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.
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.
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.
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.
Founded in 1961, the Indiana Railway Museum guides rail-hopping wayfarers on a historic tour along 10 miles of scenic railroad between French Lick and Cuzco. During the 1.75-hour round trip, passengers will visit wooden and limestone train stations from the early 1900s and look out onto historic pieces of rail equipment, such as steam locomotives and Theodore Roosevelt's experimental bourbon-powered bullet train. Throughout the journey, the French Lick Scenic Railway will pass through Hoosier National Forest and the 2,200-foot Burton tunnel before traveling along beauteous lakes and impressive limestone cuts created during John Henry's showdown against the 4G iHammer.
The first Chevrolet Corvette was built in 1953, and though it has received numerous style updates since, its distinctive profile is instantly recognizable whenever it streaks by on the highway. The National Corvette Museum celebrates the history of this consummate American sports car, housing more than 70 specimens from each era of production. Upon entry, guests gravitate to the showroom's massive glass case, inside which a unique model spins on a turntable. Visitors can also sit in a current-era Corvette, leaning back for pictures and and purchasing chances to win one.
As they peruse the exhibits, enthusiasts will recognize one-of-a-kind concept vehicles and special editions, such as the 1983 Corvette, the only one in existience. Interactive exhibits abound, including the educational driving simulators used for teen driver seminars, and the pit crew challenge where you can electronically fuel up and change tires on a Corvette race car. The museum's location even plays a role in the Corvette story; across the street sits the GM Bowling Green Assembly Plant, the only place in the world the iconic sports car is manufactured.