Conner Prairie: Your Ultimate Guide to This Must-See Living History Museum

Combining history and science, Conner Prairie delivers a unique experience, allowing visitors to explore Indiana’s rich past. This museum has many interactive exhibits, both indoors and outdoors, where visitors can learn about Indiana’s history through activities. The fun activities include meeting characters in costumes, watching historical scenes, and playing in the Treetop Outpost area.

A trip to Conner Prairie is a great chance to learn about Indiana’s history in a fun way.

5 Reasons We Keep Going Back to Conner Prairie (and Why You Should Too!)

  1. Live and Breathe History: It’s not just seeing the meticulously recreated 1836 Prairietown that takes your breath away. It’s the feeling of being transported back in time. The townspeople, fully immersed in their roles, draw you into their world with every conversation and interaction. You’ll find yourself eavesdropping on gossip, witnessing daily chores, and maybe even getting caught up in a historical debate.

    Prairietown residents talking at the Golden Eagle Inn.
    Prairietown residents talking at the Golden Eagle Inn.
  2. Discover Hidden Trails: Don’t let the “museum” label fool you. Conner Prairie is a sprawling outdoor wonderland, perfect for a nature escape. Follow winding paths through the woods, discover secret clearings, and let the kids run free in the wide open spaces. Even on the busiest days, there are quiet pockets waiting to be discovered.
  3. Brave the Headless Horseman (If You Dare): The annual Headless Horseman festival is more than just a ride – it’s a thrilling experience that evolves with the setting sun. Start early for family-friendly fun, and stay later if you crave a good scare. Trust us, it’s worth the wait in line to witness this spectacle at least once!
  4. Never Stop Learning: Every corner of Conner Prairie offers a chance to try something new. Stumble upon a blacksmithing demonstration, learn to tie knots like an explorer, marvel at the skill of sheep shearing, or even help feed the pigs lunch. The hands-on activities change constantly, so each visit is a fresh adventure.

    Feeding pigs at conner prairie
    A guest assists a 1836 resident in the daily task of feeding the pigs.
  5. Unleash Creativity at Discovery Station (temporarily closed): This indoor playground is a hit year-round but especially shines during the colder months. Let the kids’ imaginations soar in the fort-building zone or pretend play village. The crafting area is a treasure trove of materials, sparking endless creative possibilities. Trust us, even the most reluctant crafters will find their muse here.

Conner Prairie is more than a museum; it’s an immersive experience that captivates all ages. Keep reading below to learn more about all the amazing activities and experiences Conner Prairie offers.

Conner Prairie

What is there to do at Conner Prairie?

Conner Prairie is far more than just a museum; it’s a place where history comes to life. Whether through candlelit dinners that transport you to the winter of times past, summer beer tastings that regale you with historic brews, or the chilling Headless Horseman festival in the fall, there’s always something new to discover. The museum also offers a range of classes, workshops, and special events, all designed to engage the mind and spark curiosity.

Explore the Great Outdoors

  • 1836 Prairietown: Step back in time and experience life in central Indiana in 1836. Interact with the townsfolk, learn about their daily lives, and immerse yourself in the history of the era.
1836 Prairietown Conner Prairie
1836 Prairietown
  • Animal Encounters: Visit the barn for a chance to meet and pet farm animals while learning from the specialists who care for them year-round. It’s a perfect opportunity for kids to connect with nature.
  • Treetop Outpost: Climb a 4-story treehouse and engage in activities aimed at connecting with nature while disconnecting from technology. It’s a fun way for guests of all ages to explore and play.Treetop outpost
  • 1859 Balloon Voyage: Experience Indiana from 370 feet above ground in a hot air balloon. Note that this adventure depends on good weather and requires an additional ticket.

Step Into History

  • 1863 Civil War Journey: Immerse yourself in the life of a town affected by the Civil War through interactive exhibits that educate and inspire.
  • River Crossing: Cool down in the summer at this Civil War-themed splash area, complete with a steamboat and water cannons for kids to enjoy.
    River Crossing at conner prairie
    River Crossing
  • William Conner House: Explore one of Indiana’s oldest brick homes and learn about pioneer life through interactive displays that evoke the pioneer spirit.

    William Conner House
    William Conner House

Inside Adventures

  • Discovery Station and Craft Corner: A haven for children aged 0-9, this indoor area offers countless opportunities for creative play, from fort-building to crafts and more.
    Discovery Station
    Discovery Station
  • Spark!Lab: Families can get creative together, solving problems and engaging in activities that foster essential skills for both today and the future.

The Apple Store

The Apple Store is a fundraiser for Conner Prairie Alliance, helping support their mission and programs. Since opening its doors in 1985, the store has managed to raise over $1 million from sales. These funds have greatly helped in supporting the institution’s ongoing operations.

The Apple Store is typically open from mid-September through the end of October. In 2021, the Apple Store sold 14,275 caramel apples and served 5,636 people in a 6-week period!

Carmel Apples from Conner Prairie's Apple Store
Apple Store at Conner Prairie

Conner Prairie’s Annual Events:

The Headless Horseman

Every October, Conner Prairie has the Headless Horseman Festival with exciting activities, shows, and spooky family fun. Guests can ride on a spooky hayride through the eerie Prairie grounds and meet the famous Headless Horseman.

Additionally, guests can embrace an exciting journey down the eerie tubing hill for an added thrill. If curiosity tempts you, unveiling the mysteries of the future is possible with our fortune teller. At the festival, classic games fill the air with merriment, and the little ones can enjoy a delightful ride on the barrel train.

  • 2024 Dates: They will hold the Headless Horseman festival on Thursdays through Sundays from October 3 – 27, 2024. This special event takes place after standard hours from 6-10 pm.

Headless Horseman Festival

A Merry Prairie Holiday Festival

A Merry Prairie Holiday, held every holiday season, brings the holiday spirit to life. This tradition turns the Prairie into a winter wonderland with lights and countless opportunities to step back in history.

  • 2024 Dates: November 27 and 29, 2024 and December 1 – 22, 2024
A Merry Prairie Holiday Festival
A Merry Prairie Holiday Festival

Symphony on the Prairie

Symphony on the Prairie is a 40+ year tradition that takes space each summer at Conner Prairie Amphitheater. The lineup includes everything from classical symphony to rock and roll classics performed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Guests can also pack a picnic and enjoy the music from the lawn. Or opt for table service with a bartender and a catered meal.

2024 Dates: June 28-Aug. 1, 2024

Symphony on the Prairie
Symphony on the Prairie

Jupiter Flights Balloon Festival

Every September, the skies above Fishers become a technicolor spectacle during the Jupiter Flights Balloon Festival. Indiana’s biggest hot air balloon event offers many activities for everyone to enjoy over several days.

Additionally, guests can enjoy live music, entertaining games, and delicious food, perfectly complementing the visual feast.

  • 2024 Dates: September 6 – 8, 2024

Jupiter Flights Balloon Festival at Conner Prairie

Where is Conner Prairie Located?

Conner Prairie is in Fisher, Indiana, at 13400 Allisonville Rd, Fishers, IN 46038.

Hours:

Conner Prairie’s standard hours are Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm. Go to connerprairie.org to buy tickets.  

Free Days at Conner Prairie

Below are the currently known free museum days for 2024. As we find out more, we will continue to update this page.

Indiana Access Pass

Conner Prairie partners with local attractions to bring family fun to more Indiana families. Families with Indiana Access Pass pay $2 per person per visit. Children under age two always receive free admission.

 

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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