Every year, with the onset of the open season, we get a chance to experience Conner Prairie through the eyes of our newest additions. From our guests’ youngest babies and toddlers to our recently born baby animals, each are exploring their new surroundings.
Families are bringing their littlest ones to experience the history and adventures here. I enjoy watching children engaged with their parents at the Discovery Station
or the Lenape Indian Camp. I see little hands figuring out how to pull apples from the apple tree and little legs stumbling to gain balance as they climb the steps at the Golden Eagle Inn.
I also enjoy watching the baby animals, mainly sheep and goats right now, getting steadier on their legs, running around, hiding behind their mothers and racing across the field. Most of their time is spent in the Animal Encounters
Barn with the watchful eyes of Conner Prairie staff and volunteers.
As a mother, I know that sometimes all mothers are hesitant to let others hold and play with their babies;
the same goes with animal mothers. They want to protect their little ones too. One of our newest mother goats has taught her kids to stay under the ramps and out of harms way.
As time passes, the kids will learn that the barn and the field are a safe place to explore. Their mother will become more comfortable with letting them wander a little farther and play with the other new animals.
So when you bring your children to Conner Prairie for the first time, I’m sure you’ll be a little hesitant to let them wander too far down the path or shudder when they walk straight to the biggest goat and pet her on the head. Certainly you should be alert to children putting their fingers in animals’ mouths or eyes but know that our staff is here to make sure that youngsters of all species are safe, and that everyone has a great experience. Our animals actually enjoy attention.
Now let me leave you with a few thoughts about Conner Prairie for all those new here, animals and human alike… Look both ways before crossing the road, there could be a whole school of kids (of either kind) coming at you! Explore and experience new things together, it’s always more fun if you have someone to share it with. Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty, it washes right off! And finally, everything grows with sunshine, water, food and care.
Melissa Raveed - Manager, School Services
Spring is here and Conner Prairie has been open for over 2 weeks now. In those days, much has already happened- a robbery in Prairietown, sheep shearing and the birth of many cute and fuzzy animal babies. This time of renewal and birth brings me fond memories of last year- as I was not at Conner Prairie to open the season, but a home starting a new season in my life as a mother to a now energetic and curious 13 month old.
While I cannot believe that it has already been a year since my daughter was born, there are many things I cannot wait to do with her now that she is entering toddlerhood. Sharing the world with my daughter has been one of the greatest joys of my life. From introducing her to new foods to teaching her to roll a ball across the floor, I cannot get over how excited she is to conquer tasks which are so simple as an adult.
I am especially excited for her to start to explore what Conner Prairie has to offer the toddler set. The good thing is that I have been able to do some great “reconnaissance” by just observing and interacting with families with little ones while at work!
Just last week, my husband brought my little girl to Conner Prairie to say hi to Mommy, and to introduce her to the Animal Encounters
Barn. If you have a toddler- it is a MUST to take them out to the barn! The baby animals are just the right size so that your toddler can interact with them without being intimidated. During our visit, a 4-day-old calf was snoozing on the floor. I sat down next to the calf and called my daughter to come see. Without hesitation, she walked right up to the calf, looked at me and smiled. After a little encouragement, she patted the calf on the head and laughed. I was surprised at how gentle she was with the calf as if she knew it was a baby and needed special care.
I love that we can provide these kinds of learning moments to our youngest guests. Those 5 minutes with the calf exposed her to an experience I cannot readily duplicate at home (unless we move to a farm!) And to see the big grin on her face… priceless.