Weekend Getaways with Kids: 21 Fun Things to Do in Southern Indiana Indianapolis and Around the State.
Whether you want to get away for the day or go on a week-long vacation, Indiana has plenty to offer children and families. Indiana is a state where you can play, learn, or have thrilling adventures — you never know what you’ll find next. With activities for all ages, Indiana is a place that begs to be explored, town after town. We’ve gathered a list of the best fun things to do in Indiana with kids, so start making your itinerary now.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Known as the largest children’s museum in the world, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a learning playground for parents and children. The facility is home to over 120,000 artifacts and specimens, and features a series of permanent exhibits. You can get up close and personal with dinosaur skeletons, be immersed into Egypt’s history, see the world of China, ride the museum’s carousel, and even watch a live stage show.
Buffalo Trace Park
With a variety of activities sprawled out over 30 acres in Palmyra, Indiana, Buffalo Trace Park lets people of all ages enjoy the great outdoors. The park offers a lake with beach, fishing, a petting zoo, and more. Whether you love camping with tents or want something a bit more modern, Buffalo Trace Park can meet your needs with camping sites and cabin rentals. If stopping by for just a day, it’s the perfect spot for a picnic or you can grill out for a meal in the sunshine, then let the kids run around on one of the property’s three playgrounds. Recreation is plentiful, with tennis courts, basketball courts, disc golf, horseshoe pits, corn hole and volleyball.
Step back in time with an old-fashioned soda fountain drink at Butt Drugs. Founded in 1952, Butt Drugs is a family-owned pharmacy, confectionary and general store located in Corydon, Indiana. A true treat for vintage fans and families alike, Butt Drugs offers a taste of days gone by, with treats made the traditional way. Enjoy delicious hand-dipped ice cream, old fashioned soda, specialty shakes, malts, and more. After you’ve had your dose of nostalgia, don’t forget to browse the shop’s wine inventory, or pick up a piece of the store’s tongue-in-cheek Butt Drugs merchandise.
Once you’ve spent the day exploring what Indiana has to offer, you can relax at a music night at Corydon Live! Each Saturday night, the venue offers a live country music show, and the event is open to families. Kids and parents can dance their cares away as talented musicians take the stage, and you’ll find a great mix of music from oldies to newer tunes. The Corydon Live! Was founded in 1992, and has undergone a renovation to add a digital state-of-the-art sound system.
Harrison County Discovery Center
The Harrison County Discovery Center is a brand-new museum that will offer visitors a fully immersive experience of nature, history, and the word around us. Once at the museum, you can step into the Archivist’s office to explore the local history, caves, and nature. Come see how Corydon and Harrison County have changed through the years, and how we fit into their history and future.
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari Water Park
The city of Santa Claus, Indiana celebrates Christmas year-round, and is also the home of Holiday World, the world’s first theme park. The theme park is open seasonally and features special fall events for Halloween. While there, enjoy free sunscreen, parking, and drinks. It’s a place where even an adult can feel like a kid again as you race in the park’s wooden coaster or spin around on the carousel. In the summer, you can cool off in at Holiday World’s Splashin’ Safari Water Park.
As the 7th largest cave in the United States, the Indiana Caverns is a great stop for cave exploration. The attraction dates back thousands of years and is part of the Binkley Cave System. A tour takes you 110 feet underground, and the 25-minute boat ride lets you see all of the sights and sounds of the caverns. Seeking adventure? The caverns offers an experience known as Deep Darkness, where you’ll plunge into the caverns to explore a cave by kayak in deep darkness. Open to individuals 18 and up, children age 14 to 17 may participate only if accompanied by a parent. he caverns are home to 21 species of troglobites, and even bones dating back to the Pleistocene era. The on-site gemstone mining attraction will let you pan for gemstones, fossils and other surprises, an activity perfect for little ones.
Golf Shores Fun Center
Golf Shores Fun Center is a miniature golf destination for individuals and families. With an outdoor course and indoor course, the facility provides a challenge for golf fans. Inside is a blacklight mini golf course with underwater and jungle themes, and for a small fee, you can purchase 3D glasses to make the blacklight contours come alive! The outdoor course is just as fun, with pools, fountains, and a variety of elevated holes. Golf Shores Fun Center boasts an arcade with classic games and a snack bar for grabbing a bite after your game.
Farm LIFE is a must-see family destination in Lanesville, Indiana. Each fall, the 165-acre farm welcomes families with attractions and activities. You can try to outwit one of the three corn mazes, or see the inner-workings of a working farm with an educational tour. 20 acres of pumpkins await for you at the end of a shuttle ride, but that’s not all. A bungee attraction, pony rides, electric trains, and even pig racing are just a few of the things to do at Farm LIFE. Once you work up an appetite with all that fun, Farm LIFE has a concession stand serving up their famous apple cider slushies, pumpkin caramel cheesecake, funnel cakes and more.
