Saint Louis Zoo Adventure Pass Well Worth the Fee

Saint Louis Zoo Adventure Pass Well Worth the Fee

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

Conner Prairie Experience: William Conner House

Conner Prairie Experience: William Conner House

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.
Read more

A Stroll Through Anderson Japanese Gardens

A Stroll Through Anderson Japanese Gardens

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.
Read more

World’s Largest Steer and Giant Sycamore Stump

World’s Largest Steer and Giant Sycamore Stump

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