Evansville, Indiana

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MyWikiBiz A busy river port during the steamboat era, Evansville has retained much of its historic appearance. Visitors will find houses representing nearly every major architectural style of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

At Fourth and Vine streets is the restored Beaux-arts Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse, which houses offices and the Vanderburgh County History Museum and Art Gallery. The courthouse interior is noted for its marble floors, wainscots, oak woodwork, brass handrails and hardware.

Other period structures are the 1885 Italianate Gothic Willard Library at 21 First Ave., the Old Post Office at 100 N.W. Second St. and the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum, 300 Court St. A number of other historic structures line the serpentine Downtown Walkway, a traffic-free redevelopment of the old Main Street shopping district. A motorized trolley traverses the walkway and the downtown area.

Wesselman Park, 551 N. Boeke Rd., Offers diverse recreational facilities including softball fields, sand volleyball courts, handball courts and a fitness trail. Marked trails score the 200-acre park and adjacent 200-acre Wesselman Woods Natnre Preserve, an area of virgin hardwood forest.

Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau: 401 S.E. Riverside Dr., Evansville, IN 47713; phone (812) 425-5402 or (800) 433-3025.

Shoppmg areas: A major shopping area in Evansville is Eastland Mall, 3 miles east of US 41 at 800 N. Green River Rd. The mall contains 140 stores, including DeJongs, Famous-Barr, JCPenney and Lazarus. Washington Square Mall, east of town at Washington Avenue and Green River Road, has Sears and Elder-Beerman as well as a number of specialty shops.

ANGEL MOUNDS STATE HISTORIC SITE, off 1-164 Covert Ave. exit at 8215 Pollack Ave. following signs, is a l03-acre archeological site that was once the location of a prehistoric Moundbuilders' village. The Indians there were part of the ancient Mississippian culture, occupied the land along the banks of the Ohio River A.D. 1100-1450. The reconstructed community includes dwellings for families and some ceremonial structures as well. An interpretive center shows a videotape, and a nature preserve offers birdwalks and trails. Picnic areas are available. Allow 1 hour minimum. Tues.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. 1-5, mid-March to mid-Dec.; closed holidays except Good Friday, Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day. Donations. Phone (812) 853-3956.

EVANSVJLLE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND SCIENCE, 411 S.E. Riverside Dr. in Sunset Park, contains works of art and artifacts covering the disciplines of art, history and science. Artistic efforts range from 2nd-century Roman sculpture to contemporary American paintings.

Family Place and the Koch Science Center offer hands-on looks at science and technology, while the Koch Planetarium allows visitors to experience the Midwestern night sky. Rivertown USA is a reproduction of a 19th-century Midwestern village. The museum also sponsors more than 30 changing exhibitions and cultural events each year. Allow 1 hour minimum. Tues.-Sat. 10-5, Sun. noon-5; closed Jan. 1, July 4, Thanksgiving and Dec. 24-25. Planetarium shows Sat.-Sun. at 1 and 3. Museum admission by donations. Planetarium show $2, children $1. Phone (812) 425-2406, or TDD 421-7506.

MESKER PARK ZOO AND BOTANIC GARDEN, 2421 Bement Ave. off St. Joseph Ave., occupies 70 acres and features more than 700 animals. Animals are allowed to roam freely in their natural habitats surrounded by exotic plants, wildflowers and trees. In addition, the Discovery Center focuses on the world's vanishing rain forests and animals. A butterfly house, petting zoo, paddle boats and a train also are available. Allow 2 hours minimum. Zoo daily 9-4. Butterfly house daily 10-4, May-Oct. Admission $4.75; ages 3-12, $3.75. Phone (812) 428-0715.

REITZ HOME MUSEUM is at 224 S.E. First St. Guided tours are offered of the restored 1871 French Second Empire mansion of John Augustus Reitz, who was once known as the Lumber Baron. His son, Francis Joseph Reitz, redecorated the mansion in 1898. The house contains period furnishings, many of them original. Ornate hand-painted ceilings, intricate plasterwork, gilded chandeliers, decorative mantels, stained-glass windows and parquet flooring are evident throughout. Tours begin in the carriage house visitor center. Tues. -Sat. 113:30, Sun. 1-3:30. Admission $5; students with ID $2.50; under 12, $1.50. Phone (812) 426-1871.

Casino Aztar Evansville, 421 N.W. Riverside Dr. Daily 9 a.m.-5 a.m. Phone (812) 433-4000 or (800) 342-5386. MyWikiBiz