June is an exciting time here at Conner Prairie! School is out, everything has turned a luscious green and families are ready to spend a leisurely day outdoors. It’s so fulfilling to see all the eager faces that come to the ticket desk, anticipating a wonderful adventure with us.
Now we’re seeing a different kind of guest than we saw in the spring. Gone are the school groups, families trying to cram everything into a couple of weekend hours and the college students doing research projects. The pace is slower in summer, so a mother can bring her children on a weekday and spend the entire day. This is the time of year parents with adult children and grandchildren visiting from out of town are looking for the perfect venue and Conner Prairie fits the bill. I especially enjoy looking out the window next to the ticket desk and watching all the happy families lay out their picnic lunch and just spending time together.
In the last couple of years the economy has been of concern, and Indiana has not been immune to the downturn. One of the most gratifying results of this is what has been dubbed “staycations.” Families want to spend their allotted vacation time together, but the expense of going on vacation is prohibitive. So they stay home and visit local attractions. Happily, Conner Prairie is a favorite destination, a place where the whole family can have fun while learning. We sell a lot of memberships this time of year, because once a family has been here they want to come again and again! In that respect, Conner Prairie is a bargain for families staying at home for the summer.
Of course there are the day care kids who come for the day, and the children enrolled in Conner Prairie’s own day camp program. These kids are having a ball; they’re carefree and playful, probably because they don’t have a school assignment due when they get back!
I always enjoy asking guests for their zip codes, especially if it’s from out of state or even out of the country. That sparks a discussion of what we have to offer here for the first-timers, and I usually end up learning something from those folks as well.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite anecdotes: A multi-generational family came to visit and grandma asked her small grandchild where grandpa was. He said, “Oh, we lost him way back in the 1800s!”