Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Hoosier Getaways
Family day trips around Indiana

by Andi Wilson

April 01, 2012

There are many resources that lie hidden within this great Hoosier state filled with a variety of excitement, enjoyment and family fun. With spring almost here and summer following close behind, now is the best time to create a discovery map for a day trip to some of Indiana’s most exciting points of interest.

Known for its Amish roots, northern Indiana is a great place to put aside one’s daily responsibilities and compulsions to relax, shop and explore what is known as Indiana’s Amish County. This area is the third largest Amish settlement in the United States and ranges from the Elkhart area all the way to the northeast in LaGrange. Amish country consists of some of the area’s most recognized shops, inns and restaurants. Relax by taking a ride in a horse and buggy and finish off with dinner at Amish Acres in Nappanee.

Along with the crazy Indiana weather are the beautiful and calming beaches of Lake Michigan. Walk through the sand and jump in the water to enjoy a little of what the Indiana Dunes has to offer. Known as the “singing sands” because of the distinctive sound the sand makes when it is walked upon, this is a great place to relax with the family. Take some time away from the beach and rent a campsite nearby for some rest and relaxation.

Just a little south in Fort Wayne is The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, which has been ranked as one of the top 10 zoos in the United States. Visitors can have up close and personal experiences with a lion, watch exotic fish swim in the Great Barrier Reef or feel the heat while walking through the Indonesian rainforest. This is a great way to spend a day with the family.

For those who want to experience a little more of the central region of this great Hoosier state can explore Richmond’s Chocolate Trail Adventure. Regardless of one’s preference in chocolate, this place has a different type of chocolate for every taste bud. After visiting the Old National Road Welcome Center, visitors can move onto several of the other chocolate shops to sample and buy some of the best chocolate this side of the Mississippi. For those who prefer the colder side of chocolate can walk into Parker’s General Store for a scoop of locally made chocolate ice cream.

Bloomington’s WonderLab gives those who desire a little bit of education the relief they need. With daily “science on the spot” activities, this place provides the enrichment and experience any individual needs, regardless of their age.

WonderLab has received several awards and in 2008 was even named a “Top 25 Hands-On Science Center” by Parents Magazine.

Serving individuals of all ages, WonderLab is a great place to take a class or a family for the day. With a multi-sensory experience for their exhibits that incorporate the principals of universal design, this museum is the perfect and comfortable environment for people of all ages and abilities.

Louise Schlesinger, WonderLab’s marketing director, explained how this organization receives its funding. She said, “WonderLab is a private nonprofit organization. Its operations are supported through a combination of earned revenues (admission, annual memberships, gift store sales, facility rentals, parties, program fees, etc.), income from a small endowment, grants, charitable gifts, and fund-raising events.”

Some of the amazing events coming to WonderLab are WOOSH! Amazing Air, which runs through May 13 and Simple Machine Mania!, which runs from June 5 – September 23. To see more of the current and upcoming exhibits or to schedule a birthday party, visit or call (812) 337-1337.