ABBA… A Prairie Home Companion?

A beautiful evening, well-behaved kiddos, and a chance to try something new: It was the perfect formula last Saturday for a family outing to Symphony On The Prairie.

Quick side note: My husband and I exchanged glances in the car about the starring act for the night – An ABBA tribute band. We’re classic and alt rock music fans but always try to keep an open mind. I did afterall find my toes tapping to Mamma Mia, the musical.

We were pleasantly surprised upon arrival to discover Conner Prairie has a few tractor parking-lot-to-prairie shuttles. HUGE deal for a mom of children whose legs sometimes can’t trek 1 block because they’re ‘too tired’, ‘walked soooooooo far already’ or simply ‘don’t work.’ {Moms of children under age 10, I know you feel me.}

Camping chairs in hand, we headed inside and found seats on the lawn. Since we arrived late, the hills surrounding the concert shell were packed but I liked our spot: Close to the bathrooms, around the corner from the Dippin Dots stand and next to the exit for a smooth getaway. Sure the stage was a hike, but we were here to listen to music and the extra space gave the kids room to play.

The band entered the scene and the concert was off. “Now why is the series called Symphony On The Prairie yet tonight is a cover band?” husband questioned. I made a mental note to check into that later. From the schedule, it seems the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra only performs at a handful of shows.

Looking around, I realized that all families really are able to customize their Symphony On The Prairie experience: Some brought coolers with dinner inside. Some set up citronella candles to keep bugs away. Some – us included – had a picnic blanket for the kids to lie on and color while parents enjoyed the music. But it is truly a beautiful setting for any kind of concert; ABBA tribute band included.

Before long, the munchkins were up and using our picnic area for their inner Dancing Queens, with the 1859 Balloon Voyage ride lifting off behind them in the background. And yes, my toes were tapping too.

We snuck out early as the 8pm concert start also meant pushing bedtime closer to 10pm. The melody of Dancing Queen followed us all the way back to our car.

“Can we do that again?” asked 6 year old before dozing off in his carseat. Now I call that a successful outing.

MORE INFORMATION: Summer may be almost over but the Marsh Symphony On The Prairie still has 3 shows left: The Beach Boys {8/22-8/24}, The Hit Men: Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons {8/28-8/29} and Preservation Hall Jazz Band {8/30-8/31}. Tickets range from $12-$13 for children and $23-$28 for adults. Visit for more details and to plan your own visit.

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Indy's Child
Indy's Child
For 40 years, Indy's Child has been the trusted source for Indianapolis families seeking fun, educational, and enriching experiences. Our award-winning magazine and website are dedicated to providing expert advice, insider tips, and up-to-date information on everything from the best local attractions and events to parenting resources and support. As local experts deeply rooted in the central Indiana community, our passionate team at Indy's Child is dedicated to uncovering the best family-friendly experiences and resources our city has to offer. Whether you're new to parenting or looking for new ideas, Indy's Child is here to help you enjoy the adventure of raising a family in central Indiana.

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