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Nearby Indianapolis Makes for a Great Escape!

Pedal Boating in White River State Park, Indianapolis
Pedal Boating in White River State Park, Indianapolis
Mary Casey-Sturk

Needing a break, but not having much time off, we decided to head to nearby Indianapolis for a weekend of family fun.

We opted to stay downtown which proved to be a good choice. Indianapolis is a very walkable city and we were able to easily navigate the area and enjoyed a leisurely stroll around downtown from our base near the impressive State Capital.

We headed to the White River State Park. This urban park features many family friendly attractions including:

Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens-Here you will find 64 acres including the zoological park, aquarium, and botanical gardens. Over 250 animal species are represented. Seasonal activities include the Dolphin Adventure Show and Flights of Fancy Exhibit.

NCAA Hall of Champions-Experience all 23 sports of the NCAA in this newly renovated interactive facility including sports simulators and hands-on displays. Will you break a sweat?

Victory Field-Home to the Indianapolis Indians (Triple A Club), offers a great opportunity to enjoy a baseball game in an intimate setting-in fact, the 14,500-seat ballpark has received numerous local and national accolades including being named “Best Minor League Ballpark in America” by Sports Illustrated and Baseball America!

Indiana State Museum-Science, art and culture are wonderfully represented here. Visit the 92 County Walk: every county in Indiana is represented with original sculptures incorporated into the buildings, sidewalks and stair railings. It’s pretty cool. IMAX Theatre on site offers up selections such as Great White Shark 3D and The Last Reef 3D; Cities Beneath the Sea.

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art-Showcasing the culture and history of American Indians and Western culture, from the galleries to the inspired café menu.

Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn-A great place for concerts and other events, it is celebrating its 10th year of bringing people together.

The park also has many green spaces and a wonderful array of public art.

You can also take a Segway tour, or give your legs additional work out time with pedal powered bike and boat rentals.

The Children’s Museum Indianapolis has topped many lists as the best children’s museum in the United States, and it’s easy to see why. From the moment you approach the building, you know you are someplace special. Packed with amazing installations and engaging exhibits, it’s difficult to narrow down what makes this space so special. I suppose the smiles on faces of children says it all. From the towering Chihuly Firework of Glass sculpture to the historic Dentzel Carousel to the 55 tom Ruben Wells Steam Engine-everywhere you look creates a memory.

Monument Circle is packed with history, the Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District encompasses 24 acres of monuments, sculptures, statues and sculptures and certainly reminds families of the important sacrifices so many have made in support of freedom.

Dotting the circle are some unique places to shop and people watch including: the Southbend Chocolate Company with a tantalizing selection of tasty (albeit diet busting and nap reducing) treats, Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop provides a huge variety of unique beverage options, your favorite childhood treats and your children’s new favorite treats, and Giorgio’s Pizza (pizza by the slice-so yummy, we came back again).

More shopping can be found at the Circle Center Mall. Conveniently connected to seven downtown hotels, there are over 100 choices here for shopping and eating including the stores: Carson Pirie Scott, H & M and Gap Kids. A United Artist Theatre offers up a wide selection of movie options.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum (just 5 miles from downtown) is located on the grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and is one of the most highly visible museums in the world devoted to automobiles and auto racing! In 1987, the museum and Speedway grounds were honored with the designation of National Historic Landmark. Approximately 75 cars are on display alongside other memorabilia and you can also hop on a bus for a tour of the 2.5 mile famous track!

Lucas Oil Stadium is home to the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Plan ahead and catch a game! Fun fact: The retractable roof takes approximately 9 minutes to close. The steel trusses that support the roof are over 750 feet long, which is as tall as some of the taller skyscrapers in Indianapolis!

This is just a sampling of what Indianapolis offers for families. An easy drive from Cincinnati, Indianapolis makes for a great weekend trip or longer!

For more information about planning your trip, visit:

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