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Conner Prairie features free fun on Presidents’ Day

Feb 09, 2016 by Jeanine Bobenmoyer

This is our year. My mom is a history buff - which in turn rubbed off on me - and after residing in the greater Indianapolis area for more than 4 years, I've realized that this is OUR year. Our year to finally invest in a membership with Conner Prairie Interactive History Park.

We've soaked up the Symphony On The Prairie, Headless Horseman and Follow The North Star programs. We've popped in for cold winter days indoors at the Discovery Center. We've stocked up on fall goodies at the Apple Store. We've agreed {then chickened out}, then agreed again {then chickened out again} for a ride on the 1859 Balloon Voyage. We've marveled at the upcoming construction of the new Treetop Outpost. But this year is officially the one I'm pulling the trigger on buying a family membership.


Presidents Day at CP


The best thing is - like many area attractions - Conner Prairie offers a number of free admission days and with Presidents Day around the corner, our favorite history park is promising free fun for all.

From 10am-5pm on Monday, February 15th, Conner Prairie will host all kinds of ‘presidential antics and activities.' Including:
• Meet and greet with several famous US Presidents
• Chat with favorite first ladies
• Surprise birthday party for George Washington
• Revolutionary War Edition of Capture The Flag
• Teddy Roosevelt's Shooting Gallery
• "Requirements To Be A President" quiz
• "Save The White House" with Dolley Madison
• Display of presidential pets
• Storytelling
• Sing-alongs
• Games, and more!


CP indoor fun


{Hey, did I mention all of this was free?} So whether the kids are off school or you have a free day from work, Conner Prairie will be packed with fun. And that blur you'll see going by is me making a beeline to the Membership Services desk.

If you make it out to Conner Prairie, let me know what your favorite activity was! Tweet me at @themomista, and make sure to include #VisitHC.

This Valentine’s Day Love is in the Air in Hamilton County, Indiana

Feb 04, 2016 by Sarah Buckner

Valentine's Day in Hamilton County, Indiana is so much more than candy hearts and love notes. From delicious meals to art exhibits, singles, couples, and families can all celebrate the ones they love in their own special way.

For the family...
Family Swim at Goldfish Swim School, February 12 6:30-8 pm

Looking for a fun way to celebrate with the entire family? Visit the Goldfish Swim School for our Valentine's Day Family Swim! Open swim, crafts and snacks - all for $5 per person or $15 for the whole family!

Family Valentine's Day, February 14, 1-5 P.M.

There is no sweeter way to celebrate Valentine's Day than with your family! Make this year's holiday an artsy one and bring the little ones to Nickel Plate Arts for children's activities, crafts ($5 each) and sweet treats.


Love Lust Poetry couple Nickel Plate Arts


For the art lover...
Hoosier HEART-Land, February 5-27

Nickel Plate Art's exhibit this February will put a sense-of-place spin on the annual Love, Lust and Poetry exhibition. In honor of Indiana's bicentennial, this year's "Valentine's" exhibit features works that depict what artists love about the Hoosier state.

For singles OR couples...
Valentine's Night Out, February 12-13, 6-9 pm

Have a creative Valentine's Day at Nickel Plate Arts and enjoy a range of artist-led art projects, live performances, snacks, and a wine/beer bar. Take advantage of this unique & artsy way to celebrate Valentine's Day with your significant other, friends, or girls night!

Prairie Pursuits: American Heritage Chocolate, February 14, 2-4 p.m.

Learn about the history of chocolate and take part in its preparation ~ from bean to cup. Grind cacao nibs on a Mesoamerican metate (flat stone) and sip historic drinking chocolate. Warm yourself by the fire as you help to prepare delicacies such as chocolate puffs and cracknels.


Prairie Guest House


For a romantic setting...
Prairie Guest House Valentine Dinner

Make this Valentine's Day one that you and your loved one will always remember. Impressive, elegant and quietly simple, the evening begins a wine and cheese reception near the fireplace. The gourmet four-course dinner includes tomato basil soup, Prairie salad, a pork loin with mushroom ragout and salmon fillet with lemon dill sauce duo, accompanied by whipped potatoes and roasted veggies. Finish the meal with chocolate cake topped with a raspberry drizzle.

