Experience “Hoosier Hospitality”
by Amy Lignor
There is a reason why over 25 million people head to Indianapolis, Indiana every year. That’s right…25 million+! To some people, it is NYC, L.A. and a few others that spring into their minds when it comes to the cities that supposedly offer the most to travelers – the best in fine dining, the most attractions, shopping, and more. And when it comes to thinking about what’s most fun for the children, it is Orlando that usually springs to mind simply because it is the home of Mickey and his many friends. However, in Indianapolis visitors not only receive the best hotels, the finest dining and some of the coolest attractions ever built, but children are also catered to. In fact, more and more travelers to Indy are not only returning every year because of its awesomeness; they are returning to become one of the “Hoosier’s” for life.
So what makes Indy so special? From White River State Park offering over 250-acres of greenspace to the scenic Central Canal to the Indianapolis Zoo, the list of what to do when you travel to Indy is a long one.
For those people who want to delve into the social atmosphere – the culture, the shopping, etcetera, you head to a place that the citizens love to call: Mass Ave. You are talking a five-block area that is ripe with theaters, art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. There you will even find the oldest shoe store in all of the nation, running since 1886. You will also come across the absolute “Best Chocolate in Town,” and who would want to miss that? If you’re looking for the most eclectic choices when it comes to food and beverages, you can enjoy local craft beers as well as enjoy a drink while sitting in the Prohibition-era “Ball & Biscuit.”
The Canal Walk is a stroll you will never forget. Walking amongst the monuments and memorials at Monument Circle, you can also head into the Museum of Art for some true culture. And…boys and girls, Indy offers the coolest and largest children’s museum in the entire world just for you! At the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, you get to explore five floors featuring everything you could possibly think of to inspire fun and interactive learning. From one of the largest collections focused on those beloved Jurassic species; to an exhibition where you can literally walk into China; to discovering and learning about 20th century children who changed lives, such as Anne Frank, located in “The Power of Children,” this place has it all.
Galleries are open paying tribute to space exploration, including a planetarium and an Astronaut Walk of Fame. You can also visit with real archaeologists in “National Geographic Treasures of the Earth.” Here, the whole family can explore treasures that come from actual shipwrecks while also taking a photo with the incredible Bumblebee. Okay…it’s not the actual one, but it is the 16-foot tall movie prop used in the first ‘Transformers’ movie. (I don’t know about you, but I think Bumblebee was the ultimate Transformer! Sorry Optimus.)
When you’re done viewing North America’s largest water clock, and having a ball at the historic working carousel, the Indiana State Fairgrounds awaits! First opened in 1892, this is the place that has hosted 115 Indiana State Fairs.
And…you must never forget, you will find that Hoosier Hospitality at that ultimate spot where all race car fanatics love to go. Yes, it’s the home of the Indianapolis 500. Internationally famous, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is home to both the world’s largest and second-largest single-day sporting events. Opened in 1909, the Speedway is the world’s largest spectator facility and has played home to the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” since 1911.
There’s a whole lot more to talk about when it comes to visiting Indy. Just make sure that when you are planning that “ultimate trip” for the family that will involve fine cuisine, theater, shopping, historical sites, as well as a monumental list of children’s events, you definitely check out Indy! Like many before you, one trip may be all it takes for you and your family to become one of the “Hoosiers” for the rest of time.