Indiana Adventures and Interesting Places

  • Post last modified:June 9, 2022

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After leaving Michigan, I visit Indiana, spending two nights in Indianapolis (Indy). As a matter of fact, I’ve published separate posts for Indiana Dunes National Park and President Benjamin Harrison. Of course, my other destinations appear here. There are many Indiana Adventures and Interesting Places! Some of which I even visited! While I mainly focused on Indy, I visited other places as well. But, you thought Indiana was all flat and farmland? Following Indiana, I exited into Kentucky. Here’s a link to the overall post.

Indiana Adventures and Great places
Here’s my route through Indiana

The map looks a bit misleading! Because I did spend two nights and a full day in Indy! It’s the metro area at the center of the map. And it’s where I saw many of the Indiana Adventures and Interesting Places. Of course, high priority to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But, also an interesting place became the updated Indiana 9-11 Memorial. Interestingly, the updates came online in the summer of 2021.

Indiana Adventures and Interesting Places – North of Indy

Lake Michigan Beach – Indiana Dunes National Park

I visited Indiana Dunes National Park as my first stop in Indiana. Prior to my visit, this one became a National Park in February 2019. Before its National Park status, Indiana Dunes became a National Lakeshore in 1966. You can read more about it at this link.

By the way, I found a blogging colleague who’s on a mission to visit every county in the US! Here’s a link to Northwest Indiana, I’m likely near there on this trip, but if you visit here, you might want to know more about the area. He’s the Impulsive Traveler Guy!

Indiana Adventures and Interesting Places – Purdue University

As long as I’m here, why not visit the campus? And the football stadium makes an ideal stop. Or doesn’t it? Ironically, the street beside the stadium is named after an iconic basketball coach. John Wooden went on to win ten national NCAA basketball titles as coach of the UCLA Bruins. That’s twice as many as the second-place coach! (That’s the University of California at Los Angeles.) He grew up in Indiana and played basketball, and graduated from Purdue.

Purdue University is a public, land-grant university for the state of Indiana.

Original Frozen Custard

Their famous fruit drink top off their ice cream treats. Apparently, Purdue Alumni spread the word wherever they go! My brother-in-law, whose father attended Purdue, told me not to miss it! So I didn’t. This place started in 1932, and today the fourth and fifth generations of the family are carrying on the business! Igloo Frozen Custard nearby claims a similar reputation. (Sorry, no pictures of it, but here’s a link.)

Indiana Adventures and Interesting Places around Indy

Indianapolis (known as “Indy” to many) is the state capital and the largest city in Indiana. By 2021, Indy grew to a metro population of 1.8 million. For you NFL fans, Indy stands as the 6th smallest city hosting a team. Following Indy are Nashville, Jacksonville, Buffalo, New Orleans, and Green Bay. Bet you didn’t know New Orleans wasn’t more populated than that!

Here’s a map of the places visited, plus a couple of others.

Map of places visited
(Tap or click on the map to view an interactive view. The vendor is working on compatibility issues with WordPress.)

The above map shows the places I visited while in Indy, plus three other locations. I did not visit 360 Market Square, Gainbridege Arena, home of the Indiana Pacers, or the Salesforce Tower (the tallest building in Indy.) Currently, I’m working with the vendor to have a “clickable” map to show information about each place.

11 Indiana Adventures and Interesting places to visit in Indianapolis

  • Indiana State Capital
  • Indiana 9/11 Memorial
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • President Benjamin Harrison’s house
  • Landmark for Peace
  • Monument Circle
  • Muffler Man
  • Lucas Oil Stadium
  • 360 Market Square
  • Salesforce Tower
  • Gainbridge Arena
    • (Continue to see each place)

Indiana State Capitol

Indianapolis became the state capitol in 1824. When Indiana became a state in 1816, Croydon became the state capitol. That building continues to be maintained as a historical site. However, in 1824, the capital city relocated to Indianapolis. The state government operated in the Marion County courthouse. In 1831, the assembly approved the construction of new capital. That building reached completion in 1835.

In 1867, this third statehouse partially collapsed. After inspection, the assembly decided not to rebuild, and the state’s fourth statehouse became temporary quarters where the State Supreme Court operated. The government entirely abandoned the partially collapsed building in 1876 and authorized new capital construction in 1878.

Contractors completed the current capital in 1888. The building continues to be occupied today. Between 1988 and 1995, the capital underwent an eleven million dollar renovation. The capital obtained a listing on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1984.

Indiana Adventures and Interesting – Indiana 9/11 Memorial

Indiana 9/11 Memorial
Recently completed Indiana 9/11 Memorial

By “Recently Completed,” I mean the state added a military memorial, generally for all military killed in this action, specifically for Indiana natives. The initial memorial came into being in 2010. The memorial includes two steel beams from the Twin Towers and a “survivor tree.” The Survivor Tree is a tree grown from the sapling of a tree found at the bottom of the rubble at Ground Zero. A slab of Indiana Granite from the Pentagon destruction makes up part of the 2021 addition.

It’s a great exhibit and just a short walk from the State Capital. If you make it to Indy, be sure to stop by and pay your respects.

Indy 500 – The Greatest Spectacle in Racing

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Interestingly, it’s a 2.5-mile oval track with an unofficial capacity of 350,000! But, the course “only” seats 250,000 and another 100,000 for “general admission.” And that includes temporary seating, standing room only, and certain areas of the infield.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway acquired the nickname “The Brickyard” because of the all brick surface in the early days. Finishing in 1909, the original surface contained 3.2 million 10-pound bricks. Gradually, rough sections received asphalt, and in 1937, all four turns were paved with asphalt. And in 1938, all but the center section of the front straightaway became asphalt. Finally, in 1961, the only bricks remaining included a 3 feet section at the start/finish line. So, a “yard of bricks” for the Brickyard!

