When Cathy Ferree drives into work each morning – she looks for the giant red helium balloon floating above Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. “Oh good, we’re flying today” says Ferree who is Vice President of Education at the Fishers, Indiana attraction.
That balloon is my first stop once inside the more than 800 acre property. As it rises up into the air 370 feet you enjoy a wonderful view of about 200 acres that’s been developed into interactive history zones. From high above, you can see everything from an 1836 Prairietown to an 1863 Civil War experience.
The goal of Conner Prairie is to not only get kids excited about history but to also get them outside and away from their gadgets and video games. But more than teaching – it’s about thinking. Thinking about what life was like before electricity, phones and television.
“There are a lot of ‘ah ha’ moments at Conner Prairie” says Ferree. Kids here discover what many of us have always known – being outside is usually a lot more fun. Learning about history through interactive exhibits on this scale is also more likely to sink in than just learning from a history book.
Conner Prairie wants to get families talking and start conversations about history. If you visit the park’s Prarietown area – kids will pick a job as part of the experience. The staff often jokes that parents are amazed at the chores kids will do at Conner Prairie that they won’t do at home.
60,000 school kids make their way to the park each year and are able to live out things like the Civil War and gain a new perspective for those historic moments and time periods.
Listen to my Bill On The Road interview (from inside the helium balloon) with Vice President Of Education Cathy Ferree about all of the fun stuff available for visitors to see and do at Conner Prairie.
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For more information about Conner Prairie Interactive History Park – visit: www.connerprairie.org