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Indiana in July?

Saint Louis...
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Indiana in July?

We're planning a mini-vacation and I've never been to Indianapolis. We would be coming the 4th of July weekend my husband and I with 2 girls (11 and 7). I'm wondering if there are outdoor waterparks or pools? and which area is "safe"? There are so many hotel choices (downtown vs south vs airport etc). We would be driving so will have a car but love if we can walk around too. The canal area looks nice? Is there enough to keep us busy for 5 days? We're not really museum type people but like activities (swimming, go-karts, ) Any advice would be appreciated!

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1. Re: Indiana in July?

I think you'd be hard pressed to fill 5 days in Indianapolis unless you plan to spend MANY hours sitting by your hotel pool. Even though you are not 'museum people' your kids will probably enjoy at least some of the museums -- the Children's Museum is a must, and they'll probably also find something to entertain at the State Museum and the Eiteljorg Museum.

Just about anywhere you'd find a decent hotel will be 'safe', but if it were me, I'd stay downtown. (It's an easy walk to many of the main sights. It stays light very late in early July, so you will feel safe walking well into the evening.)

For water parks, your best bet would probably be Holiday World/Splashing Safari -- a 3 hour haul from Indy but easily on your way to or from St. Louis.

Saint Louis...
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2. Re: Indiana in July?

Thanks..i should have said that the children's museum is on our list!

Bloomington, Indiana
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3. Re: Indiana in July?

I agree that five days without wanting to do museums (beside the Children's) might be a bit much for Indy.

Downtown Indy is pretty much the only hotel cluster that is "walkable" to things. Keystone Crossing is another that *might* work, but the main thing you can walk to there is shopping, not much else. Now if you're willing to drive, then pretty much anything would work.

Some other (Indy) things you might consider:

1. The Zoo/White River Park/Gardens. It's a smaller, but fairly new zoo and if I'm not mistaken has won many awards. I like it because it's not a huge, sprawling zoo that takes all day and completely wears you out.

2. 90+% sure you can rent paddle boats for the Canal.

3. You might want to look at Eagle Creek Park. Located on the (northern) west side of Indy. Has a good size lake, trails, and a fair sized wooded area surrounding it. Pretty sure they have a beach area for swimming, but not 100% certain. Indianapolis Parks & Rec website should have plenty of information about it. (Also think they moved the "Super Bowl" zip line to this park.)

Outside of Indy:

1. Holiday World/Splashing Safari is probably the best water park option and is well know for it's roller coasters and it's pretty much a straight shot to/from Saint Louis on I-64. You'll a few threads about it in the Santa Claus, Indiana forum.

2. French Lick/West Baden. I know there is an indoor water park that is fairly new that was build following the opening of the restored hotels & casino, but don't know any details about it. There might be go-karts there too? If nothing else, you might want to swing through the area & check out the hotels, particularly "The Dome." They did a fantastic job of the restoration and it's worth seeing it. Among other things when built (circa 1905) it was the largest free-span enclosed space in the US (world?) until the Astrodome was built in the 1960s.

3. You also might look at Bloomington. There is a smaller hands-on science museum (Wonderlab) which might appeal to your kids. Plenty of nature & outdoor and other stuff in Bloomington & nearby. Again, you might want to check out the TA forum. It doesn't get that much traffic so you should be able to check out the threads that interest you fairly quickly. I know there is at least one thread that talks about things in the general area and there is a Top Question that has links to web resources.

What I might suggest is that you do a loop: Holiday World for a day or two, Bloomington and/or something in the general area as you drive north to Indy (maybe not even overnight), and then Indy for a few days. Obviously you could do it in the reverse order. I-64 & I-70 are convenient for the main part of the drive and there are plenty of state road(s) for the north/south portion.

Hope that helps,


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4. Re: Indiana in July?

Like others have pointed out, you might have trouble filling your time with stuff to do in Indy for 5 days, it just really depends on what you're interested in. One thing we do have is a lot of memorials and statues. If you're interested in history, then these may be options.

-The Soldiers and Sailors Monument(The Circle). It is a stunning memorial in the center of downtown with an observation deck at the top and a smallish Civil War museum in the basement.

-The Indiana World War Memorial

-American Legion Mall

-President Benjaman Harrison Home

-USS Indianapolis Monument

-Medal of Honor Memorial

-Indiana State Museum

These are all located downtown and many are in walking distance from one another.

Outside of that, there is the NCAA Headquarters and Hall of Fame, which is along the canal near the State Museum and also the Eiteljorg Museum of Indian & Western Art.

