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Sightseeing Indiana

Updated on February 13, 2018
RuthCoffee profile image

I've been writing for 12+ years and like to share useful information from projects I've done, experiences I've had, and things I've learned.

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Looking for Places to Visit in Indiana?

I'll admit it, I love to travel. I've been to many of the states in the US, Canada, Mexico, some Caribbean Islands, Spain, Italy, France, and Japan but I would love to travel much further. Time and circumstances however have conspired to keep me away.

Sightseeing however is about more than distance and even more than just the discovery of something more "exotic", it's really about a curiosity and an interest in all that is around you -- wherever you are. I made this page for all of those curious people who may find themselves in, or traveling through Indiana; those who hope to find some unique things to see. Sightseeing Indiana can be fun and economical. I'll focus on things off of the beaten path.

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Out-of-the Way Sights in Indiana

Sightseeing is a great way of learning. When visiting out of the way places, travelers can gain a much richer experience, learn a great deal about the local area, and even manage to completely avoid crowds and high costs. I try to reserve time on every trip, including business and regional car trips for getting to some of the local sights.

Most of the sights I'm talking about aren't the typical high traffic attractions like large amusement parks, hotels and casinos, well known museums, architectural landmarks, memorials, or much visited parks. The ones I'm referring to are those which one stumbles upon while looking at a state or local map, merely notes while driving through, or even more likely may miss altogether if thorough research hasn't been completed.

For instance, I've scouted around Indiana a bit and found a few things worth mentioning which are off the beaten path but perhaps worthy of a leisurely drive for those who have time to spare. Let's go sightseeing Indiana!

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Places in Indiana: Wolf Park

Wolf Park is an education and research facility which was opened in 1972. It's located in Battleground, Indiana 130 miles southeast of Chicago. Among other things, Wolf Park is home to several packs of gray wolves, foxes, a herd of bison, and even some coyotes. They offer tours of the area daily from May through November.

Howl night, every Saturday evening, is another interesting experience that's offered. It allows visitors to listen to a lecture regarding the wolves and on several occasions, an opportunity to howl with the wolves; great fun for people of any age. Visitors can also learn more and observe the interaction between the wolves and Bison on Sunday afternoons.

For the more serious minded, Wolf Park also offers seminars on wolf behavior, wolf mythology, and more with many opportunities to interact with the wolves. Seminars vary from 5 to 3 days and also include artist and photo seminars. A variety of kids programs are also available.

Experience Wolf Park

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Places in Indiana: Fall Creek Gorge Potholes

One section of Fall Creek is surrounded by steep walls and is characterized by deep "potholes" in the sandstone bed. The potholes create small pools within the creek that can provide a cool and relaxing respite as you wade down through the creek itself. The potholes vary in size, from foot sized to large enough for a child to stand in. The experience is akin to skinny dipping in a pond except that clothing isn't optional and actual swimming isn't really possible; lots of splashing and good old fashioned fun are however the focus.

This rural site is just a mile or two outside of Attica, Indiana along a lightly traveled, winding gravel road. It's generally relaxed and great for families trying to escape the summer heat. Some rather rugged hiking is also available and the short walk up the creek will end at a small waterfall.


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Places in Indiana: Mug N' Bun

Ok, most towns have some type of old style hot dog and root beer drive in but many are "chains", few make their own root beer, and it's rare for them to be as old as Mug N' Bun. Grabbing a bite might not qualify as "sightseeing Indiana" but it's still a learning and cultural experience!

In tiny Speedway, Indiana (yes, home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) is this antiquated drive in, that serves up some great homemade root beer, out of this world shakes (Banana and Butterscotch being my personal favorites), some heart stopping Jalapeno (cheese) poppers, gigantic tenderloins, fabulous fries, and much more. The drive in is open year round.

No, you don't want to make this stop part of your regular dining experience, but if you're going to be bad, do it right! If you happen to be a race fan, skip the overpriced track food and drift on over to Mug N' Bun and let the car hops take care of you.

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Places in Indiana: The World of Motorcycles Museum

A good offering for road warriors is The World of Motorcycles Museum located just outside of North Judson, Indiana. The Museum is located adjacent to Kerstings Cycle Center which sells motorcycles and related memorabilia. The museum occupies a 40,000 square foot space that is jam packed with all types and vintage of motorcycles.It even includes the first motorcycle that that Jim Kersting ever had; one he built himself from an old motorcycle frame and his mother's washing machine.

Enthusiasts however should be encouraged as the exhibit includes rare and authentic machines from more than eight countries and represents even the earliest days of two wheeled transportation. It's a non-profit family run operation built by Kersting himself. A $5 donation for admission is standard and there are no crowds or lines to wade through just sprawling Indiana farmland surrounding the site.

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Places in Indiana: Fair Oaks Farms

The Fair Oaks Farm site has grown in recent years and now has advertising along major routes to pull in visitors. Located at the exit for Winamac, Indiana on Interstate highway 65 it's still notable however as it provides the chance to witness what dairy farming is all about, and if you're sightseeing Indiana, farming of some type is a must.

