News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 17, 2013

Fathers take time out to spend quality time with children, grandchildren

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A big, circular white cloud rose up through the tall atrium as Mike Woods held his 4-year son, Nathan, Sunday at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum.

“It’s from dry ice,” Mike told his son, who had pushed down on a large black bladder to force a bellowing cloud skyward.

Mike, along with wife, Shelly, and nearly 2-year-old daughter, Brooke, were among the first to take advantage of the museum when it opened its doors at noon on a rainy day.

“It’s Father’s Day, and this is a good family place. We have been here once before,” Shelly Woods said, adding it was their daughter’s first museum visit.

“We get to spend time one on one with the kids and they get to learn something,” Mike Woods said.

Fathers and grandfathers were admitted free Sunday in celebration of Father’s Day.

“We are looking for ways to give back to the community,” said Lynn Hughes, the museum’s executive director.

“We do the same thing for Mother’s Day. It is a great way for kids to do something for their dads by taking them to the museum and get in free.

“It is just fun. It is a nice chance for [children and fathers] to spend time together,” Hughes added.

Jeremy Busenbark brought his three children, ages 4 to 7, to the museum with his girlfriend.

“I drag raced Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. [Father’s Day] is just a mellow out, kinda take-it-easy day. We just came out for something to do,” Busenbark said, who said he regularly visits the museum with his children.

Mike Howard brought his three grandchildren, ranging in age from 6 to 8.

“Two are visiting from North Carolina and another from South Carolina. I am kinda babysitting and it was raining, so this is a good place to be,” he said.

Children could decorate a wooden picture frame for their dads or a wind chime. In addition, they could color in a Happy Father’s Day page or create a Father’s Day card.

Skies cleared about 2 p.m., becoming partly cloudy about 5:30 p.m. It was still good weather at Bob Warn Field at the Terre Haute Rex game for Mark Engle and his daughter, Ariella, and friends Brian Shearer and his daughter, Abigale, 6, all of Brazil.

Ariella and Abigale wanted to attend the game to run the bases.

“It was Ariella’s idea. We came to our first baseball game here a week ago,” Mark Engle said.

On the way home, Ariella said she and friend Abigale “read the schedule” and saw a Father’s Day event, allowing them to run the bases with their dads.

“They were screaming out every game in the back seat,” Engle said.

Abigale said she planned to win a race around the bases, bringing a smile to her father, Brian, who is softball coach at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

John and Shelly Gardner, along with daughter, Sydney, had a two-fold reason to attend the Rex game. First, their son, Cody, plays for the Rex team. He plays for Wright State University during the collegiate year.

“We’re here regardless with Cody playing, but being a special occasion of Father’s Day, and the sun is out, what better place is there to be but at the ball park to watch your son play ball?” John Gardner said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or