Today we had five priorities when we walked out of the hotel: Chocolate shop, Indianapolis Temple, Trader Joe’s, playtime at a park, covered bridge.
Once the people finally woke up (10am, thank you 11pm bedtime and hotel blackout curtains), we went out for the day. We started off at The Best Chocolate in Town, where we loaded up on chocolate-covered pretzels. Then we popped in at Trader Joe’s where we loaded up on some snacks and picnic supplies and hunted for the elusive state-specific Trader Joe’s reusable shopping bag, but alas, there is no Indiana version. (I have a Texas one and an Arizone one. Does your state have one?)
I looked on coveredbridgemap for a covered bridge nearby and found one not too far from the area we were heading to, near the Indy suburbs of Fishers and Carmel. We headed up that way only to discover that the bridge we were looking for was in the fantastic Conner Prairie Interactive History Park.
We pulled in just as the field trip buses were loading up to take the fieldtrippers back to school, so by the time we got in we had the place nearly to ourselvecs. Inside there was a lovely imaginary play area with forts and art stations and reading areas, and RoRo’s favorite, a playhouse. This child is never happier than when she is hosting a tea party.
Once we ventured outside, the kids played with a week-old lamb and petted a calf in the barns as we explored the grounds.
We crossed the covered bridge to “Dupont, Indiana,” which depicts the Confederate Morgan’s Raid that came into the Indiana and the North from Kentucky in 1863. They had a fun little indoor playground where the kids dressed in period costumes and put each other in jail for various crimes. This little Miss Pickle was delighted to finally be able to model the fashions of the day after spending the previous two days in her bonnet from St. Louis.
Then, my favorite, we wandered into Prairietown, an 1836 frontier Indiana town. Emma Higbee was born in 1836 (though on the frontier of western Missouri), so the kids got to see a town representing her era. They explored a general store and a small schoolhouse, spoke with some townspeople and helped sweep and cleanup a prairie home.
The best moment was when they helped some boys who were chopping firewood at the Eagle Inn. They boys cut the kindling, and then my kids helped stack it on the wood porch of the Inn. As they worked, they asked us, “Where have you traveled from?”
I answered, “Arizona,” but then said, “Well, Arizona Territory.”
Then I did the math again and realized that in 1836 Arizona was still decidedly part of Mexico, so I said, “Well, Mexico right now, I guess.”
The innkeeper rested his axe on the stump and looked at me: “Ah, Spaniards.”
Too soon it was 5pm and time to leave Conner Prairie — but again, thanks to Daylight Savings, we still had hours of daylight to burn. We took toys and picnics to a nearby park where the kids made immediate friends with a bunch of Indianans. They played and swung and cartwheeled and slid and climbed and somersaulted, explored in the woods and hid in the prairie, and barely had time to eat a peanut butter sandwich.
(This person travels by cartwheel. No grass is safe.)
Hours later as the sun began to set, we left the park in Fishers and headed to Carmel, Indiana, where the Indianapolis Temple is almost finished. The open house will be held in just a few weeks, but even though they’re just finishing up construction we still wanted to go over and see it.
I love the way the new temples are incorporating local culture into their architecture, and the Indy temple was no exception. When I first saw renderings of the temple it kind of reminded me of the Phoenix Temple — long and low with a single spire. But when we drove up on it the spire was much more substantial than it had looked in drawings, and it called to my mind monuments we had seen when we’d arrived in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis World War Memorial and the Soldier’s and Sailors’ Monument are beautiful, iconic structures, and the temple spire draws inspiration from these two local institutions.
After taking some photos and loving the temple, it was finally time for the sun to set and for us to get ourselves to bed. We drove through a tunnel of trees on our way back south into the city, and the kids were amazed at the greenery.
We had a great time exploring Indianapolis, but tomorrow we will pack up the car and begin the #PioneerGirl and Emma Higbee days of our trip. We are so excited!