Make the evening even more memorable with a romantic guest suite. Each room includes special touches such as chocolates, fresh cut flowers as well as a home cooked breakfast in the morning for our resident lovers.

Carmel Symphony Orchestra Presents: Beethoven, Brahms, And The Scotts, February 13, 7:30 p.m.

Celebrate Valentine's Day enjoying classical music performance at the Palladium. On the day before Valentine's Day the Carmel Symphony Orchestra will feature works by Beethoven and Brahms with the Scott family. Waldteufel's playful "España" Waltz rounds out this eclectic program. Stop by City Center to enjoy a romantic dinner before the concert at divvy.

Wine and Paint

Visit Blackhawk Winery for a wine and paint filled Valentine's Day. With helpful guidance, couples will work together to create a masterpiece. Tickets include the painting and a chocolate treat to share. Wine, cheese, and crackers are available for sale at the winery.

From family crafts to romantic nights out, there are so many ways to show your love this Valentine's Day. For more information on these events, and the other unique ways to celebrate in Hamilton County, visit the online calendar!

Hamilton County Happenings - February 3

Feb 03, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

From exploring outdoors to catching a show, there's plenty to do this February weekend in Hamilton County, Indiana. See below for some stand-out events and be sure to check the full online calendar for even more.


Doubt, a parable
Booth Tarkingon Civic Theatre presents: Doubt, A Parable
February 5-14
Carmel, Indiana

This drama transports theatre-goers to the Bronx in 1965 as a nun tries to get to the bottom of a school rumor. Is Father Flynn guilty or innocent? The audience will get to decide.
Royal Marines
The Band of the Royal Marines
February 5
Carmel, Indiana

With impressive military precision and musical style, the Royal Marines Bands are celebrated for quality and impressive performances. See for yourself at The Palladium where the program includes classics, Big Band hits and solos.
NPA bicentennial blurb
Hoosier Heart-Land & First Friday
February 5 - 27
Noblesville, Indiana

Kick off your weekend with a trip to Nickel Plate Arts for the First Friday unveiling of the latest exhibit. This show explores how artists visually share their love for the great state of Indiana.

 Heart Hike blurb Heart Hike
February 5 - 6
Fishers, Indiana

Take some time to show some love to nature this weekend by exploring Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve. Photographs of natural hearts will mark your path on this self-guided hike. Go fall back in love with nature!

 Want to always know what Hamilton County weekend happenings are coming up? Sign up to have this list and more delivered right to your inbox.

200 Looks Good on You Indiana!

Feb 02, 2016 by Sarah Buckner

Bicentennial torchThis year, Hoosiers all across the state will take part in Indiana's 200 years of history. Formed January 8, 1823, Hamilton County is proud to be apart of this great state and will be celebrating all year long.

Special Bicentennial events honoring the state's heritage are planned across the county for the year-long celebration. Learn more about Indiana's roots at the home of one of the first settlers, William Conner, located in Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. History buffs can dig deep into the recent archeological activity at Strawtown Koteewi Park. Located in the county seat of Noblesville, the Hamilton County Courthouse is the centerpiece of the historic downtown Square - and a wonderful place to learn about the rich history of the area.

Whether you are an art lover or a beer enthusiast, there are a ton of fun ways to celebrate Indiana this year...

Hoosier HEART-Land Art Exhibit, February 5-27 at Nickel Plate Arts in Noblesville

In honor of Indiana's bicentennial, this year's Nickel Plate "Valentine's" exhibit features works that depict what artists love about the Hoosier state. The Hoosier Heart-Land exhibit is meant to serve as a visual love letter to our state, commemorating the people, places and things that make Indiana what it is today.

Deer Creek Bicentennial BeerBicentennial Brew Tour, Sundays January 10 - May 22

Ride the BrewsLine to visit local breweries and sample brews with historical ties. From squirrel stampedes to haunted legends, you will learn quirky bits of history while enjoying local craft brews. The Bicentennial Brew Tour will be offered every Sunday afternoon from January 10 through May 22.

Torch Relay, October 13

The Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay is one of the major events of the 2016 Bicentennial celebration. Patterned after the Olympic Torch Relay, Indiana's version will pass through all 92 of the state's counties and cover more than 2,300 miles over a six-week period. The torch relay will run September 9 through October 15 and will travel throughout Hamilton County on October 13.

