Still firming up your family’s spring break travel plans? Searching for an early summer getaway? You don’t need to leave the state to have a great vacation. Buckle up – we’ve got ideas for four quick trips that will transport your family to major fun!
Take a walk on the wild side in FORT WAYNE
The popular Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo (www.kidszoo.org) celebrates its 50th birthday this summer, says Cheryl Piropato, Education & Communications Director. She says that the zoo strives to create experiences, “rather than simply things to look at.” Special features include an aerial safari ride, Croakie the joke-telling frog and a variety of structures for kids to climb on and interact with. While many of the exhibits will particularly appeal to children 10 and under, “Anyone who’s a kid at heart will enjoy the zoo,” says Piropato.
Wondering what’s new at the zoo? This year, visitors can check the progress of the renovations underway at the zoo’s Australian Adventure exhibit and meet new addition Tara, a rare baby Sumatran orangutan. The zoo opens for the season on April 25th.
If you’re looking for an evening activity to complement your zoo visit, Piropato says that many families enjoy heading to the ballpark for a Fort Wayne Tincaps game. The team’s schedule includes many home games between April and September.
Have a blast with the past in SOUTH BEND
The History Museum (www.historymuseumsb.org) in South Bend is a family-friendly attraction devoted to the history of the St. Joseph River Valley region. Guests can view memorabilia related to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Younger visitors will love the Kidsfirst Children’s Museum, where they can get hands-on with props in a log cabin, one-room schoolhouse and more. Note that hours for Kidsfirst and the museum’s historic houses differ from general museum hours.
At the nearby Studebaker National Museum (www.studebakermuseum.org), visitors can view approximately 70 vehicles displayed in an attractive, modern facility. Notable artifacts include four presidential carriages and a Studebaker “driven” by Fozzie and Kermit from The Muppet Movie.
End your day in South Bend with soup and sandwiches at The South Bend Chocolate Company’s (www.sbchocolate.com) downtown café. You can also snag one of the brand’s caramel corn-based Crunch mixes as a souvenir of your trip.
Enjoy an outdoor escape in MADISON
Ready for some time outside after a long winter? Choose Clifty Inn (www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/inns/clifty) as your base of operations. This Indiana inn features cozy lounges, an indoor pool and an on-site restaurant with views of the Ohio River. Best of all, the hotel is located inside beautiful Clifty Falls State Park where guests can hike trails ranging in difficulty from “easy” to “very rugged.” The waterfalls are at their best between December and June.
When you’re ready for a break from hiking, charming downtown Madison (www.visitmadison.org) offers shopping, dining and scenic trolley rides. Stock up on seasonings at the Galena Garlic Company (www.galenagarlic.com) or pick up a sweet treat at Cocoa Safari Chocolates (www.cocoasafarichocolates.com).
Get an adrenaline rush in RISING SUN
At Dagaz Acres (www.dagazacres.com), adventurous families can choose between one and two-hour group ziplining tours. Those new to this activity will likely want to start with the Premier Zipline Tour, which includes seven ziplines and a swinging bridge. Each tour also includes a “ground school” training session, where participants learn the basics they will need to complete the course.
Zipliners must be at least seven years old. Head to the company’s website for rates, rules and restrictions. Dagaz Acres launches its 2015 ziplining season in March.
As you can see, Indiana has something for everyone when it comes to family fun. Choose a destination from our list and start planning your adventure!