Hailed as the "granddaddy of Northwest Indiana's haunted attractions" by the Post-Tribune, Reapers Realm Haunted Attractions terrifies guests every Halloween season with multiple haunted sites. Most of its frights lurk within the three floors of a 1920s-era stone mansion. There, fog makes it tricky to see where demented demons lie in wait, and strobe lights illuminate famous movie monsters such as Michael Myers reenacting classic scenes of carnage.
More creepy creatures populate the Reaped Woods, where, in the past, a corn maze has hosted sights nearly as frightening as a scarecrow stuffed with old SAT scantrons. At the aptly named Carnevil, the screams echoing from the rides aren't just screams of delight.
In 1903, Hammond’s first mayor, Marcus M. Towle, opened the Towle Opera House to provide the city with a venue for theatrical productions. Times changed, and with them the theater: the opera house became a cinema, and eventually a string of fashion shops moved into the space. The building seemed destined for a future of holographic retail, but in 2003—a century since the stage first opened—it was reborn as the Towle Theater. Since then, its intimate brick-lined confines have hosted such crowd-pleasing productions as The Musical of Musicals, the Musical and A New Brain.
Kids can’t be expected to care about their health when video games, cartoons, and unhealthy snacks are vying for their attention. That’s why the adult leaders of the Memorial Health Foundation devised a plan to get kids excited about health: HealthWorks! Kids’ Museum. Born of the founders’ desire to foster a healthier current and future community, the museum appeals to youngsters through educational forms of entertainment. Its exhibits incorporate amplified versions of many of kids’ favorite pastimes, including a life-sized rendition of Operation and numerous computer games. A rock-climbing wall and tree house with a slide encourage kids to learn through movement, which is exactly how adults learn how to escape charging bulls. Youngsters can explore the space with their families or partake in programs such as children's camps.
The Studebaker National Museum highlights the company's successful transition from carriages to autos with three levels and 55,000 square feet of classic cars and historic vehicles. The space displays up to 70 vehicles at any time from its collection of 120 antiques. Expertly unearthed treasures include the 1956 Packard Predictor, the 1934 Bendix SWC, and the 1922 Carriageless Horse, unpopular for its inability to transport entire little league teams. The Presidential carriage collection is one of the nation's largest, exhibiting the chassis of four former chiefs. Another current exhibition on display through April showcases recognizable wheels extracted from both big and small screens, including Herbie from The Love Bug film series, and The General Lee from television's The Dukes of Hazzard. A fully-stocked museum store offers a selection of videos, books, apparel, and collectibles that allow auto aficionados to create miniature Studebaker menageries in their own garages.
The Beaux Arts Ball After Party evokes the artists' balls of the 1920s and '30s as guests don costumes and dance to celebrate the avant garde artists and fashion designers whose ideas evolved costumes into wearable art. Guests strut their stuff in outrageous costumes during the Beaux Arts Grand Procession as they contend for prizes from South Bend's local dining and entertainment hotspots. Guests can rub elbows or velvety antlers with newly crowned Lifetime Achievement recipients Mayor Steve Luecke and sculptor Tuck Langland while sipping adult beverages from a cash bar, munching on sweet treats, and mingling in support of the South Bend Art Museum. Toes tap as the live tunes of The Marquis with Terry Austin float in and out of aural canals, much like the advice of a loving Q-tip.
Today, millions of people live and thrive among the streets and skyscrapers of Chicago, but at one time the bustling metropolis had only one resident—namely, the city's apocryphal, somewhat legendary founder, Jean Baptist Point DuSable. A Haitian of French and African descent, DuSable was the first of Chicago's great African Americans, a company that includes the city's first black mayor, Harold Washington. In one of the DuSable Museum's standing exhibits, the Thomas Miller mosaics, portraits of DuSable and Washington peer out along with eight of the founding members of the museum—a constellation of lodestars reminding visitors to maintain Chicago's diverse heritage.
While the mosaics incorporate the museum's own story, other exhibits examine African American achievements of all kinds. Red, White, Blue & Black, for instance, examines the contributions of black men and women in the armed forces, while voices from the past sing out in Spread the Word! The Evolution of Gospel, a survey of Chicago-based gospel greats such as Mahalia Jackson and Thomas Dorsey. In A Slow Walk to Greatness: The Harold Washington Story, visitors explore the nuances of the momentous campaign through memorabilia and more than 150 mayoral artifacts. An animatronic likeness of Mayor Washington himself even steps in to relay stories and first-hand accounts made possible by animatronic robots' ability to travel through time. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts musical performance, film festivals, and book signings that introduce members to more aspects of African American history, including the scholars who continue to uncover it.