Staycation Ideas | Frugal Fun in Central Indiana

by Beth Montgomery on June 5, 2012

in Indiana

With the increase in flight costs, a staycation is becoming more appealing to many families. First, if you aren’t aware, a staycation is a vacation, but in your own hometown. Throughout the summer, I’ll be sharing a few of our favorite family-fun spots, plus ways to save at each one, during the Indiana Summer Fun Series, but if you don’t live in Indiana, stay tuned! I’ve partnered with a group of amazing bloggers who are all sharing staycation ideas in various cities around the United States and I’ll have a full list for you tomorrow.

Travel Back in Time

Marsh Supermarket Symphony on the Prairie

Indiana is full of history! You can experience historical Indiana in person at Conner Prairie, one of my kids favorite places to run around and explore. Pet baby animals, experience The Civil War, talk with historical figures, and play old-fashion games. Stop by Ricker’s BP Stores to get a discount on a 1859 Balloon Ride.

Plus, don’t miss out on Marsh Supermarket Symphony on the Prairie, where you can enjoy music with a theatrical flare from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in a family-friendly environment where even the youngest are welcome! Now is the time to get discount tickets at Marsh.

Sleep Under the Stars (But in a Tent!)

My son rode his "firetruck" in front of the tent most of our stay.

Who needs an expensive hotel when you can fall asleep to the sounds of nature? When it’s time for us to staycation, we always reach for our tent. Hiking through Indiana woods, cooking food over a camp fire, and simply relaxing outside is one of the best ways to unwind. Since you aren’t likely to get  a Wi-Fi signal, you can escape the crazy world and just enjoy time together. Plus, it’s as low as $12 a night to camp in one of the state parks.

Indiana has many great parks and campgrounds, even for the youngest camper. We have tons of tips for first time campers, including what to do, where to stay and, what to bring! Make sure to print the Camping Checklist!

Hit the Water

One grandpa and three little girls (and they made it with no problems)

It’s never too late to learn to canoe and with the White River Canoe Company in Noblesville, kids as young as six years old can canoe down the White River.

And, if you’re incredibly brave, like my Dad (pictured to the left) you can attempt to handle all the kids by yourself in one canoe! Print a coupon for 50% off a second canoe.

Enjoy the Parks

Fort Harrison State Park Pony Rides

Fort Harrison State Park is always on our list for summer fun, especially with the horseback riding and pony rides, great picnic spots, and beautiful lakes with fish and ducks to feed. Make sure to check out the Nature Center schedule for fun and educational activities.

Or, if you enjoy walking and water, head to Eagle Creek Park where you can rent canoes, sailboats, and row boats (and of course, fish). We love to walk the long trails through the woods. We tend to skip the map and just see where we end up, since you hit a road often enough you won’t get too last.

Just pay park admission per vehicle and stay the day to get the most bang for your buck.

Get in Touch with your Inner Child

Hot Wheels and LEGOs will be featured at The Indianapolis Children’s Museum this summer and only for a limited time, so don’t miss out! Save money by visiting on the first Thursday of each month from 4-8 PM for Target Free Nights when admission fees are waived, but be prepared for a crowd.

While you’re there, don’t skip over our favorite stop – the Lilly Theater for free plays designed with little ones in mind. Their plays are always entertaining and just the right length to not lose anyone’s attention. This summer they’ll be featuring How I Became a Pirate.

Everyone can get youth admission prices through June 15th regardless of your age and this printable coupon!

All About Milk

Cows at Trader's Point waiting to be milked.

While it’s not often listed as a hot vacation spot, my kids  love Trader’s Point. There’s nothing better to tiny milk-lovers, than seeing how it’s made and getting to sample organic dairy foods.

Make sure you schedule your visit, so you’re there at 4:00 PM when the cows get milked. It’s one of the best parts, plus they parade through the field to the milking barn just before.

Did I mention it’s free to explore?

Tour the Spraygrounds

While we tend to take them for granted, the free spray grounds at various parks around Central Indiana are not something many other states get to enjoy. Take advantage and stop by often throughout the summer to cool off, get out some energy, and play. Bring a picnic and make a day out of it.

Where would you visit on your Central Indiana Staycation?

Enter to win tickets, vacation packages, and more during Indiana Summer Fun on In Good Cents!

Check back tomorrow for a list of all the Staycation Spots around the United States.




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