Ten things kids who grew up in Evansville in the 90s will remember

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It’s hard to believe, but Millennials are now in their 30s and 40s, and now giving their own kids ‘back in my day’ stories. Stories about anxiously waiting to get your photos developed, eagerly watching TV to see if your school will show up on the ticker of schools closed due to snow, trips to Blockbuster, and having virtual pets like the Tamagotchi. Here is a list of some places and memories that have a special place in the hearts of Evansville adults who grew up during the 90s.

A League of Their Own

One of Evansville’s big ‘claims to fame’ is the blockbuster film, “A League of Their Own.” Several scenes from the 1992 picture were filmed at Evansville’s Bosse Field, among other locations in the Tri-State. Many adults will remember the excitement of Hollywood coming to town, and can probably show you exactly what scene they had a small cameo in.

Mesker Park Zoo monkey boat

The monkey boat opened in 1933 and was an instant hit with families, and 90’s kids loved it, too. The boat was a replica of the Santa Maria. As home to the zoo’s monkeys, the playful primates would often share ‘small presents’ with visitors. In 2002, the attraction was turned into a bumper boat ride for kids. In 2018, the boat was given a serious cleaning, a new coat of paint, and had some concrete repair work done.

Courtesy: Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library Digital Archive

Thunder on the Ohio

From 1979 to 2008, hydroplanes would roar across the Ohio River during Evansville’s Freedom Festival. It was always a thrill to watch the boats race during the hot summer months. While hydroplanes are no longer part of Freedom Fest, the event will be in Owensboro in August.

Washington Square Mall

For kids in the 90s, Washington Square Mall was known for its unique tented roof food court. Opening in 1963, it was the first enclosed shopping mall in the state. Ultimately, the new Eastland Mall which was built just down the road in 1982, eclipsed Washington Square, and the mall struggled to retain tenants.

Discovery Zone

This was THE birthday party destination for kids in the 90s. It was a maze of tubes and tunnels and ball pits. Discovery Zone filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996, but a new location just opened this month in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Wayne’s weather music

When you heard these three notes, you knew severe weather was coming. This video clip is from Jan. 3, 2000 when an F3 tornado hit Owensboro.

Some news stations switched network affiliation

There was a big affiliation switch in 1995 where three of the four local stations traded hands. The company that owned WTVW, which was affiliated with ABC at the time, sold the station to Petracom. Since FOX owned 20% of Petracom, WTVW switched to a FOX affiliation. This meant that WEHT, WTVW, and WEVV all had to switch affiliation. WFIE remained an NBC affiliate.

Reitz Hill

Quite possibly the best sledding spot in Vanderburgh County – Reitz Hill. We haven’t had a good snow in recent years that would make sledding fun, but back in the 90s, you knew every winter that you would be hitting this hill.

Courtesy: I grew up in Evansville, Indiana Facebook page

Roberts Stadium

We had some great concerts during the 90s. Elton John, Boyz II Men, John Mellancamp, Hall & Oates, Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and Reba McEntire all performed at Roberts Stadium. Kids who graduated high school in Henderson had their graduation ceremony at Roberts Stadium.

Courtesy: USI Digital Archives

Bruce Pearl and the USI Men’s Basketball team

In 1992, Bruce Pearl became the head coach of the University of Southern Indiana’s Men’s Basketball team. Pearl and the Screaming Eagles won the team’s first national title in 1995. From 1992 to 2001, USI went to nine straight NCAA D-II tournaments, won four GLVC regular season titles, and compiled a record of 231–46.

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