Are you looking for something fun to do on one of these beautiful fall weekends? Take a moment to review some of the relatively inexpensive options found locally, in Indiana, and in the Midwest.
Big Splash Adventure Water Park
Whether you are looking for an overnight adventure or just a day-trip during the week, French Lick’s Big Splash Adventure Waterpark has you covered. This unique, 40,000 square foot indoor waterpark has a retractable roof so it stays open even when it gets cold out. Best of all, Big Splash Adventure Waterpark is very affordable. The park is attached to a 154-room hotel with a variety of rooms if you choose to make it a multi-day adventure.
Day Pass Admission:
46 inches and above-$24.95
Below 46 inches-$19.95
Ages 2 and under-FREE
Laser tag in Indy or Fort Wayne, as low as $8 a person
Laser tag does not need to be an expensive endeavor with lots of equipment. It can be a fun and family-friendly atmosphere where people of all ages and abilities can have a good time. The lobbies include plenty of arcade games with redemption prizes and a concession stand. It is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening.
Turkey Run, $7 per Indiana Car/ $9 per Out of State Car
Turkey Run State Park is the place to go for adventures in nature. There are more than 10 hiking trails with some of Indiana’s most rugged scenery, and there are miles of trails for horseback riders as well. And if you enjoy the parks for the wildlife, Turkey Run will not disappoint. There have been sightings of many different birds, turkeys, beavers, deer, and more.
Conner Prairie, $18
Recreate pioneer life at Conner Prairie, an interactive history park, in Fishers, Indiana. Located on the White River, Conner Prairie was founded by pharmaceutical executive Eli Lilly in the 1930s. He restored the home and grounds and created a living timeline, showing what life was like during Indiana’s 19th century.
Indianapolis Artsgarden, No Cost
The Artsgarden is a glass dome spanning the intersection of Washington and Illinois streets in downtown Indianapolis. It connects the Circle Centre Mall and other buildings but also gives a bird’s eye view of the city below. The Artsgarden hosts 300 performances a year, many of them free to everyone. The art exhibits are also free. The Indianapolis Artsgarden Cultural Concierge desk is open seven days a week. It provides people with brochures and performance schedules for many of the arts organizations and venues in Indianapolis.
Trip to Chicago
You can get a good overview of the fall colors from 360 Chicago, the observation deck on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center. Then you can move in for a closer look as you visit some of the city’s many parks and gardens, such as the Garfield Park Conservatory, Millennium Park, Lincoln Park, or Humboldt Park. Once you have admired all the fall colors, you can enjoy the Art Institute of Chicago which showcases every genre of art you can imagine. Finally, you might decide to listen to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Center in downtown or watch a theatrical production at the Looking Glass Theatre Company. A couple advantages to visiting Chicago in the fall include not having to fight as large of crowds or pay as much for hotel rooms while enjoying the attractions.
The Upper Peninsula
Fall foliage usually peaks here in October. Leaves are not the only attraction though; The U.P. boasts more than 40 lighthouses and 300 waterfalls. Hikers will find more than 100 miles of trails and views of sandstone cliffs at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along Lake Superior’s southern edge. Expect highs in the mid-50s and lows in the mid-30s.
Ohio Amish Country
Holmes County, the heart of Amish Ohio, is less of a draw than the Lancaster Amish — and because of that, less pricey, as well. Crisper weather and turning foliage make fall one of the loveliest times to visit. Don’t miss the cheese and chocolate shops, and spring for a leisurely canoe trip on the Mohican State Scenic River. For a change of pace, drive 2 more hours up to roller-coaster mecca Cedar Point on nearby Lake Erie. It’s open on weekends through September and October and visitors can save more than 25 percent by buying tickets online in advance.