Fancy a show? The Hayswood Theatre in Corydon, Indiana features live theatre for people of all ages. The beloved local theatre regularly features plays, musicals and comedy for residents and guests. Opened in 1969, the venue sees 3,000 people attend each year and is a non-profit cultural destination. Past shows have included The Fantastiks, Miracle on 34th Street, The Miracle Worker, and the Rainmaker, so stop in see and what’s to come.
Squire Boone Caverns Zipline Adventures
Looking for things to do with older kids in Southern Indiana? Adventure is out there when you soar through the air above the forest on a zipline at Squire Boone Caverns Zipline Adventures. Ziplining gives you a unique view of Indiana and is an experience you won’t forget. Adult and children’s zipline adventures are available, with a miniature zipline also available for children aged 3 to 6. The facility features 6 canopy ziplines, and 1 swinging suspension bridge for a big thrill.
Zimmerman Art Glass
Zimmerman Art Glass is a family-run business that opened in 1963 and has seen five generations of glassblowing artisans take up the craft. Zimmerman’s features 110 different pieces of handmade glassware, with products ranging from bottles to paperweights to holiday ornaments. Take home a piece of Corydon’s storied heritage when you visit this historic shop, or watch a demonstration right on-site. All of Zimmerman’s products make lovely gifts and souvenirs.
Harrison County Artisan Center
Local artists are center stage year-round at the Harrison County Arts Center, with a series of rotating exhibits throughout the year. A variety of mediums are explored in the exhibits, with artwork in the form of quilts, photography, sculpture, and mixed media. The non-profit organization also works with regional artists and other non-profits to create thought-provoking exhibits for the community.
The Indianapolis Zoo
It’s time to get wild. Where? The Indianapolis Zoo, of course! The zoo welcomes over a million visitors each year, and it’s easy to see why. You’ll be able to see hundreds of animals and thousands of plants, each in its own biodome or simulated natural habitat. The Indianapolis Zoo is actually a zoo, a botanical garden, and an aquarium. If you want to take your zoo adventure a little further, the Indianapolis Zoo also offers a series of unique animal encounters. The zoo is definitely one of our favorite fun things to do with kids in Indiana.
O’Bannon Woods State Park
O’Bannon Woods State Park is part of Harrison Crawford State Forest, and offers plenty of places to run around and play, no matter the time of year. There are several marked trails to walk and hike, as well as a horse trail. The Nature Center offers free activities to guests, and camping facilities are also available. At O’Bannon Woods State Park, you can spend the day fishing, boating or taking in a demonstration of the park’s working oxen-powered haypress.
Battle of Corydon Memorial Park
The state of Indiana only saw one battle during the Civil War, and you can visit the historic battleground at Battle of Corydon Memorial Park. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and features a restored Civil War canyon, a restored log cabin and even historic reenactments. You can also enjoy a light walk on the wooded trail — rated easy, and perfect for children.
Squire Boone Caverns & Village
Discovered in 1790 by Squire Boone and his brother Daniel, Squire Boone Caverns and Village pay homage to their discovery. A new passageway will open in 2017. Multiple activity options have sprung up around the caverns, with a pioneer village, cavern tours and more. While at the pioneer village, you can watch candlemaking demonstrations and make your own candle, then grab a sweet treat at the village’s candy factory. The sluice is where you can mine for “fool’s gold” and other gemstones, then head over to Boone’s Mill, a working grist mill from the 1800’s! You can even pick up a bag of cornmeal or pancake mix made from the grain of the mill.
Tibbs Drive-in Theatre
Drive-in movie theaters are rare, but they’re still popular in the Midwest. Let your kids see how fun watching a movie under the stars can be at the Tibbs Drive-in Theatre in Indianapolis. The family-owned and operated theatre features two movies for the price of one, and has four screens. On-site concession stands with pizza, hot dogs, popcorn and candy make the experience a delicious one.
Hayswood Nature Reserve
The Hayswood Nature Reserve is 150 acres of land designed to preserve nature, and is in the middle of a 311-acre park in Harrison County. The quiet and serene land features several nature trails on which you can enjoy your surroundings — it’s a great spot to get away for a few hours. Wildlife projects and birdhouses can be spotted along the paths, and you may see several creatures during your visit. A recreation portion of Hayswood features shelter houses, a fishing lake, walking trails, a playground, and open-use fields.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Speed is the name of the game at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The world-famous racetrack is home to the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400, though there’s plenty more to see beyond those famous races. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, located on-site, was opened in 1956 and lets you explore the rich history of Indiana racing. Your little car fan can see IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One, Sprint, Midget, motorcycle races, and drag racing vehicles, plus you can participate in a narrated track lap in an IMS bus. This is definitely one of the more exciting things to do with kids in Indiana.
WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology
WonderLab, located in Bloomington, is where people of all ages can have hands-on learning and fun with science. Over 65 exhibits let children explore and chase their curiosity of the world. You’ll even find a special area for children age 6 and younger with tree house climbing structures, light tables, and other hands-on exhibits in a protected space. The WonderLab features a bubble exhibit, garden, live animals and insects, science nights, family activities and more.
Did we miss any other Fun Things to Do with Kids in Indiana with Kids this weekend?
Let us know in the comments below. Or see our entire list of Indiana Attractions.