Visitors get the chance to learn about how manure produces electricity, dairy products are produced, and baby calves are born. There are barn tours, a 4D theater, a cheese factory tour, and a birthing barn visit where guests are sure to see at least one of the 80 calves being born there each day. It's a must see for anyone less familiar with farm life and a great summer day for kids and adults who love learning and enjoying ice cream.

Take a Peek at Fair Oaks Farms

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Places in Indiana: The World's Greatest Amateur Circus

Peru, Indiana is also known as the "Circus City" and is located 70 miles northeast of Indianapolis. In the late 1800's and early 1900s, Peru was home to the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus and others. Even the Ringling Brothers Circus wintered there for awhile. For ten days in July each summer, Peru celebrates the Circus City Festival with rides, crafts, food, games, and more.

The highlight however is the live amateur circus that has performances throughout the festival. A unique and authentic experience that echos the early, heyday of the circus, this is a fun event not to be missed. Performers are locals, some of whom are direct descendants of professional performers in the earlier shows. Even if a visit is timed to occur outside of July, a visit to the small but impressive International Circus Hall of Fame might be worth the trip.

See More About the Amateur Circus in Peru, Indiana

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Places in Indiana: Wilbur Wright Birthplace

For those interested in the history of flight, a visit to the rather remote birthplace of Wilbur Wright can be an interesting side trip. Located outside of tiny Millville, Indiana is Wilbur's first home and a museum dedicated to his life and achievements with his brother Orville.

Wilbur was actually only one of seven children in the family. He was born in 1867 and lived in this Indiana home through most of his high school years.

Both guided and unguided tours are available and a special summer festival is celebrated in June each year. See this link for more information.

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Places in Indiana: The Kokomo Automotive Museum

There are a number of notable automobile museums in the region; the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum for example. However, the Kokomo Automotive Museum in Indiana meets my criteria for being lesser known.

The museum opened in 1998 and celebrates the automotive heritage of the area, including the achievements of Elwood Haynes, maker of the first commercially built automobile. It houses automobiles from as long ago as 1884 and includes over 100 cars to admire without the hassle of crowds.

The home of Elwood Haynes is also nearby and open for guided and self-guided tours for those who wish to visit. It provides an opportunity to learn much more about the early automotive industry in the area.

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Places in Indiana: Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area

In the northern part of the state near Medaryville, Indiana lies Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area. What is notable here is a once a year visit by as many as 30,000 sandhill cranes as they begin their migration south.

From as early as August to as late as December the cranes make their temporary home here. (November generally sees peak numbers) Smaller numbers are also known to stop over in February and March giving visitors another chance to view and photograph these creatures.

See and Hear Some of the First Cranes Arriving

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Places in Indiana: Adams Mill

There are a number of old mills in Indiana for history buffs to visit and even more covered bridges; particularly in the southern part of the state. However, if you want to find one that is hidden away and less traveled you can try Adams Mill in the more northwestern region of the state.

There are no touristy shops here, no rustic restaurants or renovated small towns to charm you. There is just Cutler, Indiana with a glimpse of what tiny towns in this midwest area are really like. Aside from a small summer festival and community yard sale you won't find crowds gathering in this area.

What you will find is Adams Mill, a water powered grist mill erected in 1845 on the Wildcat Creek. It now houses an impressive exhibit of related farm and mill equipment from the period. Just a short walk away is a covered bridge that is still used today.

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French Lick and the West Baden Springs Hotel

For anyone sightseeing Indiana, a tiny town in southern Indiana is another worthy stop. Although French Lick has a population of less than 2,000 throughout the past century, it has hosted some national events and welcomed celebrities. The sulphur springs in the area were touted as having medical benefit and in 1902 the West Baden Springs Hotel was built. It's domed atrium spanning 200 feet was the largest freestanding dome in the world until the 1960s when the Huston AstroDome was built. It offered bowling, golf, swimming, spas, high end dining, and much more for it's wealthy guest. The Great Depression closed this grand hotel but in 2007 the refurbished version reopened to the public.

There are also more modern resorts and casinos in French Lick as well as shopping, antiques, flea markets, ranches, waterparks, and dining. Nearby visitors can find Patoka Lake Reservoir with cruises, Paoli Peaks for skiing in the winter, ranches, state forests, hiking, golf courses and much more. There are other historic sites including the Indiana Railway Museum which offers a number of train rides through the Hoosier National Forest.

A Brief Look Around the West Baden Springs Hotel

© 2008 Ruth Coffee

Do You Have Other Suggestions on Interesting Sights in Indiana?

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    • OrlandoTipster profile image

      OrlandoTipster 5 years ago

      Wow!

      Didn't realize there were so many interesting places to visit.

      Only thing I knew before was Notre Dame & Larry Bird.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      Thanks for the suggestions. I would love to visit Wolf Park. We may just make it to Indiana for a visit, as a family member recently started working at Notre Dame.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is a great post.

