Explore Indiana’s Exciting Summer Destinations
By Kay I.
Unplug and experience some of Indiana’s treasured attractions.
What do horses, exotics, Native Americans, forests, the Amish, and amusement parks have in common? For vacation seekers, they’re ingredients for a fun filled summer! These destinations are perfect for families seeking excitement and adventure.
Expecting to hear about the zoo? While the zoos in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne are great places to visit, how about a walk on the wild side? Indiana has two non-profit organizations dedicated to education and animal welfare.
Wolf Park in Battle Ground focuses on behavioral research, education, and conservation. Resident animals include wolves, coyotes, fox, and bison. Their website at wolfpark.org provides information about photography, youth camps, young naturalist’s program, and opportunities for meeting a fox or wolf up close.
The Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion is home to nearly 100 captive-raised exotics dis-placed from homes such as zoos, circuses, and private owners. Residents include big cats, bears, monkeys, reptiles, parrots, and more. Their website at www.bpsanctuary.org hosts interactive media and visitor information for youth and adults alike.
If the sound of hoofbeats and gentle nickers make your heart race, you’ll be thrilled to know finding horseback riding throughout Indiana is a click away. A search for “horseback riding in Indiana” yields many results, such as Shilo and Salt Creek Ranch. With stables to suit any discipline or rider, Indiana is great for equestrians.
Shilo Ranch in Hobart offers several services including lessons, trail riding, moonlit rides, boarding, and even wild Nevada mustang rides. Visit their site at shiloranchhobart.com is for more information and photographs.
For girls interested in summer camp, Salt Creek Ranch in Laurel awaits. Their 3-day camp includes lessons, riding, games, crafts, swimming, scavenger hunt, and a bonfire. Boy’s and girl’s day camp, riding, and lessons are also available. Visit their website at www.saltcreekhorseranch.com to learn more.
Would you prefer to admire animals from afar or through a lens? While all destinations offer opportunities for the shutterbug within, Indiana also has beautiful parks and wildlife areas. Information is available at www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/3077.htm from The Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Included is information on camping, swimming, boating, fishing, and more. Most activities are free of charge.
Native American Gatherings and Powwows provide another affordable family activity. There was a time when these gatherings were closed to the public, but today’s Powwows provide a way to share, learn, and preserve the rich heritage of America’s Indigenous people as they gather to sing, dance, rekindle old friendships, and forge new ones. Several well established powwows are held in Indiana each summer. Powwows.com is the go-to place to find powwows near and far.
Indiana’s Shipshewana Amish community provides another unique cultural experience. Visitors will enjoy horse drawn Amish buggy tours, farm wagon rides while feeding and petting the animals, a theater, auction, flea market, canoe rides, home cooked Amish meals, and more. Visit www.shipshewana.com/ and click on “Attractions” to learn more.
If your ideal summer is incomplete without thrilling roller coasters or fresh spun cotton candy, don’t despair. Indiana Beach Boardwalk Resort in Monticello has much to offer including classic amusement rides, kiddie rides, water park, arcade games, haunted castle, and a paddle boat. Visit www.indianabeach.com to learn more about admission, attractions, and accommodations. Camping and cottage stays are available.
While many more destinations and activities exist in Indiana, these lesser known treasures are sure to make for a fun filled summer. It’s fascinating how many places are out there waiting to be discovered, are you ready for an adventure?