You see it all when you’re Cruisin’ Indiana. From the weird to the wonderful and even the downright crazy. So bring your sense of adventure.
There are surprises at every turn south of Indianapolis.
Relatives guarded Nancy Kerlin Barnett’s burial place with a shotgun, the story goes. So road builders routed Johnson County Road 400 around her tombstone
Another Indiana grave holds the remains of Hollywood icon, James Dean, in his hometown of Fairmount. See the actor’s high school, basketball pictures, and clothes he wore on film. There’s even the fence from “Rebel without a Cause.”
“We get Japanese visitors every week. Visitors from Russia, Croatia, Malaysia… places you wouldn’t even think know James Dean,” said Dave Loehr at the James Dean Gallery and Museum.
At the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend there’s another brush with mortality: The presidential carriage that delivered Abraham Lincoln to his assassination at Ford Theater.
The John Dillinger museum in Crown Point documents the violent rise of Public Enemy#1 and his dramatic end in Chicago. Learn about his electrifying Indiana jail break with a wooden pistol smuggled into the gangster awaiting trial.
Dillinger used the fake gun to tie up prison guards and flee.
“It looked real enough and felt real enough in the back of a deputy that it got him out the door,” said Speros A. Batistatos at the John Dillinger Museum.
Drive to Terre Haute to size up a figure of monumental proportions, the Legendary Larry Bird and his towering statue at Illinois State.
But there are heroes of a different feather in an unusual Elkhart museum said to house the largest super hero memorabilia collection in the world.
“We are only one of two museums where you can come see a Captain America #1 on public display. It’s very, very rare,” said Allen Stewart at the Hall of Heroes Super Hero Museum.
It’s road trip nostalgia at another Elkhart attraction. The Recreational Vehicle & Manufactured Home hall of fame. See early mobile homes, but mostly RV’s of every variety. From futuristic space-age models to “Airstreams” that cruised vacationland.
You can see Hollywood legend Mae West’s custom job and the RV for aviation great Charles Lindberg.
“And it has an altimeter and looks kind of aviation style. So he was into TV’s as well as flying the Spirit of St. Louis to Paris,” said Darryl Searer.
The miracle of life before your eyes in northwest Indiana.
Animals are born every day at this large-scale dairy operation.
Fair Oaks Farms is said to be the biggest agri-tourism attraction in the country.
See how milk is produced. And with 36,000 cows here odds are good you’ll catch a live birth!
“There’s a really good chance. We have about 4 to 8 calves born right here on our main campus and our birthing Barn each day,” said Jaime Miller.
Don’t miss the piglets, a favorite for the little ones.
On a different sort of farm northwest of Lafayette, see the harvesting of energy, an enterprise that’s bringing jobs and visitors to Benton County.
Watch the turbines move in unison like a ballet on the prairie.
The 560 turbines located in this part of northwest Indiana make up one of the single largest concentrated wind farms. Not just here in the Midwest but in the entire United States.
Sign up for guided tours of the wind farm that’ll take you up close.
It’s fun and educational at the same time.
In historic Vincennes, visit the museum that honors a comedy giant.
Red Skelton’s zany characters made him one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, delighting audiences around the world.
Hear his rags to riches story and see the costumes he wore during a legendary comedy career.
“He was as big as they come in the forties … fifties … sixties and seventies,” said Anne Pratt at the Red Skelton Museum.
No Bull. It’s an adventure you’ll enjoy like no udder.
Here’s some helpful information to plan your trip:
Grave in the Road
6844 E 400 S
Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy
20 W Red Skelton Blvd.
red slept on museum.org
James Dean Gravesite
7843 S 150 E
James Dean Gallery and Museum
425 N Main Street
james dean gallery. com
Studebaker National Museum
201 Chapin St.
South Bend, IN
John Dillinger Museum
1 Courthouse Square Suite 200
Crown Point, IN
Hall of Heroes Super Hero Museum
58005 Co Rd 105
RV/MH Hall of Fame
21565 Executive Parkway
Fair Oaks Farms
856 N 600 E
Fair Oaks, IN
Wind Farm Tours
Benton County Economic Development
706 E 5th Street
765-884-2080 opt. 4