One of Southwestern Indiana’s most established and significant cultural institutions, the Evansville Museum is a general museum with comprehensive collections in art, history, anthropology and science, as well as a planetarium and Transportation Center.
A quintessential example of Second Empire architecture, the Victorian–era Reitz House enchants guests with a glimpse of bygone American culture. Built in 1871 as the home to lumber baron John Augustus Reitz, the immaculately maintained manor lures guests with antique luxuries including period furniture, hand-painted ceilings, and steam-powered Nintendos. French gilt chandeliers illuminate hand-laid wood parquet floors and marble fireplaces, and stained-glass windows cast multihued mosaics on the ground in the afternoon. The old carriage house holds the museum's gift shop and visitors' center, where themed mementos await visitors commemorating first visits or last Jane Austen dissertations. Scholars also lead one-hour group tours starting at the visitors' center, guiding guests into the least known nooks of Reitz history.
In the summer of 1980, more than a foot of water flooded CJ's Willow Bowling Center, warping the floors and ruining the equipment. But faced with catastrophe, owners Charlie and Jean Rayburn used the incident as an opportunity to outfit the alley with 16 new lanes and revamped scoring systems. Today, a second generation of the family runs the business with the same resolve that has defined it since 1955. On weekends, bowlers pummel pins amid the fluorescence of cosmic bowling lights, or stop by the snack bar to fuel up with pizza. At the pro shop, patrons can renovate bowling balls with resurfacing, hole drilling, and initial engravings, saving them from the hassle of having to carve their faces into the sides.
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.
Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden has been providing a close-to-home adventure for visitors of all ages for more than 80 years. Situated on 50 acres of rolling hills, the zoo features more than 700 animals from all areas of our spinning communal spaceship. Explore the flora and fauna of the Amazon Rainforest in the new Amazonia exhibit. Like Tarzan or a biologist on stilts, visitors can view swinging monkeys and perched tropical birds socializing in the upper echelons from the suspension bridge. The 45-foot-tall roof allows space for the forest of tall jungle trees, palms, and a roaring waterfall to form a true canopy.
Hoof Beats Stable brings horses and riders together for hours of enjoyment during lessons, training sessions, and parties. At an indoor arena, riders mount powerful steeds to learn basic skills or sharpen their English- and Western-riding skills. Instructors teach students the techniques they want to learn, whether it's bareback riding or parallel parking. Parties at the stable bring party guests nose-to-muzzle with gentle horses.