Visit our website for more bicentennial activities! 


Hamilton County Happenings - January 27

Jan 27, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

Two fun productions open this weekend in Hamilton County, Indiana. Grab show tickets for one of those or take the family to an instrument petting zoo. Read on for those happenings and more. Discover events online any time on our online calendar too.

 Sally B blurb   A Year of Hoosier Plays and Playwrights: The Legend of Sally B by Marsha Grant
January 29- February 14
Westfield, Indiana

This play kicks off a season filled with Hoosier-related productions to honor the Bicentennial. In this story, a widow makes some realizations about life and love after taking in a tenant for the summer.
 Sweeny Todd blurb The Actors Theatre of Indiana presents: Sweeney Todd
January 29- February 14
Carmel, Indiana

This dark musical comedy stars a barber and baker who team up to seek revenge for the wrongs they have experienced. The show has won 8 Tony Awards and has even been turned into a movie starring Johnny Depp.
 Carmel Winter Market little Blurb Carmel Winter Farmers Market
January 30
Carmel, Indiana

Stock up on local Indiana goods on Saturday mornings at this weekly market. Vendors of meat, eggs, winter vegetables and more will be housed in the all-purpose building at Founders Park.
 CSO family fun blurb Carmel Symphony Orchestra presents: Family Fun!
January 31
Carmel, Indiana

An instrument petting zoo? Yep! Get up close and personal with the orchestra as they perform excerpts from classics and show kiddos how their instruments work.

 Want to always know what Hamilton County weekend happenings are coming up? Sign up to have this list and more delivered right to your inbox.


9 Ways to Valentine’s Day

Jan 26, 2016 by Jeanine Bobenmoyer

Happy Valentine's Day sweetie. I haven't picked up a single thing for you yet and frankly am at a total loss. Do you think my husband will like my approach this year? See, Valentine's Day has always been a struggle. My husband is notoriously difficult to buy for {sorry honey!}, he returns virtually 75% of all presents and I think I've ‘scored' with my gift-giving abilities twice in the 14 years we've been together.

So what does one do for the challenging Valentines in our life? Here are my Hamilton County-inspired ideas:


Koteewi target Archery


Gift an experience.

Koteewi Archery: One of my favorite spots to blow off a little steam, let some arrows fly and YES they're open for winter. Range + rental gear starts at $15/pp. 11900 Koteewi Drive, Noblesville
K1 Speed Indoor Karting: I haven't been but with my lead foot, think we'll end up here pretty darn quick. 9998 E. 121st Street, Fishers
Hoosier Heights: Just inside Hamilton County boundaries, Hoosier Heights offers many options to get your climb on. Support each other during ascent or ‘race' up walls that don't require spotters. 9850 Mayflower Park Drive, Carmel


flat fork creek park blurb


Gift a unique date night {or day!}.

Flat Fork Creek Park Sledding Hill: Gift some sleds, warm gloves and a day on the newly-opened 60-foot sledding hill. 16141 E. 101st Street, Fishers
Flix Brewhouse: Our favorite place to catch films. Craft brews, surprisingly good food and state-of-the-art sound systems make us never want to leave. 2206 E. 116th Street, Carmel
Rail Epicurean Market: Secretly hoping my husband is reading because this restaurant is at the top of my must-try list. An adorably outfitted red barn serving fresh, locally-sourced dishes, Rail's menu is positively mouth-watering. 211 Park Street, Westfield


Jeaninie Peace Water


Gift a, well, GIFT.

Peace Water Winery: Pop in for a take-home bottle to enjoy on a night in. BONUS: All proceeds are donated to one of 8 charities {your pick!}. 37 W. Main Street, Carmel
The Quirky Feather Confectionary: New sweet spot serving up delish treats in an Alice In Wonderland-inspired setting. Plenty of chocolate galore. And they're open until midnight! 890 E. 116th Street, #125, Carmel
Sur La Table: Gift certificates are available for the famed cooking classes at this Clay Terrace store. You Valentine can register for "Pasta From Scratch," "Classic French Favorites," and more. 14400 Clay Terrace Blvd, Suite 100, Carmel

What are YOU giving this year for Valentine's Day? Tweet me at @themomista to let me know - I'll take all the suggestions I can get. Don't forget to tag #VisitHC!


