5 fun family experiences

5 Fun Family Experiences near Indianapolis


Who’s ready for some family fun? In addition to the 10 fun and affordable date nights I shared last week, I want to include some fun ideas specifically geared toward families. Although let’s be real, I’d have fun doing any of these sans kids too! If you live near Indy or are planning on visiting soon, add a few of these to your itinerary! You’ll have a blast.

1. Hike at Fort Harrison and feast on pizza

My daughter and I spent one of the first days in January hiking at Fort Harrison State Park in Lawrence. It was cold, but we bundled up and enjoyed the variety of trails. We decided to complete the easiest trail and part of the hardest. Perfect variety.

The easy trail was paved and took us through a very cool walnut forest. These trees were specifically planted for Indiana birds. As it was winter, there were no leaves so it felt very dramatic walking through the forest.

Hiking at Fort Ben is a fun way to spend a winter day.

Our rugged trail was pretty muddy (why we didn’t finish it), but took us through a beautiful area with ravines and trees galore. We even encountered TWO stick teepees which were interesting to explore.

Fort Harrison is a unique park in that in addition to normal state parks features like trails, picnic shelters, and playgrounds, you’ll also find a sledding hill and areas with buildings that used to be a part of the military base. We enjoyed poking around the old barracks.

After an afternoon of being out in the fresh air, we definitely worked up an appetite so ordered pizza and breadsticks from Jokamos Pizza just outside the park. We devoured our food in the car, but on a beautiful day, it would be lovely to go back into the park with your pizza for a picnic. There is also plenty of inside seating and an outdoor patio for when the weather improves.

2. Snuggle up with a kitty and a warm drink

One of our favorite icky day excursions is a visit to a cat cafe. We definitely enjoy looking for them when we travel, and when we are at home, we’ll visit Nine Lives Cat Cafe in Indianapolis.

Enjoy time at a cat cafe with your kids.

A few years ago I did an entire blog post on this fun location, so check out all the details here. Right now, it’s especially important to call ahead as hours are shorter in the winter, and due to social distancing, fewer visitors are allowed in with the cats.

Still, if you plan ahead, this can be a fantastic family day!

3. Switch up family game night

As doughnut and game fans, one of the first places we checked out when businesses in Indy started opening again after shutting down in early 2020, was Doughnuts and Dragons.

The concept is genius as it’s ideal for families OR a fun date night. The location is very spacious, so it’s super simple to safely social distance. Grab a half dozen donuts and a few drinks (coffee or BEER depending upon the time of day) and enjoy some quality family time.

Although you currently can’t borrow their games, you are welcome to bring your own to play. I find having a deck of cards and a set of dice is ideal in this setting – I keep them in my car so we can always play Euchre, Farkle, or Yahtzee.

What an ideal way to spend a cold Indiana winter day!

💥 Are you looking for the perfect family game? Check out this list of the BEST Family Games and bring one of these along on this outing!

4. Enjoy art outdoors!

The Virginia B. Fairbanks 100 Acre Woods at Newfields is a fantastic place to explore with the family. It’s home to a 35-acre lake and a fun variety of outdoor art – many of which your kids can play on!

Our favorites include Funky Bones – it’s always exciting to run and jump across the sculpture and Chopstick – which is an interesting sculpture to explore.

Playing on the sculptures at the 100 Acre Woods is a fun family experience near Indy

Top the trip off with a fresh rootbeer from Mug N Bun a rootbeer stand that has been serving Indianapolis residents for almost 50 years! The weather doesn’t matter as you’ll be enjoying your food in the warmth of your car.

💥 Insider tip: This excursion is perfect for the whole family as you can bring along your pup! Just be a courteous owner and pick up after your dog while enjoying the park.

5. Ice skating and hot chocolate

Ice skating is ALWAYS a fun winter activity. Although I prefer skating outdoors, most of the outdoor Indy rinks close in January. However, you can still ice skate at the Carmel Skadium.

Be sure to check hours before you go – admission is currently limited, but you’ll definitely find a slot if you start searching early enough. Then lace up your skates and hit the ice for an hour or so.

It’s a great way to burn off excess energy – and burn calories! Much more fun than a gym workout.

Since you are in Carmel after you are done skating, head over to the Carmel Chocolate Cafe for a decadent hot chocolate. What a scrumptious treat after a fun but tiring time skating!

Enjoy a decadent hot chocolate from the Carmel Chocolate Cafe!

💥 Do you want MORE ideas for Fun Family Experiences? No matter where you live? Get your FREE copy of 5 Fun Family Experiences!


Are you looking for fun things to do with the family? Check out these 5 fun family experiences near Indianapolis. Don't live in Indy? Use them for inspiration in your hometown! #midwesttravel #familyfun
Are you looking for fun things to do with the family? Check out these 5 fun family experiences near Indianapolis. Don't live in Indy? Use them for inspiration in your hometown! #midwesttravel #familyfun