Kiss the Bricks!

In 1996, at the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race, the winner Dale Jarrett paid homage to track history by actually kissing the bricks. And in 2003, Indy 500 winner Gil de Ferran picked up the tradition, which continues to this day. Actually, drivers, team members, owners, etc., all now participate! So, Kiss My Bricks!

The Need for Speed!

The first Indy 500 ran in 1911. Then, the winner went 500 miles with an average speed of 74 miles per hour. But, in 2021, the winner averaged 190 miles per hour! And the fastest lap, which occurred during qualifying, topped out at 237 miles per hour! And nothing excites racing fans more than pure speed! Unless it’s the iconic “photo finish”!

And think about the average speed of 74 miles per hour. I-90 across Montana runs for 554 miles. And the speed limit is 80 MPH. So, technically, you could average 74 MPH for 500 miles in Montana if you can make one short bathroom and gas stop! And without breaking the speed limit!

Legendary!

If people watch one automotive race a year, this is it. And it’s likely the biggest, most well-known event in Indiana!

Indiana Adventures and Interesting – Benjamin Harrison House

Benjamin Harrison became the 23rd president of the US in 1889. After that, he immediately jumped into political battles with the opposing party. But he even battled his own party at times. In contrast, historians today tend to give him a more favorable ranking. Early on, he ranked below average. Here’s a link to the post.

Landmark for Peace

Indiana Adventures and Interesting Places
RFK and MLK

Robert F. Kennedy’s campaign appearance on the day in 1968 when Martin Luther King died by an assassin’s bullet happened near here despite pleas to cancel it. Kennedy offered brief, impassioned remarks for peace that are considered to be one of the great public addresses of the modern era. Kennedy spoke for less than five minutes and offered a heartful call for peace and an end to violence.

As you remember, Kennedy himself died similarly in California a few months later. This memorial captures the outpouring of sadness and peaceful exit from the scene by all. While both Kennedy’s campaign staff and the Indianapolis police told him speaking there wasn’t safe, Kennedy ignored their pleas.

As those of us old enough to remember, 1968 proved to be one of the worst in American history. Our world changed that year: Two assassinations, the height of the highly unpopular war in Vietnam, and the events at the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Nevertheless, we continue to struggle with learning our lessons from history.

Indiana Adventures and Interesting – Monument Circle

When visiting Indy, be sure to visit Monument Circle. Although it’s called the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, there are other monuments as well. Over the years, it defines downtown Indy. Of course, well worth the time to stop and see it. Here’s a link to the site.

Indiana Adventures and Interesting – Muffler Man!

Indiana Adventures and Interesting places
Another Muffler Man

One of many “Muffler Men” initially created to advertise a chain of muffler shops. Many of these stand on Route 66 and other famous places. Most received new paint and disguises as many different types of “men.” For example, here’s a link to a Gemini Giant on Route 66 in Wilmington, IL. They stand in many different places. Supposedly, thousands were made. Currently, less than 200 still exist.

Sports – Lucas Oil Stadium

Lucas Oil Stadium
Home of the Indianapolis Colts

Lucas Oil Stadium provides a home to the NFL Indianapolis Colts. Undoubtedly, if you are an NFL football fan, you’ve probably seen games televised from this stadium. And it’s on the edge of downtown, near the capital and Monument Circle.

360 Market Square – Salesforce Tower – Gainbridge Arena

I didn’t visit any of these but listed them because they are noteworthy. And 360 Market Square became a multi-use 28-story building after Market Square Arena bit the dust! Explicitly, the building houses 292 luxury apartments, a 40,000 square foot Whole Foods, a 2,500 square foot Starbucks and a 525-space parking garage. (I’m not sure if you really want to visit a place that consists of a grocery store, a coffee shop, an apartment complex, and a parking garage!)

Salesforce tower acquired its current name when Chase Bank gave up its sponsored name to Salesforce.com. And Gainbridge Arena provides a home to the NBA Indiana Pacers. (Gainbridge uses the unlikely name as a financial services corporation.)

Indiana Adventures and Interesting (and quirky) places “downstate”!

World’s Largest Ball of Paint!

The world’s largest ball of paint hangs on a farm near Alexandria, IN. Of course, every story has a humble beginning. The toddler son of the farmers, back in 1977, wanted to paint a baseball. This came after they painted a building. He had so much fun; he wanted to keep painting it in different colors. (Of course, it doesn’t take much to amuse toddlers!)

Soon, the parents were in the act as well. Initially, the dad planned to cut it open when it reached a certain number of layers. But they just kept going. Soon, neighbors joined the fun. And the word spread. Visitors from nearby started to come by. Soon, visitors from all over stopped as well.

They submitted it to the Guinness Book somewhere along the line, and it became certified. They keep painting it to this day! And they keep paint on hand so you can paint a layer on it as well! Since the ball “hangs around” about an hour northeast of Indianapolis, be sure to stop and see it.  (The Carmichael’s request that you call for an appointment, although I hadn’t seen that request! But, if you visit, please call 765-724-4088 to schedule a time.)

Grave in the Middle of the Road!

Here’s a link to see more about this story! In short, the graveyard happened long before a road existed. When the county wanted to build this road, her grandson stood guard with a gun so they wouldn’t disturb her remains. The family and the county finally reached a compromise, and this is the result!

Classic Rock Recollection

“R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.” by John Mellencamp

They come from the cities
They come from the smaller towns
And beat up cars with guitars and drummers
Goin’ crack boom bam


R O C K in the U.S.A.
R O C K in the U.S.A.

Written by: John Mellencamp
(Mellencamp hails from Indiana.)

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