Plan your next Indiana family vacation in South Bend, Spencer County, Fort Wayne or Indianapolis for an unforgettable family adventure. Check out some of what they have to offer below.
Indianapolis: Basketball and Brickyards
If you are looking for a family vacation that is rich in sports tradition, then Indiana’s capital is a no-brainer. The 103-year-old Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of the premier racing venues in the world. Home to the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and Indianapolis Grand Prix, the racetrack is also the site of the Hall of Fame Museum, which is located within the 2.5-mile oval. Winning racecars and driver memorabilia are among the items on display. The Brickyard Crossing public golf course has four of its holes inside the oval to give golfers an interesting backdrop when out on the links. Whatever be can saunter these people on top of us would never understand
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a great drop spot for Indianapolis family vacations. It’s the largest children’s museum in the world, with 472,900 square feet of space and more than 120,000 artifacts. Activities and exhibits include a Hot Wheels for Real racetrack, LEGO Travel Adventure, Dinosphere fossil display, blown-glass gallery, SpaceQuest Planetarium, Playscape water area and a carousel.
Lucas Oil Stadium is home to the NFL Indianapolis Colts, and Banker’s Life Stadium plays host to the NBA Indiana Pacers and WNBA Indiana Fever. AAA baseball’s Indianapolis Indians play at Victory Field with the skyline just past center field. Sports movie fans can see the building that inspired Hoosiers at Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University.
The Indianapolis Zoo is a great place for families to enjoy an afternoon. In addition to its hundreds of species, aquarium, dolphin pavilion and botanical garden, the zoo has several rides for children and a Splash Park.
Discover Science and Family History in Fort Wayne
The three converging rivers that Fort Wayne was built around now offer 24 miles of scenic walking paths throughout the city. Parks around the waterways offer central locations for family vacations. Northside Park, not far from downtown, has a barn and pavilion for gatherings, plus playgrounds, tennis courts, soccer fields and a water park.
A former electrical power plant has been transformed into Science Central, an interactive science center that appeals to all ages. Permanent exhibits include a tidal pool, moonwalk and weather station. Kids Central offers children the chance to use a bubble creating machine, get wet at a water table, climb on a multilevel play structure and play a giant piano by running and jumping on its keys.
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is tailored especially for the kids in your Fort Wayne, Indiana family vacation. The 38-acre park includes an African safari of lions, leopards and zebras, and children get the chance to hand feed a herd of giraffe. Other areas include Orangutan Valley, Tiger Forest and Australian Adventure, where a dugout canoe ride takes you close to the wildlife. Additional rides and kid-friendly features make this one of the top children’s zoos in the country.
Discover your family tree at the Genealogy Center in the Allen County Public Library. With more than 350,000 printed volumes and over 513,000 items of microfilm, the center has one of the largest research collections available to the public. The collection already includes over 55,000 volumes of compiled genealogies, and a trained staff is ready to help you locate your ancestors.
The Fort Wayne Firefighters Museum looks back at 160 years of firefighting in the city. The museum is located downtown in an old firehouse and features artifacts and equipment used by the city’s earliest firefighters.
Meet Santa Claus in Spencer County
Christmas never ends in Spencer County, which is home to the holiday-themed town of Santa Claus. Attractions such as the Santa Claus Museum, Santa’s Candy Castle, Frosty’s Fun Center, Santa Claus Christmas Store, Santa Claus Post Office, Santa’s Lodge, Santa’s Stables and a Santa statue keep the holiday cheer going for 365 days a year.
Holiday World was America’s first theme park and still has plenty of holiday-themed rides to go along with its thrillers. The Voyage is considered to be one of the best wooden roller coasters in the world, and the Wildebeest within the park’s Splashin Safari is the longest water coaster on the planet. Different areas of the park highlight major holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween and the Fourth of July.
Just five miles from Santa Claus you can see a replica of Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana Boyhood Home. The 16th president spent 14 years of his life in Spencer County, and the national memorial where the house stands also features two memorial halls and a museum. Also on the site is the Lincoln Pioneer Village, which has 14 Lincoln-era replica cabins, a schoolhouse and a church.
Luck of the Irish in South Bend
South Bend is best known for the historic University of Notre Dame, and the 170-year-old Catholic school is best known for Fighting Irish football. The Irish have played at Notre Dame Stadium in the heart of campus for more than 80 years. Seven Heisman Trophy winners have played in the hallowed stadium, which seats over 80,000 fans and has been sold out for every game for over 30 years.
Notre Dame’s campus is an attraction in itself. Classic Gothic buildings with ivy-covered walls and large quads make it hard for other college campuses to compare on an architectural level. Iconic landmarks such as Touchdown Jesus, the Golden Dome, Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes and Basilica of the Sacred Heart add to the history and charm of the classic campus.
The Studebaker National Museum features a permanent collection of original Studebaker automobiles as well as exhibits with other brands of cars from around the world. The recently opened Studebaker Super Service Center gives kids the chance to try their hands at working on a car in an interactive exhibit.
The South Bend Chocolate Company has been serving a wide assortment of fine chocolate for over 20 years. The cafe serves everything from red candied dried tart cherries to peanut butter meltaway chocolate. Factory and museum tours are also available at the company’s corporate offices.