Indiana – The Hoosier State

Ah, Indiana! Something for everyone awaits in The Hoosier State. One of the best things about this Midwestern state isn’t a “thing” at all – it’s the people! Here you will find normal, everyday folks who are just like everyone else – with the occasional endearing odd duck type – who work hard, play hard, and who take pride in making their little corner of the world warm and welcoming. This state is known far and wide for its hospitality. This is a place where people still care about the entire community. They come together to celebrate, grieve, lend a helping hand, cry, rejoice, whatever the situation may call for. And while they are certainly modern enough to enjoy all the high-tech goodies that are so popular, they don’t hesitate to gather for a good, old-fashioned county fair or town picnic. No electronic devices are necessary in order for them to make memories with friends and family. The beautiful parks and naturally serene, scenic locations all over the state provide a wide range of places to enjoy spending time together.

Indiana is rich in history and bursting with tons of fun and exciting activities for the whole family. Come for a visit or find yourself a nice little spot and make it home. There are so many great places in Indiana. Read on to learn more about some of the top cities and their attractions.

INDIANAPOLIS

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis is the state capital of Indiana. Some of the state’s most popular attractions can be found here. If you are a fan of auto racing there’s a good chance that you are already well aware that the Mecca of the racing world is located here. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the home of the annual Indianapolis 500. The NASCAR Brickyard 400 is also held here. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was also the location of the Formula One United States Grand Prix from 2000-2007. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975, and in 1987 it was designated a national historic landmark. It is the number one most prestigious site affiliated with auto racing history.

If you visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway make sure to pay a visit to the museum that is located on the grounds as well. The museum opened in 1956. In it, you will find the racing Hall of Fame. For golfing enthusiasts, even more fun is to be had since the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort is also located on the museum grounds. Here, golf enthusiasts will find a 14-hole golf course along the backstretch and on the outside area of the racetrack, as well as 4 holes located in the infield. There are many things to do here at this popular attraction.

The Indianapolis Zoo
Another great attraction located in Indianapolis is the Indianapolis Zoo. The zoo opened in April of 1964 and in its first year alone welcomed more than 270,000 eager visitors. The zoo is designed using the unique concept of biomes. Biomes are places located all over the world that have similar flora, fauna, and climates. The animals at the Indianapolis Zoo are placed in habitats that are as similar as possible to their own natural habitats. The zoo has a total of five distinctive biome areas: Deserts, Forests, Flights of Fancy, Oceans, and Plains.

The zoo is located in White River State Park and includes White River Gardens. The Indianapolis Zoo gained the distinction of becoming the first of its kind to be granted a triple accreditation as a zoo, botanical garden, and aquarium in 1996. More than one million people visit the zoo each year.

You will discover a number of special events and exhibits offered at the zoo. During the summer months, the zoo holds Zoo Camps for unique adventures and fun educational opportunities. Enjoy lots of time here with your entire family.

The Children’s Museum Of Indianapolis
One of the most popular attractions in Indiana’s capital city is The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. This is the largest children’s museum in the entire world. The focus of the museum is fun family learning. The vast majority of the exhibits are interactive, allowing active participation and exciting educational opportunities. The museum was founded in 1925. A wealthy patron named Mary Stewart Carey spearheaded a campaign to create a children’s museum in the city after she visited the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in 1924. The museum was opened in 1926 in Carey’s own mansion, with its earliest exhibits being created and proudly donated by school children.

Today The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis occupies it’s own expansive, 5-floor building and includes classrooms, conservation facilities, the Ruth Allison Lilly Theater which seats 350, and hundreds of exhibits. These exhibits include a mastodon skeleton, a carousel, and a large, simulated cavern. The museum also features an outdoor area for sports activities including football, tennis basketball, soccer, hockey, baseball, golf, and a walk/run track that circles the entire outdoor activity area. The museum is truly an exciting and unique place.

A few honorable mentions near Indianapolis and some of their most popular attractions:

1. Carmel, IN – Carmel Arts and Design District, The Center for the Performing Arts, Peace Water Winery

2. Columbus, OH – COSI, The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Columbus Museum of Art

3. Plainfield, IN – Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Chateau Thomas Winery, Splash Island Water Park

FORT WAYNE

Science Central
In Fort Wayne, you will find Science Central, a popular learning center filled with interactive exhibits and activities. The Center opened in 1995 and today, including the Center’s programs, outreach, and visitors, over 140,000 individuals enjoy the learning opportunities and activities. One of the most popular exhibits has been “In The Dark”, a program that allowed visitors to explore and learn about a variety of environments that exist in darkness and to learn about the life forms that exist in these environments. The Science Center always has a schedule full of exciting educational events to choose from.

Johnny Appleseed Park
This park is named after the famous American pioneer Johnny Appleseed (whose real name is John Chapman), who brought apple trees to a number of places for the first time, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia. He was a gentle, kindhearted, generous nurseryman. He spent the final years of his life in Fort Wayne, and he died there on March 18, 1845. His grave is located in Johnny Appleseed Park. It is a beautiful place full of history to visit and spend some time.

Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory is a seasonal variety showcase garden that features a waterfall, an outdoor exploration terraced garden, a tropical oasis, and a Sonoran Desert display. The Conservatory features more than 1,200 plants of more than 500 different species, along with 72 cactus in the garden display. The Showcase Garden features seasonal plants on display. The butterfly exhibit is a springtime favorite. Bring your entire family to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Conservatory in any season.

