Top 10 Things for Families to do in Indiana

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From summertime days spent on the beach at Indiana Dunes National Park on shores of Lake Michigan to the wintertime festivities found in Santa Claus, there are fun things to do in Indiana in every season. With its top-rated children’s museum, Indianapolis is one of the most family-friendly cities in the United States. Families can also enjoy a minor league ballgame at Victory Field or boating on the canal in downtown Indianapolis. Still looking for what to do in Indiana? From children’s museums to zoos, here are our picks for the top 10 things to do with kids in Indiana.

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 Top 10 Fun Things to Do in Indiana with Kids

10. Visit the Indiana State Fair

Things to do in Indiana State Fair
Indiana State Fair | Photo by Flickr/Paul J Everett

Every August, the Hoosier spirit shines at the Indiana State Fair.  Those who have had the opportunity to visit this popular state fair speak of it with great love and devotion.  Perhaps it’s the brilliant examples of excellent agriculture and education, the amazing Indiana food, the Monster Truck Nationals, or the toddler-favorite: Little Hands on the Farm. 

A fellow family travel blogger, Nicole Wiltrout, shares her son’s fun at the Indiana State Fair as well as some great tips for visiting state fairs with babies and young kids on her website.

Check out these lodging options in Indianapolis and enjoy the State Fair with the whole family!

9. Climb Some Sand Dunes at Indiana Dunes National Park 

Things to do with Kids in Indiana Dunes Lake Michigan
Indiana Dunes National Park | Photo by Flickr/Joe Passe

Did you know that there is a great beach to visit in Indiana?  This landlocked state boasts more than forty miles of beautiful shoreline along the coast of Lake Michigan.  At Indiana Dunes National Park, large sand dunes have formed and tower nearly 200 feet above the lake, creating a natural playground.  Restrooms, showers, picnicking, camping, and hiking trails are available, and three of the beaches are wheelchair accessible.  Kids of all ages love swimming in the gentle waves, building sand castles, and hiking the Mount Baldy dune.  This popular dune can be climbed straight up or by using a set of stairs.  Sounds fun to run down! Definitely one of the most unique things for families to do in Indiana.

Find the best hotel deals in Chesterton and enjoy the sandy beaches with the entire family!

8. Take a Lap at the Indy 500 Historic Speedway

Indy 500
Indy 500 | Photo by Flickr/Sarah Stierch

One of the most iconic events in Indiana is the Indy 500, held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Each May, Indianans cheer on their favorite car and driver, or the one that is drawn in their pool. 

Families with young kids may find the extreme noise too much for sensitive ears, but there are lots of other fun options when visiting this historic racetrack.  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is home to the largest collection of race cars and is the starting point for a bus tour that takes guests around the 2 ½ mile oval.  A highlight of the tour is the Yard of Bricks, where you can see the 36-inch strip of the original brick track at the finish line.  There are also plenty of pre-race festivities, including a grand parade, and on race day kids can participate in the IMS Kids Club.

Look for more lodging options in Indianapolis

7. Cheer For Your Favorite Team

what to do in Indiana Minor League baseball
Baseball Game at Victory Field | Photo by Flickr/Bradley Buhro

Indiana fans love to cheer on their favorite basketball, football, and baseball teams.  Ticket prices for minor leagues and college games are very reasonable and the family-friendly atmosphere makes for a great outing with kids.   There are many well-known sports venues in Indiana, including Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians, a minor league baseball team.  In this modern ballpark, families can choose from traditional seating, or a grassy area behind the outfield to picnic and watch the games. 

Families will also enjoy cheering on the TinCaps at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne. Purdue, Indiana University, and Notre Dame are major universities with great college teams, complete with legendary basketball arenas and famous football stadiums.  Older kids would love to see a basketball game or take a tour at Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse, where the movie “Hoosiers” was filmed. 

And if you can’t get enough of college sports, head to the NCAA Hall of Champions in Indianapolis.

Choose from these hotel deals and enjoy the games!

6. Have a Holly Jolly Time at a Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in the town of Santa Claus, Indiana

Fun things to do with kids in Indiana Holiday World Santa Claus
Holiday World | Photo by Flickr/Dan Keck

At the world-famous amusement park, Holiday World, a parent’s dream can come true.  The park really seems designed with families in mind.  Free sunscreen? Check!  Free soda and lemonade all day? Check!  The best wooden roller coaster with 24 seconds of airtime?  Check!  Everyone in the family can be happy with the great selection of kid-friendly rides, heart-pounding roller coasters, top-notch shows, and great dining. 

The fun is doubled with an incredible water park built right into Holiday World called Splashin’ Safari. There you will find the one of the world’s largest enclosed waterslides, multiple wave pools, and a lazy rivers.  One admission price enters families into both parks for lots of summer fun. 

