Conner Prairie expands outdoor experiences to bring out visitors’ wild side


By Jessica Hoover

Conner Prairie recently unveiled a new nature experience called Fort Hoosier. (Submitted photo)

Conner Prairie recently unveiled a new nature experience made for families to unleash their wild side, according to Vice President and Chief Programs Officer Richard Cooper. The new experience, called Fort Hoosier, is a 1,000-square-foot addition to Treetop Outpost, a four-story treehouse in the middle of the museum’s Nature Walk.

Features of Fort Hoosier include climbing walls, a cargo net, passageways, tunnels, balance beams, a fountain, air cannons and more. There are interactive activities such as a pulley and bucket to transport items and a signal lamp to send Morse code messages between Fort Hoosier and Treetop Outpost. A new slide will be added to the fort by the end of April.

Cooper said Fort Hoosier is open for visitors of all ages and that the feedback so far has been positive from adults and children. Conner Prairie will add different activities and programming for Fort Hoosier throughout the year. Activities could include puppet-making, storytelling, playing music, having naturalists come in to speak and having Conner Prairie interpreters at the fort.

Other spaces coming soon to Conner Prairie are the White River Overlook and the Nature Amphitheater Stage. Cooper said the White River Overlook will offer a view of the river that runs through the museum, and it will display signage of the history and ecology of the river. The Nature Amphitheater Stage is a 50-seat outdoor venue that will host performances, nature chats, storytelling, puppeteering and more. Both outdoor experiences will be open to the public by the end of April.

“At Conner Prairie, our mission is to inspire curiosity and foster learning of Indiana’s past through individualized experiences, and I think all of these spaces are helping us bring our mission to life,” Cooper said.

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