Evansville is the third largest city in the state of Indiana with an estimated population of 115,738 (2006). It is the county seat of Vanderburgh County and the regional hub for the Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois tri-state area. Situated on a gentle horseshoe bend on the Ohio River, the city is often referred to as the "River City." The most popular attraction in the region is Casino Aztar, the first riverboat casino in the state of Indiana. Evansville is also home to both the University of Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana.
Evansville was named an "All-America City" by the National Civic League, due in part to its broad economic base known for its stability, diversity, and vitality. The city has a vibrant performing arts community that is anchored by The Victory Theatre, where the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra performs along with other visiting dance and theatre companies. Large sporting events, concerts and special events are held at the Roberts Municipal Stadium and The Centre downtown. Evansville Civic Theatre has been running a community theatre since the 1920s, making it the longest running in the state.
Annual festivals and community events in the city include the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival, Evansville Freedom Festival, Thunder on the Ohio and the wildly popular Frog Follies. History and culture are celebrated at the Angel Mounds State Historic Site, which is nationally recognized as one of the most well-preserved prehistoric American Indian sites in the United States. Occupied from 1100 to 1450 AD, it was the home of thousands of people known to be part of the Middle Mississippian culture and home of a chief, which explains its size and scope of habitation. Other museums in the area include The Reitz Home Museum, The USS LST 325 that docked in Evansville in October 2005, and the Children's Museum of Evansville.
The city oversees the operation of 65 parks and 21 special facilities encompassing more than 2,300 acres of land in the City of Evansville and Vanderburgh County. Among these are three popular 18-hole public golf courses and one 9-hole golf course. Evansville's Mesker Park Zoo, situated on a 50-acre parcel, opened in 1928. The zoo features over 600 animals roaming freely in natural habitats surrounded by exotic plants, wildflowers, and trees. Another premier facility and learning center can be found at Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve. It is a National Natural Landmark with nearly 200 acres of virgin bottomland hardwood forest and the largest tract of virgin forest located inside any city limits within the United States. The center features exhibits, events, wildlife observation areas, meeting rooms, a library, and gift shop.