Archive

Archive for the ‘state parks’ Category

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.

DNR Camping Discounts at Boat Sport & Travel Show

February 21, 2015 Leave a comment
Spring Mill State Park.

Spring Mill State Park in Lawrence County. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2012, all rights reserved.

By Christie Sorrells
Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Visitors to the Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show can receive a promo code for 15 percent off camping reservations at Indiana State Parks during weeknights in May 2015 (such as Spring Mill State Park in Lawrence County, pictured above).

The promo code will be made available only at the DNR booth at the Boat, Sport and Travel Show, Feb. 20 through March 1, 2015.

The discount applies to all State Parks campgrounds and DNR Division of Forestry campgrounds at Deam Lake, Greene-Sullivan State Forest and Starve-Hollow State Recreation Area. The offer is not valid on walk-ins. Weeknights are Sundays through Wednesdays.

Reservations can be booked at camp.IN.gov or by calling (866) 622-6746. Reservations must be booked and used by May 20, 2015.

Visitors to the show also can buy 2015 fishing and hunting licenses and other permits; camping gift cards in $25, $50 and $100 denominations; and other DNR offerings. Visitors can also pick up the 2015 DNR Recreation Guide and 2015 DNR Fishing Guide for free.

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. AroundIndy.com 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 nationalmaplesyrupfestival.com and be sure to make plans to attend March 5-8.

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. AroundIndy.com 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.

InnsGifts.com 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 TheIndianaTreeProject.org.

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 IndianaInns.com.

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 camp.IN.gov or by calling (866) 622-6746. Use the promo code “SHAKCABIN15.”

To view all DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov.