Most people think of Northen Indiana as a place to get through on the way to Chicago but if you have some extra time, and are looking for something a little bit different, it is worth a short detour to Potato Creek State Park. We visited on a beautiful Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and while the park had plenty of visitors, once we got on the trails, we hardly saw anyone.
Something we didn't know until we visited this state park was that Northern Indiana and a part of Northern Illinois used to be part of a giant swamp called the Greak Kankakee Swamp. Until this swamp was drained by Indiana farmers in the mid 1800's, this part of Indiana used to host a huge number of birds and other wetland wildlife. In order to try and restore some wetlands to this area of Indiana, the state purchased a large amount of farm land in the 1970's to restore the land to something approaching what it once was. This purchase and restoration of wetlands became Potato Creek State Park.
The grand plans seemed to have worked because when we were there, the bird life was unexpectedly prolific. Don't miss stopping at the educational center, which has a large bird window. The bird window looks out upon numerous bird feeders that host a lot of feeding birds.
If you don't feel like hiking, there is also a large lake that has boating, swimming, and a beach and there are many horse trails as well. The park is about a thirty minute drive from the far Western South Bend exit off I-80/90 and the route is well signed.
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