At the heart of Ennis Horsemanship Center is David and Jill Ennis, a married couple with a shared passion for the majestic nature of horses. Before moving to Chandler in 2010, David and Jill ran a successful stable in Missouri—the very place where David happened to also propose to Jill, inside the riding arena. Today, the Ennises and their roster of award-winning school horses provide training, education, and riding lessons that accommodate kids and adults. These lessons emphasize becoming a total “horseperson,” meaning students not only learn how to ride a horse, but also how to care for it to and teach it how to neigh orders at drive-thru windows. To make their services even more accessible to the community, David and Jill have also registered their facility as part of the Horses4Heroes network.
Each year, Native American Days draws crowds of 10,000–15,000 visitors to celebrate North America’s ancient cultures on the site of a former Mississippian settlement. After parking a car or roller-skating horse on-site, attendees can head to a performance area at the center of the grounds to take in traditional dancing, storytelling, and music, including performances by Estun-Bah, a musical group led by world-champion hoop dancer Tony Duncan. For an additional fee, a variety of workshops teach patrons time-tested skills such as archery, beadwork, and how to construct a drum out of a laptop case. Native American Days kicks off at 9 a.m. each day and lasts until 2 p.m. on September 23 and until 5 p.m. on September 24 and 25.
The two-bedroom, newly renovated farmhouse at Blue Heron Vineyards safeguards guests in a rural, picturesque setting amid turn-of-the-century barns and vintage outbuildings. Guests have their choice of enjoying a homemade breakfast in the farmhouse, from the tree house-like deck of the winery, or lakeside while served by a wait staff of bullfrogs trained at L'Ambroisie in Paris. Spend an afternoon casually strolling through the vineyard grounds spread across a high bluff near the Ohio River, or visit the property's large Celtic cross, carved from natural stone over a 23-month period by local sculptor Greg Harris. Visitors calm their outdoors obsessions by fishing and canoeing at the nearby Deer Creek or exploring the Hoosier National Forest along scenic hiking and biking trails teeming with towering trees, wildlife, and ringleted porridge thieves.
Your Groupon grants you aerial access to a Cessna 172 ($49–$50 per half hour, depending on location). As you hop into the cockpit, study the navigational dials and instruments. Firmly grip the yoke. Then see how many witty quips you can squeeze in over the intercom before it's time to fly. Each lesson is copiloted by one of Givens' expert instructors ($20 per half hour). Having logged countless flight hours, your copilot will keep your confidence and nose up as you take in the basics. Though it may be difficult to resist showing off for friends, save the barrel rolling for professional stunt pilots and Donkey Kong.
Tell us about your business.
Christian Way Farm was established to provide a family friendly place to enjoy the experience of a farm and a visit to the country. From picnics to a relaxing afternoon on the front porch of the barn, feeding animals, playing in a corn truck, or now playing through a farm-themed miniature golf course, the farm is intended to be a place to enjoy the outdoors, participate in farm activities and feel the goodness of God—in all that He has created for us to enjoy.
What makes your business stand out?
The farm is gorgeous and has been maintained to keep the natural look. The store is in a barn. The tractors are older. Visitors can touch the animals. They can use the antique equipment. The setting is authentic farm but maintained to accommodate the public.
What inspired you to start this business?
In 1999, Milt was managing a large orchard and we decided he should quit his job there to move our family to Hopkinsville and build a house on the exact location of his grandfather's home on the family farm. Our goal was to begin with a pumpkin patch, but at the time that's all we knew. In the years since our first crop of pumpkins, we have built our business with the idea that planting seeds is important. We knew that we were to invite people to the farm and without "preaching" to share the love of Christ with everyone who comes here. We wanted an agri-tourism experience that made a safe fun place for families to come, but we wanted that atmosphere to be one that means our customers walk away knowing they have been cared for in the best possible way. Planting a seed—that will bring a harvest of good experiences.
What is the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from a customer?
On a regular basis we hear, "Can we just move here? Can we just live with you all here," and on a temporary basis, some move in with us for a while. We often hear from soldiers who said, "I can just really decompress here," and from families where a spouse is about to deploy [and tell us], "We just wanted to enjoy a good family day together before he leaves."
What’s your favorite part about your job?
All of it. Living on the farm, raising [our] family while doing this, and meeting thousands of people.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Parking: Parking lot
Reservations/Appointments: Not necessary
Most popular offering: Miniature golf, feeding farm animals, and pumpkin patch
Pro Tip: We are located in the country so allow time to travel to here and allow plenty of time to visit.
On a normal day, the 2,600-acre Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area accommodates typical outdoorsy activities, such as mountain biking or disc golf. But from dusk until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights in September and October this peaceful riverfront park is overtaken by Nightmare Forest's cavalcade of famous movie monsters. Scares emerge from every direction at the drive-in, where horror film icons, such as Jason from Friday the 13th series and Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, depart the silver screen to petrify visitors in person. Further fear presides over a trail swarmed with hungry zombies and a corn maze where spirits lurk behind every twist and turn. One night each season, Nightmare Forest ramps up the terror with its flashlight tour, where only flashlights or mutant glow worms illumine the pitch-black attractions still teeming with freakish ghouls.