As the weather warms and spring break approaches, you may be looking for a change of pace. Consider taking a one tank trip to one (or more) of the many family-friendly destinations within the state, including the following list of some family favorites.
Columbus’s kidscommons Children’s Museum offers three floors with interactive exhibits, the most popular being a giant toilet (yes, you read that right!) Children can climb into the colossal commode and crawl or slide down its plumbing. The toilet has attracted national attention to the museum and even appeared twice on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Other popular exhibits include a climbing wall, art studio and bubble-ology room.
Within the same kid-friendly city block of kidscommons, families can visit Zaharakos, a century old ice cream parlor; and The Commons, a spacious, free indoor playground.
Fort Wayne attractions
To see one of the top ten zoos in the nation, visit the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, which spans 42 acres with over 1,500 animals. Special attractions include the Sky Safari and the Australian Outback. This summer guests can feed giraffes, get up close with a lion and see the splendor of the Great Barrier Reef.
Science Central is a three-story interactive museum that fuses family entertainment with science education. Visitors flock to the high rail bike where brave participants ride a cycle 25 feet off the ground. Children can plunge down the museum’s giant slide. The swap shop allows guests to bring treasures from nature (think pinecones, rocks and fossils) to the shop and trade them for an object in the swap shop collection.
Another Fort Wayne “must see” is the Early Learning Center at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, a hands-on, interactive art studio designed for young children up to age eight. Also, be sure to catch a TinCaps baseball game while you’re in town with seats starting at just $5
Fair Oaks Farms
Roughly two hours north of Indianapolis sits Fair Oaks Farms. The facility boasts acres of outdoor fun, interactive farm exhibits and dining opportunities. Families can tour the “Dairy Adventure” and “Pig Adventure.” Both tours are included in the price of admission and shuttle visitors through a modern pig farm and dairy facility. Mooville, an outdoor adventure area complete with a climbing wall, train and more, opens on Memorial Day.
Abe Martin Lodge
Nestled in Nashville’s Brown County State Park, Abe Martin Lodge opened the first indoor water park within a state or national park lodge. The 12,000 square-foot water park includes a zero-entry pool, water slides, water play area and a ten-person whirlpool with a waterfall. Day passes to the water park can be purchased for $15 a day if space is available. Guest can call ahead at 812-988-4418 to ensure there is room.
Walk out of the lodge and into Indiana’s largest state park. Brown County State Park showcases nearly 16,000 acres filled with trails, playgrounds and a saddle barn that offers trail and pony rides (opens March 15). While you’re there, be sure to take a stroll around downtown Nashville with its quaint shops, ice cream parlors and candy stores.
Indiana Cave Trail
Indiana Cave Trail includes four Southern Indiana caves. Visit all four and receive a free t-shirt!
At Bluespring Caverns, located in Bedford, visitors travel through the cavern on a one-hour boat tour. Above the caverns, the Bolton Natural Area includes a view of one of Indiana’s largest sinkholes (covering over 15 acres).
Three caves sit near Corydon. Guests at Indiana Caverns take a 1 hour and 20 minute walking tour with a boat ride through Indiana’s longest cave. Neighboring Marengo Cave is a National Natural Landmark. The cave can be explored through hiking trips. Sister facility Cave Country Canoes offers canoe rentals on the Blue River.
Nearby Squire Boone Caverns escorts visitors down 73 stairs into the cavern with views of rushing rivers and waterfalls.
Many more family-friendly destinations dot the state. Load up the family and enjoy the discoveries!