A Kid-Friendly Hoosier Visit

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

These five attractions will keep the whole family entertained while visiting Indiana

By Sara Sybert

If you’re asking yourself, “Where in the world can I find enough fun in the Midwest to entertain my kids?” you may be surprised to find the answer is closer than you think. 

Indiana offers plenty of friend-friendly destinations and entertainment spots that are ideal for kids of all ages. Whether you have toddlers to tote around or older kids who want some outdoor adventures, the Hoosier State can provide all the entertainment you need with a short car ride. 

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the largest children’s museum in the world and offers tons of activities to please everyone, from the littlest littles to the biggest bigs. There are more than 130,000 artifacts and specimens in the museum’s exhibits including Egyptian history and dinosaur skeletons. Plus take a ride on the museum’s carousel or watch one of the many live shows offered at the museum. The museum’s mission of family learning means that it’s dedicated to creating transformational experiences, offering hands-on experiences and serving as a valued resource for the education community. 3000 N Meridian St., Indianapolis.

Buffalo Trace Park

Your outdoor enthusiasts will love a visit to Buffalo Trace Park. The park in Palmyra boasts nearly 150 acres of the great outdoors. There are opportunities for a beach visit at the park’s lake plus fishing, a petting zoo, camping and cabin rentals. The park got its name for its location, as herds of buffalo once migrated through the area. Later, the nation’s earliest settlers used the path as a wagon trail into the frontier. The park has three playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, disc golf, horseshoe pits, cornhole and volleyball. 1540 Highway 150 NE, Palmyra.

Big Splash Adventure

Don’t miss out on water fun just because it’s cold outside. Big Splash Adventure indoor waterpark in French Lick is a 40,000-square-foot tropical oasis that provides plenty of fun for the whole fam. The indoor waterpark has a retractable roof, so you can visit year-round. There’s a lazy river for parents, a pirate-themed kids’ area and plenty of water slides for extra thrill. 8524 W. State Road 56, French Lick.

Holiday World Theme Park & Splashin’ Safari Water Park

This theme park can be found in Santa Claus, Indiana, so it’s only fitting that the park is called Holiday World. In a place that celebrates Christmas year-round, this theme park is open seasonally from summer through fall. The Splashin’ Safari Water Park makes for the perfect place to cool off between coaster rides in the theme park. 452 E. Christmas Blvd., Santa Claus.

Indiana Caverns Family Adventure Park

Indiana Caverns

Explore under the earth’s surface of Indiana’s longest cave at Indiana Caverns. This cave, which is part of the Binkley Cave System, dates back thousands of years and takes you 110-feet underground on a 1-hour 25-minute tour that includes an underground boat ride. You can get really adventurous with Deep Darkness, an experience that allows you to explore a cave by kayak in total darkness. In addition to the caves, there is an on-site gemstone mining attraction, zip lines and other outdoor adventures. 1267 Green Acres Drive SW, Corydon.

Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park

If you really can’t escape a beach getaway, head north to Indiana Dunes National Park. There are 50 miles of trails over dunes, wetlands, prairies, rivers and forests. Dunewood Campground offers camping options for visitors. The park also has a great opportunity for kids to become a Junior Ranger while hikers can check out the challenging Cowles Bog or the lesser-known Upland Trail. History buffs will enjoy a journey through time at the Bailly Homestead and Chellberg farm, where they can learn about early Duneland history. Or you can venture along Lake Front Drive for views of Lake Michigan and to see the five historic Century of Progress Homes from the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair that now call the area home. 1215 state Route 49, Porter.