In 1830, a group of history enthusiasts formed a club around a pledge to delve deep into their state’s history and record each decade’s goings-on. So were the humble beginnings of the Indiana Historical Society, now an expansive home for artifacts, images, and a library, all showcasing the state's rich past.
One of the facility's main attractions, the Indiana Experience sculpts the Indiana Historical Society's research into interactive exhibits and programs to forge personal connections between modern populations and their regional predecessors. Within, actors interpret the lives of historical figures and interact with three-dimensional re-creations of historic photographs in the You Are There series. In the most recent You Are There, City Under Water, visitors can help with the recovery effort after the great flood of 1913, interacting with volunteers to help the flood sufferers and exploring the Wulf’s Hall Relief Station.
The William H. Smith Memorial Library also maintains a can't-miss archive of documents that explore Indiana's history, including films, sheet music, and historic newspapers, as well as more than 1.7 million photographs. When hunger makes its way onto agendas, visitors can dine indoors at Stardust Terrace Café or outdoors on its canal-side patio.
When youngsters from a nearby school for disabled children visited his old Halloween store in Indianapolis, Don Surenkamp happily walked and wheeled them through the aisles and explained the holiday's traditions. After he relocated to Florida, Don remember those children and created a handicap-accessible haunted house whose proceeds support The Angelus, a group home for cerebral palsy, reports the Tampa Bay Times. What began with a dozen spooky rooms now lures intrepid guests with 25 rooms occupied by skeletons and demons. Spines continue tingling on a haunted hayride down a 1-mile haunted trail and through the outdoor pirated-themed haunt, which includes a spooky 40-foot pirate ship. Don lets the fainter hearted pass through until 8 p.m. with glow sticks in hand to keep away scary monsters, pirates, and photocopies of failed spelling quizzes.
From noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 12, GermanFest brings the Athenaeum to life with German food and drinks, raffles, and activities for all ages. Wiener dogs race for pet-supply gift cards every hour, and men and women test their strength in a Bavarian stone-lift competition. Youngsters can hang out at Zwergen-Land, which features gnomes, a bounce house, and traditional German games and music. The majority of GermanFest proceeds supports the Athenaeum Foundation, which works to preserve the namesake German-American landmark building that's glued together with hardened mustard. Kids 12 and under are free. Those visitors who come dressed in German garb will also get a free drink ticket.
The staff at Hanna Haunted Acres knows that there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all nightmare. That's why they've curated a lineup of six different haunts, each with their own spine-tingly style. Four different haunted houses prey on deep-set childhood fears, including the Carnevil haunted house––a twisted, circus-themed fright, perfect for murderous clowns who are tired of blind dates. Other attractions include haunted hayrides around the farm and a twisty corn maze designed by a vengeful scarecrow. Those whose greatest fears including standing in line can skip straight to the screaming with a VIP pass, while snacks and mugs of steaming hot chocolate keep patient patrons warm between haunts.
Once a year, spurred perhaps by the rise of the harvest moon or the purchase of thousands of Halloween costumes, the grounds at Corpse Manor transform from a quaint home into a trio of haunting exhibits. Within the manor itself, the terrifying tale of Lord Henry Calvert and his family unfolds as their house comes to unlife with walking corpses and ghosts. Also within the walls lies the Night Shadows experience, where hungry things stalk visitors through the interplay of light and shadow. Outside the house proper lies a stretch of forested land known as the Sinister Woods, where ghouls and monsters lurk behind each trunk, pursuing the unwary as they wander the gore-strewn paths.
The docents at Segway of Indiana reveal downtown Indianapolis' multitudinous sights and attractions to segway-mounted travelers during one-hour guided tours. Groups of up to six participants strap on helmets and undertake a segway orientation to get acclimated to maneuvering the two-wheeled vehicles, which glide like moonwalking figure skaters. Tour groups then rove across the 250-acre White River State Park, admiring outdoor art and the hundreds of plants flourishing at the 3.3-acre White River Gardens. Raconteur guides regale tour-takers with historical tidbits as the group passes the Indiana State Museum, the NCAA Hall of Champions, and the cobwebbed XFL Hall of Champions. The tour wraps up with a jaunt along the picturesque downtown waterfront, where travelers can admire monuments and memorials along the way.