Last Saturday we took a trip to Conner Prairie, it is about a two hour drive away and located on the north-east side of Indianapolis. My last visit to Conner Prairie was about twenty years ago, it was very enjoyable and I was excited to go again. I have to say it was a pretty disappointing visit this time around. We were blessed with beautiful weather so that was a plus, pretty much the only plus. The price of admission was quite expensive, and probably should be reduced while Covid 19 restrictions are in place.
A nice playground was added at some point since my last visit and the boys enjoyed burning off some energy after being cooped up in the car for a while. An added attraction was a giant tethered hot air balloon, it looked like fun if you liked heights, but I was unsure what it had to do with the early 1800's and seemed more of a way to extract money from visitors.
We toured the Conner farm house, built in 1823, due to Covid we were unable to go upstairs and could only peek through the doorway of each of the two rooms downstairs. We meandered on to Prairie Town, a representation of a small community in 1836, again most of the buildings were either roped off so we could only peek through a doorway, or closed. There were very few "in character" people wandering around.
The Animal Encounter was a joke! We had to wait in a socially distanced queue and finally were allowed into the barn, to see a geriatric goat, a goat kid, and a crate of chicks placed so far away from where we were allowed to stand we really couldn't see them. I believe the people working were embarrassed by the lack of animals and apologized and said there are some sheep but they were at the Vet that day getting a check up.
Our trek continued to the Tree Top Trail, another trendy feature added to "enhance" the visit, again I asked myself what on earth does this giant tree house, jungle gym have to do with the telling of life in 1800's Indiana.
Then over the covered bridge, this was the Civil War exhibit and it consisted of a few banners with brief statements about the Civil War and then on the other side of the bridge we "arrived" into the late 1800's, one building was open so we could peek through a door, and the very large, grand, Victorian farm house was closed.
I really feel the price of admission, $57 for myself and three boys, was a rip off. Surely over Labor Day weekend a full staff should be on hand, exhibits open, and plenty of animals to encounter. The whole experience was really rather lame and certainly not worth the four hour round trip of driving and the cost of admission. I surely hope Covid restrictions are to blame for the poor visitor experience and that this is not "business as usual" for Conner Prairie.