Fort Wayne Museum Of Art
The Fort Wayne Museum of Art features something for even the most discerning art enthusiast, from 19th-century pieces and displays to contemporary creations and exhibits. Here you will find exhibits that showcase the connections between artists and artwork spanning a number of cultures, ethnicity, and nationalities. The museum also features an 8,000-volume lending library so that patrons can borrow books to learn about art and the various cultures that speak through it. There is also a Print and Drawing Study Center for the study of the vast collection of artwork that is created on paper, as well as an interactive learning environment for children of all ages. A gift shop, called The Paradigm Gallery, offers a unique array of craft and art objects from more than 75 national and regional artists.

Some honorable mentions near Fort Wayne and their most popular places to visit:

1. Chicago, IL – Millennium Park, The Art Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium

2. Windsor, Canada – Caesar’s Windsor, Ojibway Nature Centre, Craft Heads Brewing Company

3. Toledo, OH – Toledo Zoo, Imagination Station, Toledo Lighthouse Tours

EVANSVILLE

Angel Mounds State Historic Site
Evansville, Indiana is home to the Angel Mounds State Historic Site, a Native American area which features an on-site museum, nature trails, and a dozen earthen mounds. The site was the location of a town which was active from 1100 A.D. to 1450 A.D. It was inhabited by people native to the Middle Mississippian culture. It is believed that as many as 1,000 people lived in the town at its peak, and why the chose to abandon the site is a mystery. In 1964 Angel Mounds was proclaimed a National Historic Landmark. In May of 2006, what is believed to have been a pottery-making workshop-type area was discovered there, bringing to light the rich artistic skills of these early people. It is an amazing place that gives visitors a glimpse into the long-ago life of an ancient civilization.

The Evansville African American Museum
The Evansville African American Museum was founded in 1997 on the former site of Lincoln Gardens, which was one of the original public housing developments that was federally-funded. It allows visitors to learn about the history of the black community of Evansville and its involvement in the national civil rights movement. A unique feature is the oral history and stories visitors can listen to directly from Evansville residents who lived during the days of segregation.

Four Freedoms Monument
The Four Freedoms Monument is the city’s most recognizable and unique landmark. It was erected in 1976 as a numerical representation of our most treasured freedoms in the United States of America. The 13 concentric steps represent the country’s 13 founding colonies. The steps lead the way to 4 columns that are encircled by 50 pedestals. Each pedestal is inscribed with the name of a state as well as the official seal of that state. It was built in 1976 specifically to celebrate the United States Bicentennial. Each of the 4 26-foot columns represents one of the United State’s 4 foundation freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from oppression. It is also said that the base on which the 4 columns stand represents the freedom of the people to peacefully assemble.

Honorable mentions near Evansville and their fun activities:

1. Mt. Vernon – Cypress Swamp Conservatory, Hovey Lake Game and Wildlife Preserve, Harmonie State Park

2. Richland – Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari Water Park, Smothers Park

3. Spottsville – Indiana Beach Boardwalk Resort, Indy Scream Park Haunted House, Newfields Art Museum

SOUTH BEND

The Studebaker National Museum
South Bend, Indiana features the Studebaker National Museum, where classic car enthusiasts can enjoy displays depicting automobiles, carriages, wagons, and a wide array of military vehicles, all related in some way to the Studebaker Corporation. The museum offers 3 floors of displays beginning with vehicles manufactured from 1800-1934 to the vehicles from 1934 on in a separate area, and a display area dedicated to the family history of those responsible for these and other relevant vehicles of the time.

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart
Visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and prepare to be amazed at the beauty of the 44 stained glass windows and the bell tower, which is over 230 feet tall. The Basilica is featured on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of the major tourist attractions in the state. Along with the Basilica, visit the seven side chapels.

Potawatomi Zoo
The Potawatomi Zoo is the second-oldest zoo in the state of Indiana. It opened in 1921 with a single deer which had been donated for display. Today the zoo features more than 400 animals. The zoo specializes in primates, Australian animals, and big cats.

Honorable mentions and their attractions near South Bend:

1. Osceola – Hall of Heroes, Cobus Creek County Park, Treasure Island Park

2. Lakeville – Battle Axed, Escape MSP, Angry Inch Brewery

3. Mishawaka – The Riverwalk, Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Hannah Lindahl Children’s Museum

There is no such thing as the perfect place to live, and Indiana is no different. If there is one blemish on their record as a warm, welcoming state, it is the fact that there is a great deal of intolerance when it comes to alternative lifestyles. Hopefully, this will change as the rest of the country becomes more and more progressive and tolerant.

The best cell phone service in Indiana seems to be a toss-up between AT&T and T-Mobile. Internet service seems to be evenly preferred between two major providers, AT&T and Spectrum. However, when it comes to cable television service, there is one clear favorite: Dish Network. Dish is the #1 choice for a number of reasons, including:

  • Dish network offers a line-up with more than 200 national HD channels and international channels
  • Award winning DVR technology
  • 24/7 sports coverage with the Multi-Sport Pack
  • DishLATINO has the best Spanish and English language programming
  • On Demand library allows customers to choose from over 20,000 TV shows and movies
  • Dish is ranked #1 nationally in customer service by J.D. Power
  • 24.7 customer support
  • HD and high-speed internet bundles available for one convenient payment
  • Hopper whole-home HD DVR allows the customer to pause, rewind, and record live TV in any room with up to 2,000 hours of recording space; can now be paired with any Amazon Alexa-enabled device
  • HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime are free for 3 months for new customers

Indiana has so much to offer, there truly is something for everyone. Experience it all for yourself.