Writer / Tracy Line

After the winter we’ve had, it’s hard not to long for the sunny beaches of Florida. But even if you aren’t among the herd heading south for spring break, you can still have an adventure all your own. The Midwest is filled with fun-filled attractions. So go ahead: Fill up the gas tank, gather your crew and hit the road. Family fun awaits.

Nature’s calling

With fresh air, green space and natural beauty, a day at the park is a great way to renew your spirit. And with Indiana’s 25 state parks, releasing your inner child couldn’t be easier. Three of our favorites: Brown County, Turkey Run and Clifty Falls.

With nearly 16,000 acres, Brown County State Park won’t disappoint. You can hike, ride horses or simply enjoy the view. If you’re brave enough, pack your mountain bike and hit the hilly trails (just make sure your brakes work). Afterward, stop at Fearrin’s Ice Cream & Yogurt in Nashville. If you get lured into the myriad local shops, so be it.

Veteran hikers will enjoy Turkey Run. The rugged trails, suspension bridge, creeks and canyons all make a visit here memorable. You can fish in Sugar Creek, ride horses or simply explore the park’s historic sites.

Clifty Falls is nestled in the hills of Southern Indiana. Named for its four waterfalls, this park offers great hiking trails for all ages. Take a break at the playground, or climb the observation tower to view the Ohio River. You can then shop in historic Madison or take a stroll by the river.

Family Fun Spots

Give your kids a history lesson at Grissom Air Museum in Peru. Meander through the 23-acre property to view numerous military aircraft. You’ll see attack aircraft, fighter planes and bombers.

The indoor museum has exhibits, artifacts and a hands-on cockpit simulation. It’s open Friday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $6, and group discounts are available. For details, call (574) 398-1451.

Gators, penguins and sting rays, oh my! See them all at Cincinnati’s Newport Aquarium. Kids will delight in the Penguin Parade, and the whole family will enjoy the Dive Show. Admission is $23 for adults and $15 for kids. Visit NewportAquarium.com for details. For extra fun, take a Ride the Ducks tour. Your whole gang will quack up on this unique bus/boat journey (starting April 11).

You don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy the Louisville Slugger Museum in Kentucky. With interesting displays and exhibits and a tour through the bat factory, it’s worth your trip. It’s open daily, and admission $12 for adults, $7 for kids. Visit SluggerMuseum.com for details.

Step back in time at the Levi Coffin House in Fountain City. This National History Landmark was a key component of the Underground Railroad. History will come alive as you learn how Coffin helped more than 2,000 slaves find freedom. It’s open Saturdays from 1–4 p.m. For details, call (765) 935-8687. Admission is $2 for adults, $1 for children.

Events for Everyone

Looking to stay closer to home? These events are sure to please:

  • Fool’s Gold Treasure Hunt. March 31 through April 3. Follow the trail of clues to find a golden treasure. Call Fishers Parks & Recreation, (317) 595-3150, to register.
  • Winter Kids Koncert, Kid Kazooey. March 31, 10–11 a.m. Little ones will dance their wiggles away at this free concert. Call the Monon Center, (317) 848-7275 for details.
  • Historic Underground Railroad Ghost Walk. April 5, 8 p.m. Revel in Westfield’s haunted history on this walking tour with ghost stories at Asa Bales Park. Call (317) 840-6456 for reservations.
  • Belfry Theater. March 28 through April 13. See Miracle on South Division Street, a heartwarming story about a family rich with history, secrets and the search for truth. Call 317-773-1085 for tickets.

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