Jan 25, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

Attention photographers, Instagrammers and casual iPhone users!

#lovehc collage


Deliberate Media is doing a cool collaboration with Hamilton County Tourism, Inc. and we need your help! We've rented the Stephenson House gallery at Nickel Plate Arts for the month of March, where we'll have an exhibit up called ‪#‎loveHC‬. This will be a crowdsourced show of images everyday people (such as yourself) have captured of Hamilton County - with just their phones, or with cameras! Use the hashtag ‪#‎submitloveHC‬ on Instagram to catch our attention there, OR email submissions with written permission to use the photo(s) to OR message them to us on Facebook.

Don't forget to share with your friends so we get tons of awesome submissions that show off the diversity of our county! The deadline to submit photos is February 15.


#lovehc screenshot


Sip, Sip, Hooray!

Jan 21, 2016 by Caroline Mosey

Inevitably, most celebrations I attend include beer. If friends are gathering to mark an occasion, a tasty brew is never far behind (except for the occasional children's birthday party, of course). And as many of you know, a big celebration is going down in the Hoosier state this year... we're celebrating our bicentennial! And naturally, some tasty brews aren't far behind.

Check out this video to see how The Brewsline works! See below for the special stops that will be included in the Bicentennial Brews tour.

Two hundred years of statehood is a big occasion and we're marking it with tons of events here in Hamilton County. The BrewsLine is jumping in and offering the Bicentennial Brew Tour every Sunday afternoon from now through May 22. Take an epic journey to local craft breweries, but with a bicentennial twist! Stops include Deer Creek Brewery, Deviate Brewing, Grand Junction Brewing Company, Heady Hollow Brewing Company and Sun King Fishers Taproom. Haven't visited all of these breweries yet? There's no better way to experience them than on the brew tour with a group of your friends.


#HCbrews contest


At each spot, sip local brews and listen to the varied history and legends that make Indiana unique. You'll learn fun facts and spooky stories about our state you've never heard before. What better way to celebrate the bicentennial than this?! And who knows? You may discover your new favorite craft beer along the way. Don't forget to take lots of photos of the fun and share them on social media using #HCbrews16.

This is sure to be a popular ride, so remember to book your reservations for the Bicentennial Brew Tour soon! The bus can accommodate 12 people per tour. We're raising our beer glasses to all things Hoosier this year...come join us!

Can't make it on a tour? Mark your calendars for Pours & Pints events hosted by Indiana on Tap at each participating brewery.

Hamilton County Happenings - January 20

Jan 20, 2016 by Hamilton County Tourism

Listen to radio legend Ira Glass live, see miniature replicas of Indiana history or prepare a 19th century meal by candlelight. Try it all in Hamilton County, Indiana this weekend! For even more happenings, check out our online calendar of events.

IN Courthouses blurb

Indiana State Bar Association's Art Collection featuring the Courthouses of Indiana
January 12- May 8
Fishers, Indiana

Did you know that the Conner House once served as Hamilton County's county seat and county courthouse? A special collection of Indiana courthouse art will be hosted at Conner Prairie throughout 2016 in celebration of Indiana's Bicentennial.

 Museum of Minis Bicentennial blurb

Hoosiers in History Told in Miniature
January 21 - May 29
Carmel, Indiana

This special Bicentennial exhibit at the Museum of Miniature Houses showcases Indiana's history in miniature form. See replicas of Levi Coffin's home, Major Taylor's bicycle and more.

Ira Glass blurb

Re-Inventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass
January 23
Carmel, Indiana

Public radio star Ira Glass will share a behind the scenes look at his famed radio show "This American Life." Live stories, recorded quotes and favorite clips will demonstrate the creation of the show.

 Hearthside Blurb

Hearthside Suppers at Conner Prairie
January 23 - March 13
Fishers, Indiana

Make reservations now for your seat at the supper table. Help prepare and then devour a 19th century-style meal with other guests and costumed interpreters.


Look Beyond the Obvious for Indoor Fun

Jan 19, 2016 by Andrea Davis

Now that Old Man Winter has finally reported for duty, parents in central Indiana and beyond are watching for the symptoms of cabin fever-a sure sign it's time to pack up the kids for an energy-burning indoor adventure. Luckily for them, Hamilton County has an impressive array of options.

