INDIANAPOLIS -- Cruisin’ Indiana is headed to the Hoosier state’s biggest metropolis. Great restaurants, museums and auto racing are all part of the fun in Indianapolis.
Visitors are enchanted by the relaxed, urban lifestyle of Indianapolis.
You can ride a gondola on the glimmering canal where passengers enjoy a command performance from Old World Gondolier rides. It’s $25 a person plus tip.
It’s part of the charm on Indy’s gorgeous canal walk.
But the canal is much more than just a beautiful place for boats and outdoor cafes. It also links together some of the city’s most important cultural institutions.
And in White River State Park the Indiana State Museum shows you the history. You can learn about legendary Indiana limestone that used to build the Empire State Building and the Pentagon.
You can also see the mallet wielded by a young Hoosier carpenter named Abraham Lincoln and rare cabinets built by his father Thomas Lincoln who brought his Kentucky family to the Indiana frontier in 1816.
“They were trying to make a life in what was wilderness,” the museum’s Susannah Koerber said. “There were huge trees, bears. There were wildcats. They really had to make something of unsettled land.”
The future president, from the age of seven to 21, was formed by his Hoosier experience. He endured his first heartbreak when his mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln died of milk sickness. She is buried in present day Lincoln City.
There’s also an unforgettable encounter awaiting you when you experience the stunning Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. It’s a remarkable collection of both native-American works and historic artifacts with paintings from renowned Western artists.
Art history curator Scott Shoemaker is a citizen of the Miami tribe of Oklahoma.
“My family has really deep roots here,” he said. “I feel a great connection to a lot of these. I think everyone can form a personal connection.”
There’s also a prehistoric adventure with towering dinosaurs invading the unparalleled Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
“We are the largest in the world and we like to think we’re the best in the world too,” the museum’s Jeffrey Patchen said.
With one of the largest collections of real dinosaur fossils depicting dinosaur families, the museum’s paleontologists helped identify a new specimen and called it “Dracorex Hogwartsia.”
“Our dinosaur lab which has paleontologists working on real specimens in front of an open window where visitors can actually talk to paleontologists about the work they’re doing,” Patchen said.
And special exhibits take you to places like China. You can marvel over a brilliant glass sculpture by famous artist Dale Chihuly.
From pro football to basketball, there’s big time sports in Indianapolis. It’s the headquarters to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
But the king of the road for race fans around the world remains the Indy 500.
You can see the legendary cars at the International Motor Speedway Museum. Close to several dozen Indy winners of the famous Borg-Warner trophy are on display.
And speaking of driving, all this and more is just a short three hour drive from Chicago.
These links and information can help plan your trip:
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
3000 North Meridian Street Indianapolis, IN 46208-4716 | phone 317-334-4000
Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites
650 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
500 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Old World Gondoliers
310 W. Michigan St.
Indianapolis, IN 46202
International Motor Speedway Museum
4790 W 16the Street