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.
Where prospectors once used the running waters of a river to search their hauls for gems and gold, Copperhead Creek Gem Mining Company employs a winding wooden sluice. Deputized geologists shovel scoops of raw material sourced from 12 mines into wire mesh sifters, allowing the current to carry off the dirt and reveal the colorful stones that lie within. The company also offers bags of mining rough that are likely to contain fossils and arrowheads, along with geodes that visitors can crack at home by using a hammer or throwing them really hard against a tree.
Bites of Bloomington Food Tours introduces groups to foodie destinations off the town's beaten paths. On Saturdays, tour guides and participants head out to savor treats such as Turkish cuisine at Turkuaz Café, baked goods at Sweet Claire Gourmet Bakery, and ice cream at The Chocolate Moose. Groups learn more about Bloomington's neighborhoods, too, as the guides point out interesting historical and architectural sites along the way.
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While Daniel Boone busied himself gallivanting about the wilderness in search of the perfect hat, his brother led a much more peaceful life. Squire Boone surrounded himself with caverns filled with waterfalls and stalagmites and a tranquil pioneer village. Now named for him, Squire Boon Caverns and Village not only accommodates tours deep within its caves, but high above its forested floor through Squire Boone Caverns Zipline Course.
Designed for ages seven and older, each 90- to 120-minute treetop trip begins on the ground for a brief training session and equipment fitting. Once snugly secured in full body harnesses and adequately disguised as squirrels, participants embark on journeys that climb up to five stories above terra firma. Tours traverse a swinging suspension bridge and glide on six ziplines over the caverns and village, as well as acres of neighboring forests and ravines.