February 9, 2011

Nap Time in Naptown: Discovery Station at Conner Prairie

I have discovered a new winter haven for moms who need to entertain their cabin-feverish kids. Or moms who need a cover story for leaving the house instead of "I just need a diet Coke."

It's the indoor side of Conner Prairie, and it's awesome.

Growing up in Indy meant that I went to Conner Prairie a lot. I always loved stepping back in time in the blacksmith forge, schoolhouse and homesteads. My absolute favorite was (and still is) Headless Horseman. (If you've never gone to Headless Horseman, you must go. Really and truly.)

It's the fantastic experience of walking through "Little House on the Prairie" during spring, summer and fall but I never once thought about visiting in the winter.

So when our friends invited us to play with them at Conner Prairie a couple of weeks ago, I envisioned us stumbling around in the frigid wind before remembering that she wouldn't make me suffer on a random Thursday.

Instead, I was introduced to my new favorite room: Discovery Station.

It's one big room set up as a town, complete with a market, train station and farm. Everything is completely hands-on, from the apple tree ready to be picked to the cow waiting to be milked to the costumes whispering to be worn. Basically, it's a condensed version of The Children's Museum.
Now I love me some Children's Museum and will have a membership until Madeline begs me to spend the money on a cell phone instead but it's not exactly the place to go and relax and catch up with another mom.

My favorite part of the Discovery Station is the super comfortable, "wanna take a nap" leather sofas placed throughout the room. 

Mothers of Indianapolis, hear me! I sat on a couch for two hours with my friend and we actually were able to talk while watching our kids play. 

I know!

I should have taken some pictures of Madeline enjoying every nook and cranny of that room but instead, I WAS TALKING TO ANOTHER ADULT.  And I don't regret it one bit.

Admission is just $5 per person and kids 2 and under are free, cheaper than a morning at Monkey Joe's or Recreation Unlimited but way more educational. Our friends have a membership and can visit as many times as they want. (Oops, is my jealousy coming through?)

In the winter, Conner Prairie is only open from Thursday - Saturday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 2p.m. At first, I was a little disappointed that they weren't open longer but then I found the silver lining: a built-in excuse to make the kids leave at nap time.

So go, relax on a leather couch and remember you are doing it for the kids. For the kids, y'all.

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