    • profile image

      LivingInTheUSA 6 years ago

      Hi! I'm glad you included French Lick. I spent the early part of my life there and my father still lives there.

      A few other places that I'd recommend are Marengo Cave in Marengo, Indiana; Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, Indiana; Jug Head Rock in Shoals, Indiana and a visit to Bedford, Indiana, which is the Limestone Capital of the World.

    • profile image

      IndianapolisRealEstateandIndiana 7 years ago

      Those are some amazing shots mulberry! I've always wanted to go to Wolf Park and have heard so many good things about it. Thanks to shots like these I think this is the year that I finally go.

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 7 years ago

      Well, I'm from Indiana and you named several places I've never been - this is a great post.

    • Bella Stella profile image

      Bella Stella 7 years ago

      This is an interesting lens. It seems that you have worked very much on it. Congratulations! I really enjoyed this lens.

      I am also trying to complete a project with the museums of Greece. I would appreciate it if you stopped there for a while leaving your opinion comments and it would be very important for me if you liked it. Here is my lens https://hubpages.com/travel/benaki-museum .

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 7 years ago from Southampton, UK

      There is definitely a lot to see in Indiana. Further north there are the Amish communities of Goshen and Shipshewana, in South Bend you have the Studebaker Museum, College Football Hall Of Fame, and of course Notre Dame University. Then Indiana Dunes, Fort Wayne Zoo, so much to see in this great state. Link added to http://www.michianadirectory.info

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Who says there's nothing to do in Indiana? I've been learning a lot about this state that makes me want to visit there again, instead of flying right through. The portion I saw was along I-90, which was brief and a little bit Industrial. I didn't get to see the good stuff. I'll be revisiting this lens before my next road trip!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      You have made a compelling case for sightseeing in Indiana!

    • profile image

      Andy-Po 8 years ago

      Sounds wonderful. I hope to visit some time soon.

    • RuthCoffee profile image
      Author

      Ruth Coffee 8 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      [in reply to ElizabethJeanAllen] Just. Some of the Sycamores are yellowing and for some reason the some maples had turned their deep golden/orange color, but 90% of them are green...in a matter of days that should be changing!!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      It's October 1. I'll bet the weather is turning cooler. Have the leaves started to turn?

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 8 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      I love traveling & I would love to visit Indiana. It's one of the States we have to visit. :)

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      This is really great lens. I haven't been to Indiana since my sister went to IU but it isn't too far, and would be a great place to vacation (if I could ever get away). Blessed by an Angel.

    • Demaw profile image

      Demaw 8 years ago

      A coworker always talks about Indiana when she comes back from visiting her family. Seems like a nice place 5*

    • SilverBlueRose profile image

      SilverBlueRose 8 years ago

      It sounds lovely, especially the Fall Creek Gorge Potholes. I'm from the UK, and we tend to only visit the coasts when travelling to the USA. Nice to see something about the interior.

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 9 years ago

      I am from Indiana and am all about celebrating the place where we live. This is an excellent lens and you've given me some new ideas for places to visit, especially the Fall Creek Gorge potholes and Adam's Mill. I've been hearing about Wolf Park for awhile but never visited. Thanks!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      You make it sound so enticing! All this is new to me, I've never been to USA

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      I drive through Indiana every summer on my way to Minnesota. I never thought to stop and take a look around. I'm usually in a hurry. Family was waiting.

      Great lens

      Lizzy

    • profile image

      GHouse 9 years ago

      Hi!! Just come to see your nice lens. I did my travel lens too. It's about my hotel in hua hin Thailand. Hua Hin is a charming town of clean white sandy beach. If you come to Thailand, please visit us.

    • profile image

      thesolowriter 9 years ago

      I've never been to Indiana, but now would love to. Great job on this presentaton. And you know what? I love the idea of featuring an entire state. There's so much to see in each of our states.

    • profile image

      thesolowriter 9 years ago

      I've never been to Indiana, but now would love to. Great job on this presentaton. And you know what? I love the idea of featuring an entire state. There's so much to see in each of our states.

    • profile image

      ChristiannaGarrett-Martin 9 years ago

      I would love to go to India! Great lens, and I loved the wolf park.

      Christianna

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 9 years ago

      There are some wise words here. You are right. Travel is not about distance or what others see as 'exotic'. It is about experience and learning.

      You have been Blessed by a Squid Angel

    • Teddi14 LM profile image

      Teddi14 LM 9 years ago

      I live just north of the Indiana state line in Michigan. This is a great lens. I am going to lensroll it to my lens about Michiana (Indiana & Michigan). 5*'s.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      In September, the sandhill cranes fly over our Alaska lodge, going South, of course. Now I know where they end up in November. Interesting lens about a State I don't really know much about. A hearty SquidAngel Blessing for this great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Grew up in Indiana and have traveled a lot. Sometimes just looking around "home" can be fun too and I have visited many of these places! Great writeup! Thanks for joining the Hoosier group!!! This lens will definitely be featured!!

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