The Christmas holidays are celebrated year-round in Santa Claus, Indiana, where kids can meet their beloved gift-giver.  Enjoy holiday cheer at the Santa Claus Christmas Store, Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, Santa’s Cottages, and St. Nick’s Restaurant.

5. See the Animals at Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo | Photo by Flickr/Becker1999

Connecting kids and animals and strengthening families is part of the mission statement of the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.  Families love the easy-to-see animals because the enclosures are built with children in mind. Kids will come face to face with an amazing variety of creatures.  Fun rides and activities like the Sky Safari or feeding the giraffes create fun memories at the zoo.  Another small zoo that families of young children are sure to love is the Columbian Park & Zoo.  The Indianapolis Zoo, ranked one of the best in the nation, is a great addition to any visit to Indianapolis.

Bring the kids to the zoo for a close encounter with the animals and stay at these family-friendly hotels in Fort Wayne!

4. Interact with Living History at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park

Connor-Prairie-Indiana-Top-10-Flickr-PaulJEverett
Connor Praire | Photo by Flickr/PaulJEverett

Experience history first-hand and connect with the past at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park.  Kids can enlist in the volunteer militia to protect Indiana from Confederate General John Hunt Morgan and his raiders in a multi-media experience of the Civil War.  The Lenape Indian Camp is also the best place to learn about the history of Native Americans in Indiana. Young children will enjoy the Animal Encounters Barn when they travel through William Conner’s homestead.  The homestead also includes a loom house, heirloom gardens, and Indiana’s first brick home. 

Not every state in the union can say that one of the most popular and influential – not to mention TALL – presidents grew up there in a little log cabin.  Visiting the Abe Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in southern Indiana is a great way to see what home and life was like for this humble president.  

Don’t miss the list of 10 Exceptional Living History Farms that Kids Should Not Miss!

3. Go Fishing at Brown County State Park

Things to do with kids in Indiana Brown County
Ogle Lake, Brown County State Park | Photo by Flickr/ Trail Seeds

Leaf peepers enjoy coming to see the glory of fall in Brown County, a richly forested section of Indiana.  There are lots of great activities to be enjoyed year-round at Brown County State Park including hiking trails, horseback riding, a family-friendly Nature Center, and outlook towers.  It’s a great outdoor mecca for kids to run around, explore, and feel like they are far from home. 

Kids will be over the moon if their visit includes a stay at the nearby Abe Martin Lodge because it has an indoor water park with many water slides, zero-entry pools, and fountains.  Indiana is filled with beautiful state parks, just waiting for your next family adventure.

2. See Baby Cows on a Farm Tour

Fair Oaks Farm Indiana
Fair Oaks Farm | Photo by Flickr/Mike Kappel

At Fair Oaks Farm, kids will learn a lot about where their food comes from.  An informative tour makes the educational experience fun. It starts with seeing the cows being milked and follows the milk all the way to the market.

For kids, Mooville is the place to have a blast. Kids can climb up Udder Heights, jump on the Dairy Air pillow, and ride on the MooChoo train.  Parents can enjoy eating fresh ice cream and coffee while they watch their kids play. Don’t forget to stop at their cheese shop and restaurant. I’ve heard that their grilled cheese sandwiches are to die for!

Find a  U-pick farm or dairy in Indiana to visit with your family!

 1. Explore at Indianapolis Children’s Museum

Things to do with kids in Indiana Indianapolis Children's Museum
Indianapolis Children’s Museum | Photo by Melissa Moore

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that visiting the world-famous Indianapolis Children’s Museum should be on the Top 10 list of family activities in Indiana.  In fact, it is already recognized as being number one on Trekaroo’s list of the Best Children’s Museums in the USA.  Kids of all ages will enjoy hands-on fun while learning about dinosaur fossils recently unearthed in Wyoming and Ancient Mysteries of China’s Terra Cotta Warriors.  The Indianapolis Children’s Museum isn’t a children’s museum that your kids will outgrow quickly. The focus on real artifacts and ancient history ensures that even older children and teens will find enlightening learning experiences at this children’s museum. 

Indiana has truly outdone itself in great children’s museums.  Terre Haute Children’s Museum, Kidscommons Columbus Children’s Museum where the world’s largest toilet resides, and the Muncie Children’s Museum are more fun places to explore. A definite do not miss on our list of things for families to do in Indiana.

Have a fun and educational trip with the kids and stay at these family-friendly hotels in Indianapolis!

Lead image by: Bigstock/KennethKeifer

Enjoyed our List of Things For Families To Do in Indiana?

 Make sure to check out our list of the Top 10 Things for Families to do in Indianapolis

 

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About the author

Michelle McCoy is Trekaroo’s Lead Travel Expert. She and her husband love traveling to National Parks and going camping, but when life with 4 young kids keeps them home - especially now with a high schooler - they find their fun in traveling to the local beaches in Orange County, CA and hiking in the wilderness areas nearby.

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