the zoo offers a regular summer schedule with special chats at designated hours of the day, such as Tiger, Cheetah, Parrot, Baboon, Python, and Meerkat Chats, plus the Dolphin Presentations three times a day in the Dolphin Pavilion and the All-Star Dog Challenge four times a day most days of the week.

Butterflies Exhibit at White River Gardens.

Butterflies Exhibit at White River Gardens.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

Two notable temporary exhibits—the Butterflies exhibit at the Hilbert Conservatory (see photo above) and the Koalas exhibit in the Forests area (see photo below)—both end on Sept. 7, 2015.

Koala action (?) at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Koala action (?) at the Indianapolis Zoo.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

But the biggest noticeable change since my last visit is the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center in the Deserts area, an imposing structure with a cathedral-style architecture. The entrance almost made me feel like I was entering a church! And you can get up within inches of the orangutans (as well as many of the other animals, on the other side of the glass, of course). Fascinating creatures!

Hire wire act at the Indianapolis Zoo Orangutan Center.

High wire act at the Indianapolis Zoo Orangutan Center.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

As my photos reveal, many of the animals are as curious about you as you are of them. It makes for an interesting and visually-appealing experience, and is certainly a photographer’s delight! I had a bear-y good time [grin]:

A bear-y good time at the Indianapolis Zoo.

A bear-y good time at the Indianapolis Zoo.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

On a side note, I was wheeling my camera equipment around in a sizable cart, and so I’m happy to report that the grounds are fully wheelchair- and handicap-accessible.

There’s so much more than I’ve covered here in a short blog post. When you throw in special events like Zoobilation, Zoolapalooza, Animals and All That Jazz, ZooBoo, Christmas at the Zoo, and all the other special events each year, the zoo is definitely worth a visit if you haven’t been lately!

Flamingo Exhibit in the Flights of Fancy area at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Flamingo Exhibit in the Flights of Fancy area at the Indianapolis Zoo.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

The Indianapolis Zoo is located in White River State Park at 1200 West Washington Street, just on the west side of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, and is open daily beginning at 9 am.

For more information, visit http://indianapoliszoo.com/, or call 317-630-2001.

DISCLOSURE NOTICE: The Indianapolis Zoo provided a free media pass and tour guide for this visit. Thank you for the hospitality! Please note that these photos were taken from the general visitor areas that any zoo visitor can access.

Kombo Coaster in the Deserts Area at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Kombo Coaster in the Deserts Area at the Indianapolis Zoo.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

Riding the Zoo Train in the Plains Area at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Riding the Zoo Train in the Plains Area at the Indianapolis Zoo.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2015, all rights reserved.

36th Zoopolis 500 at the Indianapolis Zoo, May 20, 2015

Indianapolis Zoo

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

By Carla Knapp
Indianapolis Zoo

Ready. Set. Slow! The 36th running of Zoopolis 500 presented by the American Dairy Association Indiana is May 20, 2015, at the Indianapolis Zoo, 1200 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Considered the “Greatest Spectacle in Tortoise Racing,” this event is one of the Zoo’s most popular and longest running traditions.

Zoopolis 500 puts a unique twist on the Indianapolis 500 and regularly draws thousands of local fans and national media attention.

This beloved event features the “racing” radiated tortoises as well as 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, who will serve as the honorary race steward, and former Indianapolis Motor Speedway chief announcer Mike King, who will call all the Zoopolis action.

Race-day activities begin at 10:30am at the Entry Plaza where guests can meet the 500 Festival Princesses and get pictures with a 500 Festival Pace Car.

Guests can also get a chug of Dean’s milk (while supplies last), meet Zoo mascots and pose for photos with a winner’s wreath.

Pre-race analysis then begins at 11am at Dean’s Arena as King and Kanaan take center stage along with Zookeeper Jon Pilarski, who will share some expert insights before the main event.

The parade around Dean’s Arena begins at 11:30am and also includes 500 Festival Princesses, the Dairy Princess, American Dairy Association mascot Buttercup and the racing tortoises.

Following the parade, Kanaan will drop the green flag on the feature race and guests can cheer for their favorite tortoise as they “speed” toward the finish line and a tray of delicious fruits waiting in the winner’s circle.

At the finish line, the winning “pit crew” will enjoy icy cold bottles of milk, provided by the American Dairy Association Indiana.

Following the race, guests are invited to meet the winning tortoise and his crew — Zookeepers who can answer tortoise-related questions and tell guests all about the Zoo’s efforts to help these critically endangered animals.

Zoopolis 500 activities are free for Zoo members and included with regular admission. Guests are encouraged to save time and money by planning their visit in advance at http://indianapoliszoo.com/. For more information, call 317-630-2001.

Martin Luther King Day 2015 in Downtown Indianapolis

January 18, 2015 Leave a comment
Indianapolis skyline

Indianapolis skyline. AroundIndy.com 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 http://downtownindy.org/, or call 317-237-2222.

Things to do in Indianapolis, Aug. 11-17, 2014

August 10, 2014 Leave a comment
Madison Ribberfest

Madison Ribberfest, Aug. 15-16.
AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

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15 Public Events in Indianapolis and Indiana
VERIFY ALL EVENT LISTINGS TO BE CERTAIN THEY WILL BE HELD AS SCHEDULED

  1. THU-SUN: Gen Con Gaming Convention at the Indiana Convention Center
  2. MON-SUN: 158th Indiana State Fair at the State Fairgrounds
  3. THU-SUN: 10th Annual Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival in Indianapolis
  4. SUN: 5th Annual Dig In, A Taste of Indiana at White River State Park
  5. WED-SUN: LPGA Legends Championship at the French Lick Resort
  6. FRI-SAT: 10th Annual SausageFest at St. Thomas Aquinas Church
  7. THU-SAT: ‘City of Forking Paths’ at the Indiana Convention Center
  8. SAT: Miranda Lambert in Concert at Klipsch Music Center
  9. FRI-SUN: Elwood Glass Festival in Madison County
  10. FRI-SAT: Madison Ribberfest BBQ and Blues in Jefferson County
  11. MON-WED: Indianapolis Colts Training Camp at Anderson University
  12. THU-SUN: Greensburg ‘Power of the Past’ at the Decatur County Fairgrounds
  13. SAT: 6th Annual WAMMfest at Craig Park in Greenwood
  14. THU, SAT: Indiana Fever WNBA Basketball at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  15. FRI-SAT: Symphony on the Prairie at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park

To see thousands of upcoming event listings and things to do in Indianapolis and Indiana, visit our main Web site at http://aroundindy.com/, or visit our Mobile Web site on your smartphone or tablet PC at http://aroundindy.com/mobile. Thank you for making AroundIndy.com your #1 source for things to do around Indy!