Category Archives: Special program

Get UPCLOSE with butterflies Wed. Sept. 16 at Dani’s Dreams!

butterflies up close poster

Get UpClose with Monarch Butterflies Wed. Sept. 16, 3:30-5 p.m. at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center!

Teacher Brenda Kreutz and the Zion second graders have been working hard, feeding and recording the growth process of close to 50 Monarch caterpillars! The second graders will be conducting tours of the new butterfly pavilion, demonstrating how to feed and hold a butterfly and passing out specially designed stickers.

Willing Hands Designs will be facepainting. Enjoy free treats and check out the debut of Dani’s Dreams newsmat! The event is free and open to all area families.
Donations will be accepted.

How does a paper airplane fly? Find out Friday at Dani’s Dreams Earth Day Challenge!

Grandparents and grandkids  – the challenge is on this Friday at Dani’s Dreams! Kids, get your grandparents and have some old-fashioned fun from 3:30-5 p.m. on April 17. Crafts, activities and fun are planned. One stop on the challenge is the “How Far Can It Fly? station. Here are some tips on how to soar above the rest!


imgresWhat makes a paper airplane fly? Air — the stuff that’s all around you. Hold your hand in front of your body with your palm facing sideways so that your thumb is on top and your pinkie is facing the floor. Swing your hand back and forth. Do you feel the air? Now turn your palm so it is parallel to the ground and swing it back and forth again, like you’re slicing it through the air. You can still feel the air, but your hand is able to move through it more smoothly than when your hand was turned up at a right angle. How easily an airplane moves through the air, or its aerodynamics, is the first consideration in making an airplane fly for a long distance.

Join in the fun for Dani’s Dreams Earth Day Challenge!

Come to Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center April 17, 3:30-5 p.m. for the Earth Day Grandparents/Grandkids “Change the World” Challenge.
Area children will team up with their grandparents to make crafts, take a “How well do you know me?” quiz, plant bulbs and just have old-fashioned fun with bubbles, by making a paper airplane and sharing a Frosty Boy ice cream treat. Every team that completes the challenge will receive a prize!
In celebration of Earth Day, families will also learn about Dani’s Dreams upcoming Butterfly Project, how their home can be a Certified Wildlife Habitat, and about the importance of sustainability to protecting the planet.
Those attending will also be able to cast their vote for the winning T-Shirt Design for the Dani’s Dreams Memorial Walk/Run Aug. 1 at New Palestine High School.
All Southern Hancock Children are invited to take on the Earth Day Grandparents/Grandkids Change the World Challenge. For more information, log onto, Like us on Facebook or email

Dani’s Dreams takes students on ‘Flight Adventures’

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For the fifth year, Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center sponsored family activities for Southern Hancock children by bringing the Children’s Museum to Zion Lutheran School Feb. 11, 6-8 p.m.
Special activities and exhibits allowed students to discover the physics of flight. Families worked together to create a model aircraft, test flight dynamics, and explore air using a wind tunnel.

This event kicked off the year’s activities for Dani’s Dreams…get ready to Change the World in 2015!

Dani’s Dreams is the only outdoor education center in Hancock County – if you would like to be involved through financial support or volunteering, email or call 317-640-4430.

Empowering kids for the future…


In its eighth year, Dani’s Dreams will be providing students throughout Hancock County the chance to “Change the World.” The center’s mission is to empower kids to take responsibility for the environment and its creatures through innovative programs, projects and events. We can tailor your visit and/or your classroom, troop or group project to your educational needs. Support Dani’s Dreams through donations and sponsorships of events and projects. Our membership campaign will begin soon – look for ways you can join Dani’s Dreams Team!

Here are some more highlights from 2014:


useDSC_0247Girl Scouts ‘dig’ Dani’s Dreams adventure

Girl Scout Troop 1134 from St. Michael’s School in Greenfield took a whirlwind tour of Dani’s Dreams in Oct. 21, learning about local birds and their songs, checking out the fossils and then going on their own archaeological dig for authentic fossils of their own. Troop 1134 leaders are Maura Hutchinson and Stephanie Capen.






Dani’s Dreams Kids Share Tree Knowledge

useDSC_0173Trees top the list of wonderful parts of God’s creation and Oct. 14, nearly 30 Southern Hancock students explored the wide variety of trees at Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center. Randy Caster, owner of Hillcrest Tree Farm explained that trees are really the first solar energy machine, taking in sun, water and carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen and sugar for the tree’s food.


photosynthesis_1PHOTOSYNTHESIS: Carbon Dioxide + Water + Light —- Sugar + Oxygen

Students divided into groups, and went on a tree exploration, compiling reports on how trees help humans and animals.

Thanks to Mr. Caster, each student took home their own Norway Spruce tree seedling for fall planting!

Dani’s Dreams reporter Anna Caster, Zion Lutheran student, gives you the fun facts about our towering tree friends.

By Anna Caster

Trees are very beautiful! There are many kinds of trees, such as Norway Spruce, White Pine, Juniper, Tulip Poplar, Maple and Cherry. Trees are useful for many different things in many different ways, such as shade, protection and shelter for animals, paper and wood products, and many other things.

Sam Adam, Audra Bloomer, Bailey Bonham, Danielle Taylor, Lucas Day, Alexandra Miano
Sam Adam, Audra Bloomer, Bailey Bonham, Danielle Taylor, Lucas Day, Alexandra Miano

Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Humans are the exact opposite, we breathe in oxygen and breathe out

carbon dioxide. Trees are helpful in making gum, picnic tables, cutting boards, doors, and trees help keep the soil on the ground from having erosion. Trees are wonderful plants that God made for the enjoyment of humans and animals.