If you have any interest in auto racing, obviously the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hall of Fame Museum would be a good stop. It is open every day and is very affordable. The museum is $5 I believe and you can get a bus tour around the track for a few dollars more. If you're lucky, there might be some on-track testing that can be viewed from the bleachers or spectator mounds for free.

One thing I would highly suggest, since you'll be visiting on July 4th, is to attend the Indianapolis Indians baseball game and stay to watch the city's fireworks display. The Indians are our TripleA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates and they have a gorgeous ballpark. The main stands face downtown and are a perfect place to see the fireworks, which are launched from the top of One Indiana Square, a high rise office building in the center of town. If you decide to attend, it will be neccesary to reserve tickets early...

Those are just a few things I wanted to suggest..

Edited: 2:25 pm, March 03, 2014
Carmel, Indiana
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5. Re: Indiana in July?

Eagle Creek does have a beach. I like the suggestion to not spend 5 days in Indy, but maybe just 2 nights.

Not any one area in Indy has alot of stuff to do, so unfortunately I think you will have to drive.

I think going to Holiday World for a night is a great idea as you drive to Indy. it's a great, clean park for ages of your kids.


1)Children's Museum


3)Eagle Creek Park (beach with guards, I think you can rent water sport equipment, too). they also have a nice restaurant out there overlooking the water called Rick's Boatyard Cafe.

4)Connor Prairie: It's an oudoor living history Museum and I know you said you don't like museums...but it is interesting. Google it. It's in Fishers, In..it will be about 45 -50 minute drive north.

5) It is July 4th, so they will have fireworks downtown...I think to music.

6) I would stay downtown. Walking distance to many restautants and there is the circle centre mall.

Have fun!

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6. Re: Indiana in July?

If I had kids your age, here is what I would suggest in Indy:

-On the near north side of the city is the Children's Museum, Crown Hill Cemetery, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Children's Museum is very cool for kids. Museum of Art has something called 100 acres. I've never been, but it is an outdoor area and my nieces loved it. Crown Hill Cemetery is right by the Museum of Art. It has the highest point in all of Marion County and gives a great view of downtown Indy. There is a very famous person buried at the high point and a small circle drive so there is no need to walk up anywhere. There is also a small chapel called "Gothic Chapel" which reminds me of some very old tiny castle from eastern Europe.

-Downtown Indy: White River State Park houses the zoo, the state museum, and a western art museum. I would focus on the zoo and state museum here. The Cultural trail and canal, glorified sidewalks that look fancy really, are also near this area.

-Downtown core: Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Hopefully it will be open for a trip up to the observation deck. In the basement is a small Civil War display, some call it a museum. This is where you purchased your $1 or $2 lift ticket to the observation deck. There is also the Indiana War Memorial/Museum which is really cool. For a cool treat that kids seem to think is near, check out Subzero Ice Cream on Massachusetts Ave. just north east of the circle (might be somewhat of a walk depending on where you stay). It is an ice cream place that uses liquid nitrogen to turn liquids into ice cream right in front of you. A newer concept from Utah that doesn't have that many franchises nationwide.

-North west is Speedway Indiana where the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is located. They have a museum that might be of interest.

-For parks there are two larger parks: Eagle Creek in the NW corner of the county is a city park. Fort Harrison in the NE corner of the county is a state park. The only other big thing that kids might like is Conner Prairie, an interactive living history museum, located just NE of Indy in Fishers Indiana.

That really is pretty much it for Indianapolis with kids. Like others have said, you might want to consider other areas of the state for a couple of days. Brown County State Park is nice, and their inn/lodge inside the park has an indoor water park. I think they also have an outdoor pool as well. The tiny town of Nashville, IN is near the park and it reminds me of a much smaller scale Gatlinburg, TN. Both Bloomington and Columbus are close. Columbus has a small hands-on place for kids called Kid's Commons, Zaharakos eatery and ice cream parlor, and a small air museum on the north side of town. Near Bloomington is McCormick's Creek State Park with a living history outdoor area, not sure the hours though. West of Indy is Parke County, lots of covered bridges and two nice parks, Turkey Run and Shades state parks.

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: Indiana in July?

Five days in Indy? With no racing, basketball or football?? A little long...I'd try three sisters cafe....

Jonesboro, Indiana
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8. Re: Indiana in July?

Defenitely try Holiday World! Walking around downtown is fun. They have carriage rides that go around the circle....kind of pricey but fun to do at night and see the city. Going up in the monument is fun for kids and gives a good view! If you stay at the crown plaza downtown they have actually train cars you can sleep in. Kids love that and it is walking distance to all kinds of stuff. Indianapolis zoo is a great zoo and the Children's museum is the BEST! If you like to shop try around brown county...or circle centre mall downtown...or even Castelton on the north side.

9. Re: Indiana in July?

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