Wolf Park docent, Caity, started howling, wolf-style. One by one, Bicho, Fiona, and Kanti tilted their snouts skyward and joined the howl. A few moments later we heard more howling in the distance. This was our greeting to Howl Night at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana. Read more
Last summer my granddaughter and I visited the Saint Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri. Zoo admission is free. However, we opted for the Adventure Pass, which gets you into six attractions that aren’t included in the free admission. The Adventure Pass is well worth the $12.95 fee, which is less than admission at other major zoos. We had planned to spend only the morning at the zoo. But with all that the Adventure Pass offers, we ended up staying all day. Read more
Over 20 years ago we visited Conner Prairie, an outdoor history museum in Fishers, Indiana. I remember the 1836 Prairietown, where costumed interpreters stay in character. I remember the William Conner House, home of the early 1800s trader, entrepreneur, and politician. And I remember getting to hold a lamb as we watched sheep being sheared.
Fast forward to 2017 and our second Conner Prairie visit. What a change! The 1836 Prairietown and William Conner House are still there, but they’ve added so much more. We experienced a balloon voyage, which lifted us to heights higher than the Statue of Liberty. We climbed a four-story treehouse in the woods. And we found ourselves in the midst of the Civil War, Disneyesque style.
This first article in a series about Conner Prairie introduces you to William Conner, his two very different lifestyles, and his home on the prairie.
A sense of serenity came over me as I strolled the paths of Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois. Walking through landscapes of meticulously manicured trees and flowing water, relaxation replaced my stress. What is it about a Japanese garden that differs from other gardens? Why does it feel tranquil? It’s because each element—every rock, every plant, every pond— is carefully placed to inspire calm and renewal.
I’ve felt that that sense of tranquility in every Japanese garden I’ve visited. However, it was intensified at Anderson Japanese Gardens because of the garden’s size and extensive use of water. The garden’s twelve acres includes two large ponds, a creek that winds through the property, and a tall waterfall.
A tornado swept through Kokomo, Indiana, just days before our visit. Sadly, the tornado destroyed homes. It leveled a Starbucks. It uprooted towering trees in Highland Park. Fortunately, it didn’t touch Old Ben’s home. Old Ben, the World’s largest steer, as well as a giant sycamore stump, are on display behind glass in the Highland Park visitor’s center. Read more
I went to my first state fair in 2015. I had been to county fairs many times but had never gotten around to going to the larger Illinois State Fair—or for that matter, any other state fair. I knew the gist of what to expect—farm animals, carnival rides, entertainment and such. What surprised me was the size of the fair. There was so much to see and do. We spent two days at the fair and didn’t get a chance to see everything. Here is a list of 25 things to do at the Illinois State Fair, and it is not all-encompassing. Read more
In 1933, during the height of the Great Depression, Milton S. Hershey opened the opulent Hershey Theatre in Hershey, Pennsylania. Hershey wanted the theater to rival any Broadway theater. He designed the grand lobby to resemble a Greek temple and the auditorium to simulate an outdoor Venetian scene. The beautifully preserved theater continues to be a popular entertainment venue today. Read more
I grew up in Illinois just over the border from Northwest Indiana. Although I no longer live in that immediate area, I have lots of friends and family who do. Over the years I’ve heard talk about Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Indiana. I assumed it was just a small-town festival, no big deal—until I finally went to Pierogi Fest. What a hoot! Read more
It’s fair time! Counties across the country celebrate agriculture in late summer, typically in July and August. We try to go to at least one county fair each year. Last year, we stopped at the Elkhart County Fair in Goshen, Indiana, during our visit to the area. The Elkhart County Fair is Indiana’s largest county fair and one of the largest in the United States. This well-attended fair drew over 183,000 people in 2016. Read more
We found a zip line that’s ideal for beginners, children, and the faint of heart. You wear no helmet or harness. You don’t sign a waiver acknowledging you can be killed. And it costs only five dollars to ride. The Soaring Eagle Zip Line in Mooresville, Indiana’s Pioneer Park is truly family friendly. Read more