Indiana State Capital: Indianapolis
Indianapolis is a portmanteau, combining the name of the state with the Greek word polis, which means “city.” Though that may sound like a pretty benign choice of name, it was surprisingly controversial when it was chosen in 1821. The name Indianapolis, which was proposed by Judge Jeremiah Sullivan, beat out the names Tecumseh (the name of an Indian chief) and Suwarrow (a European name). Supporters of the other names were so appalled by Indianapolis as the name of the city, one newspaper even called the decision “one of the most ludicrous acts” and called Indianapolis “not as a name for man, woman or child; for empire, city, mountain, or morass; for bird, beast, fish nor creeping thing.”
High-speed, history and good old Hoosier hospitality are a few reasons to put Indianapolis on your list of great getaways. Sports is another. From the legendary Indianapolis 500 to the Pacers and the Colts, the city offers ample opportunities to view professional and amateur sporting events, take part in athletic events and visit sports museums. At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hall Of Fame Museum you can tour the famous track (try to reserve tickets if there is a race in town) or visit the museum dedicated to automobiles and auto racing. Other sporty museums include the NCAA Hall of Champions. To get in on some of the action, head to SportZone which features six acres of indoor athletic facilities the whole family will enjoy. Those less interested in sports, or with kids in tow, can still find tons to do in and around the city. History, art and other cultural attractions abound. Visit the Children’s Museum or checkout the zoo. Stroll along cobblestone streets past 19th-century buildings in the Lockerbie Square District or visit any number of historic landmarks. Known as the “Crossroads of America,” more interstate highways bisect Indianapolis than any other city in the country, making it an exciting and easily accessible destination.
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis: It’s a great place to take kids and watch them spend an entire day playing, using their imagination, learning, and exploring! The permanent exhibits are fantastic and feature a science area, a brand-new play-scape for young children, a Chihully glass sculpture, the dino-sphere, and so much more!! It can get quite crowded, especially on holidays and non-school days. Because of this, it is recommended that you get there right before they open and be one of the first in and first out. They offer ample parking near, and there’s a food court and awesome gift shop! The food court has a nice variety though a bit pricey but you can also bring your own snacks or sandwiches. With exhibits ranging from dinosaurs to the international space station, trains and a trip to China your family will love it all. There is a ramp system to all floors or elevators that are stroller friendly. Parking is free in the attached garage or surface lot. There is also an often-overlooked outdoor park with the 7 wonders of the world; grandkids love to climb on it.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum: The IMS is one of Kathryn’s favorite places. Everyone needs to experience the Indy 500, The Brickyard, the Red Bull Air Races, and the Motocross. The events for the Indy 500 during the month of May are special and the excitement from the crowd is contagious. Get your tickets early!! Each race is different and thrilling in its own way. The museum is great, with so much history. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway HOF Museum is truly a gem. Beautiful restored race cars, winning cars of the Indy 500, trophies, and memorabilia are on rotating display. Two fully-stocked gift shops and a variety of track tours are available as well. For an awesome experience, ask for directions to the official IMS Photo Shop and purchase a piece of history. Race fans will love the museum for its contents, and non-race fans will be awed by the massive facility. There’s something about driving into the facility itself that makes you smile.
Indiana State Capitol: When touring the Indiana State Capital building with a guide you’ll enjoy all of the historical significance contained in that vast building. Strategically locate just two blocks west of the majestic Monument Circle, the state capital building houses the Senate, House of Representatives and other administrative staff. Of course, the current governor and Lt. governor and hundreds of law makers and administrative workers do their duties under only one roof. Each year, legislative personnel hear from lobbyists and their constituents about issues that affect their lives. The exterior of the State House was covered using limestone that was quarried from open-pit mines, in southwestern Indiana. The architecture and craftsmanship is beautiful, most impressive being the stained glass in the rotunda. Wonderful visit.
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site: Very well maintained home. About 80% of the furnishings belonged to Benjamin Harrison, and the wallpaper had been restored to match what was in the home when Harrison lived in the house. This is the 10th presidential home we have visited and is one of our favorite. The tour guide is very knowledgeable and friendly Although most of the focus was on his life and living in Indianapolis, there is some important information on what he accomplished as President. Very informative and educational for adults and school-age learners. One gleamed what life was like before and after being President, and all life brought him, good and bad. this one really gives an up-close look at the home of the 23rd president. Toured all parts of the home with a welcoming tour guide and allowed to see many artifacts without feeling like the things were too important for the public to get a good look at.
White River State Park: White river runs through the center of Indianapolis and the state park is right near its downtown. Sunday may be the best day to visit as the offices are closed and you don’t find yourself stuck in congested road and parking is easily available. Lot of activities to do in the park. You can visit museum, ride bikes or go for nice long walk around the river. This can be a stopover on your way to other areas in Indiana. When we arrived we we’re pleasantly surprised to realize all the attractions at this location.
We visited the Indiana State Museum and the Eiteljorg Museum of Native American Art. The admission price to each museum was $13.00 per person; a little steep but at least it includes parking. Each museum had a restaurant inside. The park setting is peaceful with a canal running through it. It was hard to believe this park was in a major city.
Fountain Square Theatre Building: Get a delicious meal at the End of the Line, where the servers are kind and accommodating, and have a little fun at Duck Pin Bowling. You’ll find this to be a fun activity for all. Call ahead for possible need for a reservation at Duck Pin Bowling so you are not disappointed if they are full when you arrive. A meal at the End of the Line is impressive and they are more than willing to accommodate dietary needs, with a smile! Check the hours of the restaurant as well. Short hours on Sundays. Try them both. You should walk away pleased!
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