Check Out Indiana’s Winter Delights

Do you have room in your holiday calendars for a few wintry Indiana activities? Maybe you’re in need of something to entertain your children over winter break, or you’re in search of fun activities to get yourself in the holiday spirit.

We’re enjoying fairly mild weather now, but there are plenty of activities in Indiana to explore whether the weather is great – or frightful. If you’ve got time in December to get out and enjoy some sights and sounds of the season, here are a few things central Indiana has to offer:

  • Festival of Trees: The Indiana Historical Society has 80 Christmas trees decked out in Hoosier-related flair through January 6. Dates, times and ticket prices are available here. You can also check out the Indiana Experience while you’re there.
  • Lights at the Brickyard: What’s more Hoosier than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Take a drive around the oval and cross over the yard of bricks while you take in over 2.5 million twinkling lights (set to music, if you choose). This year’s expanded route is more than two miles long. Be patient on the weekends for long lines, but weeknights experience typically lighter traffic. Get tickets and times.
  • Christmas at the Zoo: Another Indianapolis staple, Christmas at the Zoo features the animals that don’t mind the cold and lights throughout the property. Get tickets online.
  • Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg: If model trains are your thing, this is the place to be. Nine working model trains zip past Indiana landmarks and then out west to some of America’s natural and man-made wonders. New this year is a model train trip to Hollywood. The event runs through January 15. Tickets and dates available here.
  • L.S. Ayres Tea Room: Though L.S. Ayres department store closed downtown in 1990, the Indiana State Museum has recreated the famed L.S. Ayres Tea Room as a restaurant with a heaping side of nostalgia for those that recall dining in the original. It’s impressive – the ambiance and lighted windows give the feel of being on the eighth floor of the department store. The tea room is open through January 7 and includes special events such as Santa’s Holiday Breakfasts and Tea with Raggedy Ann.
  • Polar Bear Express: Put on by the Indiana Transportation Museum, the Polar Bear Express train ride departs from Kokomo or Logansport and features an approximately 75-minute trip, complete with candy canes, hot cocoa, a holiday story read aloud and, of course, visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Tickets are $35 per person (kids too) and reservations are required.
  • Veal Family Ice Tree – For several years, my family lived near Shelbyville and when we’d drive on Interstate 74, my brother and I would always keep an eye out for the colorful ice tree that peaked out among the foliage. That’s the Veal Family Ice Tree! While this one is definitely off the beaten path, it’s a nostalgic place for many. The ice tree typically takes shape in January and is melted by March. This one is, of course, dependent on the weather. So, if you’re one of those that loves a freezing winter, take advantage of a Hoosier original! Check their Facebook page for updates.

We know there are many more things to do in Indiana during the winter months than what we have highlighted here. Did we miss one you love? Let us know in the comments! What do you enjoy doing this time of the year?

Christmastime in Indiana

Indiana’s Best: Fall Festivities

‘The Right Way’: Faegre Baker Daniels Attorney Stuart Buttrick a 2016 Volunteer of the Year

Stuart Buttrick believes in the power of community, particularly the Indianapolis community and its citizens working toward a common good.

Buttrick, a labor and employment law attorney at Faegre Baker Daniels, has a long list of civic involvement. And it starts at home, where Buttrick and his wife make volunteering a family affair and emphasize to their young children the importance of giving back.

“Ultimately, I just want (my children) to be happy and kind people. I won’t profess to be a good role model in that regard, but that’s what I’d like for them to be. We emphasize helping others in our house and doing things for others,” he notes.

“It’s good for the community and good for a person to help others. We’re all in this together.”

Buttrick serves as a director on several boards for organizations throughout Central Indiana, including the Indianapolis Zoo, Park Tudor school, the Woodstock Foundation and the Indiana United Methodist Children’s Home in Lebanon…

Read the full story in BizVoice.

stuart

Indiana INTERNnet to Host Three Summer Networking Events for Interns, Mentors

11426423_10152873854022019_392804323429235257_o

Roche Diagnostics interns enjoy a day at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Indiana INTERNnet will host a series of intern networking events this summer to encourage community engagement.

