By Dan Domsic
Conner Prairie Interactive History Park opened to the public last week, and with the opening came two new features that can be accessed with general admission.
One new feature, the Nature Walk, gives patrons a bigger look at the actual land the park inhabits.
According to Gail Brown, program developer at Conner Prairie, the Smithsonian Affiliate has more than 800 acres worth of land on the property, but only about 200 are in use.
“We really wanted to try to find a way to let people explore some of these other spaces because we have such great habitat(s) and beautiful scenery around the park,” Brown said.
The Nature Walk also will tie in how humans have impacted Conner Prairie’s environment, as well as how people use and view nature around them, Brown said.
The trail is .64 miles long, roundtrip. Brown said further expansion is a possibility, but nothing is planned yet. The Nature Walk will serve as a test of that concept.
This spring’s second new feature is Create.Connect.
It’s geared toward kids ages 8 to 13.
“We’ve been working with the Science Museum of Minnesota to create this very hands-on, kind of creative, space that’s going to combine science and history,” Brown said.
Create.Connect focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, allowing guests to “put the hat of an engineer on,” according to Brown.
Three components, wind power, rural electrification and forces in motion, make up the overall experience.
Wind power features a more than 100-year-old Hoosier-made windmill, with participants making their own miniature windmill.
Rural electrification features experimenting by building circuits with components like switches and LEDs.
Lastly, Conner Prairie partnered with Purdue University and its Rube Goldberg Machine Contest for forces in motion, where visitors construct their own Rube Goldberg device that accomplishes a simple task with multiple steps.
Conner Prairie is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Sunday. The hours for the rest this month are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
For more information on admission prices and opening week at Conner Prairie, visit www.connerprairie.org.