From old standbys such as video-game arcades and bowling alleys (including one that has an indoor miniature golf course) to more recent arrivals like the SkyZone trampoline park and K1 Speed indoor karting, there's plenty to do when you don't want to spend time outside.

I borrowed a pair of 7-year-olds on a recent Saturday to get their take on some of the less-obvious choices. Our agenda: The Urban Chalkboard in Carmel, Conner Prairie in Fishers, and Recreation Unlimited in Noblesville. (Pro tip: Going to all three on the same day may be a little much.)

The Urban Chalkboard
Location: 452 E. Carmel Drive, Carmel; (317) 815-5711
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday (except Tuesdays, when it's open until 6); 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays
Admission fee: $10 per child ages 8 months to 8 years

Founded in 2014 by two mothers who also happen to have PhDs in child development, The Urban Chalkboard is billed as a "play café" where parents and children can spend quality time together. On-site learning studios offer music and yoga classes, for example, and the café provides space for imaginative kids' play while Mom has that second cup of coffee.

Capacity is limited to 30 children at a time, though, and staff has to restrict entry when the facility is full-as it was when my little friends and I arrived. Before trying again, I'll be sure to call or check Facebook to make sure we can get in.

Conner Prairie Interactive History Park
Location: 13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers; (317) 776-6006
Winter Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday
Admission fee: $8 for guests 2 and older; free for members and guests younger than 2

The sprawling Fishers attraction is popular during mild weather, when visitors can interact with costumed interpreters as they explore different eras in Indiana's past. And although the historic grounds are closed after the Headless Horseman rides each fall, Conner Prairie's welcome center is open year-round.

Andrea CP indoor fun


Inside, we found three hands-on activity areas: Craft Corner, Discovery Station, and , a National Science Foundation-funded exhibit that unites history and science. We started and ended our visit there, folding and flying paper airplanes, building and testing chain-reaction machines, and experimenting with electrical circuitry. The scientific theory may have been lost on my companions, but they sure enjoyed watching their creations come to life.

When our brains were full, we set off for our next stop.

(Pro tip: Set ground rules before visiting the Conner Prairie gift shop. We picked up a left-handed boomerang and the beginning of a rock collection, but there were more affordable options too.)

Recreation Unlimited Play Zone
Location: 15150 Herriman Blvd., Noblesville; (317) 773-3545
Hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays; noon-6 p.m. Sundays
Admission fee: $8 per child weekdays; $12 per child weekends; no charge for adults


Andrea hoops


This leisure-time retailer opens its Noblesville showroom to the public for play time every day. Children 8 and younger can put a variety of outdoor equipment to the test-everything from basketball goals and trampolines to fancy swing sets and playhouses, all set up on a rubber safety floor in the indoor Play Zone area.

My companions made a beeline for the trio of trampolines, which are limited to one jumper at a time. Since two were already occupied (and The Girl was quicker to shed her shoes and climb into the one that wasn't), The Boy grabbed a basketball and starting shooting hoops. I tried playing defense but gave up because he kept changing goals. Andrea swing indoor fun

The Play Zone was crowded and the trampolines were especially popular, so most parents imposed time limits to ensure everyone got a chance to jump. (Recreation Unlimited does not provide supervision.) The Boy split his time between there and the basketball court. The Girl also tried out the swings and measured the playhouses for curtains. 

When our curfew forced me to give them the five-minute warning, their smiling, sweaty faces told me the trip was a success.

Close the Door on Boredom

On the way home, I asked my test subjects to pick their favorite part of the day. After much thought, they came to the same conclusion: "All of it!"

As much fun as we had, we didn't come close to sampling all of the possibilities for indoor fun in Hamilton County. Here are some other options:

Let the kids get their game on during open gym at the Hamilton County Sports Complex in Noblesville or Jonathan Byrd's Fieldhouse at Grand Park in Westfield. To burn off even more energy, set them loose on the inflatables at Bounce U in Fishers. Less-physical choices include local library programs, the Taylor Center of Natural History at Strawtown Koteewi Park near Cicero, and the Museum of Miniature Houses in Carmel.

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