Interns from organizations throughout Central Indiana are invited to events at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (June 14), Indianapolis Zoo (July 14) and Indiana State Fair (August 5). Each will offer professional development and networking opportunities in addition to time to explore the venues.

  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis event will begin at 9 a.m. (check-in at 8:30 a.m.) with professional development. Following the programming, attendees will be free to explore the museum at their leisure until it closes at 5 p.m. An optional lunch will be served around noon.
  • The Indianapolis Zoo event will take place from approximately 1-5 p.m. Following professional development programming and zoo experiences, attendees will be invited to enjoy the Animals and All That Jazz concert from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • The Indiana State Fair event will begin at 9 a.m. (check-in at 8 a.m.) with a welcome and networking activity where Pete the Planner will speak to attendees. Interns will be invited to enjoy the fair at their leisure and participate in an optional social media contest administered by Indiana INTERNnet. The contest will conclude in the early afternoon. Fair bucks will be provided for each attendee to be used at food vendors throughout the fair.

In 2015, nearly 200 interns participated in Indiana INTERNnet events at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Indiana State Fair.

A feeling of community connectedness is a significant factor in a young professional’s decision regarding where he or she lives and works.

“Talent retention is at the core of Indiana INTERNnet’s mission,” emphasizes executive director Janet Boston. “To complement the real-world experience interns gain on the job, these engagement events provide an opportunity for them to build relationships through networking and develop community pride.”

Capacity is limited and registration is required. The reservation deadline is June 1 for The Children’s Museum, July 1 for the Indianapolis Zoo and July 15 for the Indiana State Fair. Contact Katie Coffin to RSVP at INTERNnet@indianachamber.com or (317) 264-7535.

Indianapolis Zoo to Adopt Dynamic Pricing

Heading to the Indianapolis Zoo on a weekend day during the summer? Be prepared to pay more than if you’d gone in the middle of the week and during the off-peak season (or purchased your tickets in advance).

A new online ticketing system uses “dynamic pricing” for the popular Indy attraction. Prices are adjusted based on the day’s projected attendance – hence, busy weekend days during the summer will cost you more.

The Associated Press is reporting the change was spurred by the brand new Simon Skojdt International Orangutan Center, which opened at the end of May. Zoo officials identified the new pricing model as the best way to control crowd numbers to allow visitors to enjoy their experience, especially as crowd numbers are expected to increase by 24% over last year.

A spokesperson for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums told the Associated Press that the Indianapolis Zoo is the only member of the organization to use the dynamic pricing model.

How does it work? Saturday, June 14, for example, will cost over $26 for adult tickets and over $20 for child tickets. Wednesday, June 18, on the other hand, will cost around $15 for adult tickets and $12 for child tickets.

Purchasing tickets in advance leads to lower prices – heavy attendance days in August (Saturdays, specifically) are just over $22 for adults and $17 for children this far out. The web site also warns that ticket prices are higher at the gate (though it doesn’t say by how much). A color-coded calendar on the zoo’s web site makes it easy to identify the more expensive days.

It seems that the pricing model doesn’t affect membership to the zoo: the basic family membership package (two adults and all children under age 21) is still $136 for the year.

Dynamic pricing isn’t a new concept – sports teams have already been using the pricing model. A story in the January/February 2014 edition of BizVoice® takes a deeper look into the trend.

What’s the lowest ticket pricing for the rest of the year? Wednesday, November 19, when it’s $8.70 for adult and $6.70 for child tickets (if you buy them today).

I appreciate the zoo’s forward-thinking to help control crowds without truly pricing people out. Who wants to pay hard-earned money to stand in a crowd five-feet deep to see the lions and tigers and bears (oh my!)? It will be nice to know which days attendance is expected to be heavier and I anticipate more organizations will be moving toward the dynamic pricing model as it becomes more well-known.