Spanning 800 wooded acres in central Indiana just minutes north of Indianapolis, Conner Prairie is a nationally acclaimed interactive history park that depicts Midwestern life in the 1800s.
Founded in 1934 by Eli Lilly, Conner Prairie offers seven outdoor destinations, five of which are historically themed, and two indoor experience areas that combine history and art with science, technology, engineering and math to offer an authentic look into history that shaped society today.
As Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute affiliate, Conner Prairie’s mission is to inspire curiosity and foster learning about Indiana by providing engaging, individualized and unique experiences.
New in 2015
The museum’s 1859 Balloon Voyage, which debuted in 2009, opened the 2015 season with an entirely new look. The original balloon was replaced with a new one bearing new corporate sponsor Reynolds Farm Equipment and the exhibit space was improved to better tell the story of Indiana’s place in history in regard to flight. The exhibit today more closely resembles what downtown Lafayette, Ind., looked like in 1859 when balloonist John Wise took to the skies to attempt the first air mail delivery for the U.S. Post Office.
Conner Prairie is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Founded in 1934, the museum is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization that relies on grants and philanthropic donations from corporations and individuals for sustainability and growth.
Conner Prairie is consistently one of Hamilton County’s top tourist attractions. The museum is also one of the county’s top employers, with nearly 350 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees. Students from 80 of Indiana’s 92 counties visit the museum each year on field trips.
Land and Facilities
- Outdoor experiences include seven destinations
- Two year-round experiences inside the Welcome Center
- The Conner Prairie Store features gourmet treats and gifts made at Conner Prairie and in Indiana
Acres and Acres of Interactive Awesomeness
- Conner House: Enter one of Indiana’s first brick homes where you will discover the story of William Conner and how Indiana’s history changed at Conner Prairie.
- 1836 Prairietown: Step back in time and join a bustling community where people, animals, objects and daily routines are exactly the same as they were many years ago.
- 1859 Balloon Voyage: Soar high above Conner Prairie in a helium-filled, tethered balloon and learn how manned flight moved from dream to reality.
- 1863 Civil War Journey: Immerse yourself in Hoosier life during the Civil War and enlist to help defend the state from Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan and his raiders.
- River Crossing: Inside 1863 Civil War Journey, children ages 2-10 can get wet and explore indoor and outdoor play areas and activities, including boats, Civil War dress-up time, climbing areas and water play.
- Animal Encounters: Step inside the barn of a real working farm, where you can feed, pet and play with livestock while learning from their caretakers.
- Lenape Indian Camp: Live like a Lenape Indian as you toss a tomahawk, climb inside a wigwam and try your hand at fur trading.
- Treetop Outpost COMING JULY 2016: A four-story treehouse will be the centerpiece of this new experience, inviting visitors to climb to the top and take in the view. Connect with nature as you walk along the White River and through scenic woods and prairie terrain.
- Create.Connect: Design a new invention. Fly a plane. Create an electrical circuit in this fun, ever-changing indoor exhibit that celebrates Indiana innovation.
- Discovery Station and Craft Corner: Create, climb, explore, play and pretend in a one-of-a-kind play area perfect for children up to age 8 that’s open year-round.
- Conner Prairie Store: Located inside the Welcome Center, the store offers unique gifts, old-fashioned candy, toys, games, jewelry and more.
- National Medal from the Institute for Museum and Library Services
- $2.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation
- Named a magnetic museum in “Magnetic: The Art and Science of Engagement”
- Named one of the most-visited outdoor museums in the nation according to the Outdoor History Museum Forum
2015 at a Glance
- 386,057 total member and non-member visits, including 268,653 daily visits and 117,404 visits to the Symphony on the Prairie concert series
- 22,581 took flight on the 1859 Balloon Voyage
- 52,578 school tours visited Conner Prairie
- 30,093 attended October’s Headless Horseman festival
- 2,113 youth attended Conner Prairie summer day camps
- 7,301 families – 34,313 adults and children – were members
- 86,094 visits by members
- $544,189 in revenue generated by membership sales
- $8.5 million was raised through corporate and individual gifts and grants
- $7.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. largest single gift in Conner Prairie history
- 401 volunteers gave a combined 22,111 hours to help with programs and special events
- $17 million given in operating and capital support
- 16% growth in unrestricted individual giving compared to 2014
- 34% growth in unrestricted foundation giving compared to 2014
- 40% growth in unrestricted government giving compared to 2014
- For the 10th consecutive year, Conner Prairie operated with a balanced budget
To inspire curiosity and foster learning about Indiana’s past by providing engaging, individualized and unique experiences.
Click here for highlights from 2015.
13400 Allisonville Road
Fishers, IN 46038