Indoor Family Fun

Story by Cathy Shouse 

While Indiana offers lots of outdoor attractions during winter weather, those who may not be so keen on cold temperatures can still get out and play. The Hoosier state offers plenty of options for combining indoor fun with travel. So there’s no excuse for channeling your inner couch potato just because it’s cold outside.

While Indiana offers lots of outdoor attractions during winter weather, those who may not be so keen on cold temperatures can still get out and play. The Hoosier state offers plenty of options for combining indoor fun with travel. So there’s no excuse for channeling your inner couch potato just because it’s cold outside. At French Lick/West Baden Indoor Karting in West Baden Springs, you don’t need a reservation to enjoy tracks that are tailored to specific age groups. So if your crew mixes multiple generations, this may be a good choice. Group rates start at ten people.

Carlin Conrad, general manager for the Indoor Karting, said: “We’ve got a track and electric karts for four- to seven- year-olds and they go three miles an hour. They have hand controls instead of foot controls.”

For the 8- to 13-year-old set, there are karts that go 20 miles per hour and sometimes parents can ride along. The karts are not bumper cars, but give the genuine experience of feeling like you’re racing.

Older ages can get up more speed, about 40 miles per hour, with some races targeted for licensed drivers. “It’s an active sport,” Conrad said, “It’s more about racing other people. People get downright aggressive at times.”

Indoor water parks are another great option for exercise and fun in winter. “The Abe Martin Lodge in Nashville has a fun swimming pool and mini water park,” said writer and world traveler Kelsey Timmerman. He and wife Annie took their seven- and nine- year olds to the Lodge several months ago.

“It’s good for younger kids,” Timmerman said. “There is a good water slide, a lazy river, and a pool with basketball and volleyball. We liked the smaller size. Some indoor water parks are cavernous and it can be hard to keep track of your family, which is always a concern for us because our son is autistic can wander off. Abe Martin was just the right size for us.”

Want to try a unique form of bowling? If so, check out the Fountain Square Theatre Action and Atomic Duckpin Bowl in Indianapolis. The main differences from traditional bowling are that you use a smaller ball that weighs 3 to 4 pounds, the pins are shorter and thicker, and you roll three balls per frame.

“Duckpin bowling’s been around awhile,” said Loren Balingit, event manager. “It originated on the East Coast, is for all ages, and we’re in a historic building in Fountain Square.”

Laser tag is another indoor sport, and all you need is closed- toe shoes. No protective gear needed. At Ultrazone Fort Wayne, you can get a deal if you play a Friday or Saturday from 

9 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. for a flat fee and unlimited games.

Also in Fort Wayne is the Botanical Conservatory. With new exhibits four times a year, there is plenty to discover. Especially in the winter when their main exhibit garden becomes an oasis for families to play and enjoy.

White River State Park in Indianapolis covers 250 acres and offers lots of indoor options, including the IMAX Theater at the Indiana State Museum, where theater-goers experience Indiana’s largest movie screen towering more than six stories tall. There’s also the Indianapolis Zoo’s 5,000-square- foot Hilbert Conservatory, the Eiteljorg Museum, NCAA Hall of Champions, and more.

Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, families have loads of fun spending an afternoon creating artwork. Several “paint your own pottery” studios are located throughout Indiana, including Fired Arts Studio in Kokomo, where you can also create mosaics; Paint the Towne in Richmond; All Fired Up in West Lafayette; and many more.

There really is no reason to act like a spud in Indiana with options like these, and many more if you do your own research. Several from this list came from this writer’s call- out on Facebook. So here’s to getting off the couch in style!