New 10,000-square-foot interactive ‘Treetop Outpost’ to open in July at Conner Prairie


    Duane Brodt
    Director of Public Relations
    Conner Prairie
    (800) 966-1836

    FISHERS, Ind. (Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016/Conner Prairie) – A four-story treehouse offering panoramic views will be the centerpiece of a new 10,000-square-foot outdoor experience set to open July 1 at Conner Prairie.

    Construction on Treetop Outpost started in late October and continues today in the southwest corner of the museum’s grounds close to the White River. Several diverse activity areas will surround the treehouse in which guests can engage with natural materials, experience archaeology, build, create unique nature-based artwork, explore music with instruments and more. Also, a connecting nature walk will lead visitors through woods and along the river to the prairie.

    Visitors will enter the treehouse by spanning a suspension bridge or walking up an elevated walkway.

    >>Artist’s renderings, early-stage construction photos of Treetop Outpost and select photos from the 2016 Annual Meeting featuring Dr. Scott Sampson: http://bit.ly/1SjU0Oa

    The $750,000 exhibit being built by general contractor Hagerman Group was announced at Conner Prairie’s 2016 Annual Meeting Wednesday, during which a nationally renowned dinosaur paleontologist and popular children’s show host told an audience of nearly 300 guests that now, more than any other time in history, we have to get youth connected with nature.

    “The indoor migration that has occurred in just a single generation has contributed to a growing rate of obesity, attention deficit syndrome, diabetes, myopia and other diseases among children,” said Dr. Scott Sampson, host of the popular PBS KIDS series “Dinosaur Train.”

    “A screen looks the same in Indianapolis as it does in Miami, Tulsa or anywhere,” he said. But outdoor destinations, he said, like local back yards and parks, Indiana’s McCormick’s Creek State Park, his own native Canadian wilderness and even the Paris streetscapes lead to nature discovery, interaction and appreciation.

    “There’s a huge disconnect between youth and nature now and if we don’t narrow the gap by getting kids outside now, people probably won’t even care about the outdoors in a generation.”

    Sampson, who is an executive at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and recently authored “How to Raise a Wild Child,” said adults need to instill and encourage three basic behaviors in youth to connect them with nature for a lifetime.

    “Notice that nature’s everywhere. Look at it and be curious,” he said. “Let them engage. Let them grab a stick and play, jump in the mud and climb a tree. Don’t say no. And let them wonder. Kids are naturally inquisitive and want to learn on their own. Share your own stories about your life in nature and encourage them to create their own lifelong memories.”

    At the Annual Meeting, attended by nearly 300 guests including Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, Hamilton Southeastern Schools Superintendent Dr. Allen Bourff and several area teachers, Conner Prairie shared its successes and milestones achieved in 2015:

    • 386,057 people visited Conner Prairie, including 268,653 daily visits and 117,404 visits to the Symphony on the Prairie summer concert series;

    • 22,581 visitors took flight on the 1859 Balloon Voyage;

    • 52,578 school tours visited the museum, including students from 80 of 92 Indiana counties;

    • 30,093 attended October’s Headless Horseman fall festival;

    • 2,113 youth attended Conner Prairie summer day camps; and

    • 7,301 families, consisting of 34,313 adults and children, were active Conner Prairie members.



    • More than $8.5 million was raised through corporate and individual gifts and grants;

    • A $7.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. was the largest single gift ever made to Conner Prairie;

    • More than $544,000 in revenue was generated through membership sales; and

    • $17 million was given in operating and capital support.

    Spanning 850 wooded acres in central Indiana, Conner Prairie welcomes more than 360,000 visitors of all ages annually. As Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute affiliate, Conner Prairie offers various outdoor, historically themed destinations and indoor experiential learning spaces that combine history and art with science, technology, engineering and math to offer an authentic look into history that shapes society today.


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    Conner Prairie is a nationally acclaimed interactive history park. Its mission is to inspire curiosity and foster learning about Indiana by providing engaging, individualized and unique experiences. Created by Eli Lilly in 1934, Conner Prairie combines history with science, technology, engineering and math and encourages visitors to explore Indiana’s natural and cultural heritage through hands-on, immersive and interactive experiencing. Inspiring visitors of all ages to discover more about the events, discoveries and forces that shaped the American Midwest, Conner Prairie offers various historically themed, indoor and outdoor experience areas throughout its 800 acres of wooded property in Fishers, Ind. Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute Affiliate and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Conner Prairie is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization that relies on grants and philanthropic donations from corporations and individuals for sustainability and growth. Visit connerprairie.org or call 317.776.6000 or 800.966.1836 for admission dates, hours, ticket prices and opportunities to donate. Connect with Conner Prairie on Facebook at facebook.com/connerprairie, Flickr at flickr.com/people/connerprairie, YouTube at youtube.com/user/ConnerPrairie and Twitter at twitter.com/connerprairie.