Trees can do so many different things in so many different ways. I love trees and you should too! Get a tree today! The best place to get any kind of tree is Hillcrest Tree Farm.


Dig It A Day of Discovery at Dani’s Dreams

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It was boys versus girls Sept. 23 when kids grabbed their tools and headed for an expedition in the Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education Center’s archaeological dig to find authentic fossils that are hundreds of years old. The children also filed their reports, identified the fossils they uncovered, and created informational booklets on dinosaurs for future Dani’s Dreams visitors.


10425357_10205306225160421_9167101570285832916_n“Twelve Days of Christmas in Indiana” benefits Dani’s Dreams

Dani’s Dreams Director, Donna Griffin reached a long-held dream in October when her children’s book, “The Twelve Days of Christmas in Indiana” was published. Griffin shared and signed the book during a McDonald’s Fundraising Night in New Palestine with proceeds going to support Dani’s Dreams Outdoor Education’s Center’s mission to support innovation and STEM education in and outside of the classroom.


Expanding Our Reach….


With innovative environmental education events and activities, more children than ever took advantage of the chance to make a difference in the world around them at Dani’s Dreams in 2014. Girl Scouts, daycare kids and elementary, middle and high school students and teachers created, learned and discovered during Dani’s Dreams events, sharing their knowledge with others on Dani’s Dreams website, Facebook page and in video reports, stories and posters.


How does Dani’s Dreams gardens grow?

useIMG_5510Quite well, thanks to Zion Lutheran Daycare children who provided the necessary TLC through planting, watering and weeding throughout the growing season. Dani’s Dreams provides children with hands-on learning experiences while developing responsibility and appreciation for the environment.







useDSCN7271VBS Weird Animals

Dani’s Dreams brought Weird Animals activities and a Family Educational Presentation to Zion Lutheran Vacation Bible School in June 2014. Students planted and took their seeds home to “Watch ‘Em Grow!” and made tree badges with their names or pictures and words that showed how they can take care of God’s world.


useDSC_0626Ooey, gooey Ooblick!

Zion Lutheran students took a moment to get in the goo at the Dani’s Dreams table during registration in August 2014. Donations to Dani’s Dreams makes learning moments like this possible. Dani’s Dreams will design a unique learning opportunity for your class, preschool, Scout Troop, daycare or other community group. Email or call 317-640-4430.


Our walk/run is all about growing dreams…

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Dani’s Dreams is all about the little things – seeds, children and moments that remind us all what’s really important. Our run walk is unique – we really do have the “coolest T-shirts on the planet”, designed for the eighth year by a Zion Lutheran student, Audrey Poole, but the walk/run day is a family celebration as well as an athletic event. We’re celebrating how one person’s life and dreams can continue to have a positive impact even after she leaves this earthly world. Children learn how truly powerful they are and what they can accomplish – whether it’s running around the track just one more time, and crossing the finish line with their great grandfather, seeing hundreds of people wearing your design, knowing your drawing is on the door of an educational facility, and above all, discovering and appreciating your small role in God’s awesome creation.

We so grateful for the opportunity to share Dani’s Dreams with the Zion Lutheran Church and School she loved so much and all of the support over these last eight years. We really believe we are just beginning to take root, and are so grateful for the New Palestine community who supported Dani’s Dreams through either signing up and attending the Run/Walk, or donating and volunteering. Thanks to all who signed up and came to walk, to run (even a few feet) to enjoy and to celebrate seeing children reach their dreams!


Girl Scouts ‘dig’ Dani’s Dreams adventure

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Girl Scout Troop 1134 from St. Michael’s School in Greenfield took a whirlwind tour of Dani’s Dreams in Oct. 21, learning about local birds and their songs, checking out the fossils and then going on their own archaeological dig for authentic fossils of their own. Troop 1134 leaders are Maura Hutchinson and Stephanie Capen.

How will El Nino affect your winter weather?

Dani says – Want to find out what the weather will be like this winter and learn about El Nino?
Check out this link from WeatherBug.

Weird Little Animals – Check them out!


•  The jerboa is one of the smallest mammals in the world and is the smallest rodent. Adult females only weigh up to 3.75 grams.





smallest-animals4•  This little seahorse is the smallest in the world, reaching only a length of .54 inches and a height of .45 inches.

Weird Animal Facts – Day 1

weird-hands-helens-flying-frog-5-600x592Helen’s Flying Frog (left) – Check out those mitts! Their webbed hands are similar to those of Wallace’s flying frog, a slightly larger flying frog that can glide up to 50 feet (15 meters) from tree to tree in its jungle habitat of Malaysian Borneo. Flaps of skin on the forearms also help these frogs glide.weird-hands-aye-aye-1-600x400

The Aye-Aye (below) is probably the weirdest of all us primates, the aye-aye’s hands look certifiably villainous, with its long, bony, clawed Nosferatu fingers—especially that extra-long middle one. It uses that to tap-tap-tap on trees to detect hollow places in the bark where delicious insects might be. When it finds one, it bites through the wood and—yoink!—uses that wicked long finger to snap its prey.

* Facts from National Geographic’s website

Check back tomorrow for more weird animals and facts from Dani’s Dreams during VBS at Zion Lutheran School, New Palestine.