Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Indianapolis, Day 2

On Sunday, July 10, we headed out to Connor Prairie.  This is a cool "living museum" because it has several different historical periods within the grounds.  The first stop though was the balloon ride.
Now, it is a tethered balloon, but it does go 350ft high, and it's not so tethered that you feel anchored, if you know what I mean!  I've always wanted to go in a hot air balloon (went in a tethered one before, but it went up maybe 100ft).  I was WAY more nervous than I thought I'd be!
This is where they have "Symphony on the Prairie" performances.  Lou and her first husband brought us here in 2003 and it was wonderful.
This view shows about 3/5 of the areas to explore.  We didn't get out to the Civil War section way at the top.

This is a view looking straight down into the balloon winch.  The circular roof covers a promenade with displays, and the larger portion to the left is the snack bar, and leads to the outdoor areas.  There's also a large indoor exploration exhibit.
Another view of the bandshell.
Similar to the earlier view, this one also shows a bit of the Indian trading village, and the dirt patch in the lower middle is the tomahawk throwing zone!
Coming in for a landing.  There are many wheels on the bottom of the circular gondola, and the dark brown area slopes towards towards the middle which is cone shaped.  So the balloon always rolls right into position.  There is a bit of a bump though when you get up in the air and the winch stops!

The rest of the afternoon we walked around the buildings.  The Indian/Frontier Trading Post was the most interesting for the kids (and the first area we explored).  Of great delight was the tomahawk throwing instruction.

 Even the 5 year olds got to try!  Aunt Lou was the only one to sink the tomahawk into the target!
 There was a display of skins that were used in trading times.  I could name them all!  From top:  deer, raccoon, otter, beaver (missing his tail).
The last skin is a bobcat (smaller than a lynx which it's often confused with).
This is a "blue shirted staff" that provides an educational link between the modern world and the exhibits.  He was demonstrating the various tools used in starting fires.  It was fun just to listen to his slow, almost-Southern drawl.  And the kids were fascinated.  In the background, you can see a young man.  Later, he taught the kids some frontier times games, which they also enjoyed.  We weren't really aware yet that the people in costume could not "get out" of their time period/position.  Made for some frustrating questions and answers sometimes!

We had a somewhat quiet night as we tried to get the kids to bed early so they could start camp the next day.

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