Conner Prairie tops attendance, membership marks

Conner Prairie set multiple attendance records in 2017, the interactive history museum in Fishers announced Wednesday evening at its annual meeting.

 A total of 428,602 visited Conner Prairie in 2017, an all-time high for the 84-year-old tourist attraction. That number rose by 37,341 people over the previous year.

Visitors came from 46 states and 22 foreign countries.

Membership grew to a record high of 8,267 families, consisting of 39,332 adults and children.

Attendance records also were set at Symphony on the Prairie (123,855) and the Headless Horseman fall festival (40,283). The museum drew 11,570 guests during three free admission days, including a record 4,757 visitors on President’s Day.

The museum said 21,005 people took rides in the museum’s tethered helium balloon in 2017, generating a record $231,048 from the 9-year-old attraction.

Conner Prairie reported preliminary total revenue for the year of $11.28 million and expenses of $11.27 million.

The museum received help from 575 adult volunteers who gave a combined 41,273 hours of service to the museum and 100 youth volunteers who contributed 120 hours each throughout the year.

In 2018, Conner Prairie plans to continue adding amenities and activities.

Makesmith Workshop, a year-round makerspace exhibit that opened this month, will continue to expand.

Fort Hoosier, a 100,000-square-foot addition to Treetop Outpost that promotes free play in nature, will open March 27 when Conner Prairie kicks off its outdoor season.

Improvements are also planned for Animal Encounters and for River Crossing, the indoor-outdoor water play area inside Civil War Journey.

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