Keep boredom at bay with a fun family trip to Southern Indiana. From arts to sciences, outdoor adventures to sweet treats, you’ll find numerous family-friendly attractions appealing to kids (parents, too!) of all ages in Clark and Floyd counties. Read on for no-fail options to beat the dreaded refrain of “I’m bored” while school’s out this month.
Any science lovers, history buffs or little explorers in the family? Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville is the place to go. The newly-reopened Interpretive Center is kid-friendly with plenty of opportunities for little ones to touch and explore the history of the Falls of the Ohio. Walk under a massive mastodon skeleton to enter the exhibit, which takes visitors through the evolution of the area from the Devonian Period more than 400 million years ago to the present day. Kids can touch fossils and bison hides, learn how the region’s early settlers and Native Americans lived, watch an engaging short film recounting Lewis and Clark’s westward exploration, and use interactive exhibits to learn about wildlife at the Falls today.
Outside, check out the 390-million-year-old fossil beds at the park, the only exposed fossil beds from the Devonian Period. Afterwards, take a short hike on the Woodland Loop Trail then let the kids climb on the piles of prehistoric rock and dirt at the trail’s entrance.
Visitors enjoy the Falls of the Ohio's new Interpretive Center exhibits.
The Vintage Fire Museum in Jeffersonville is an impressive collection of restored vintage fire trucks and firefighting equipment from the 1700s to present day. While not as hands-on as other museums, younger visitors will love sitting on the open-air seats of a 1922 fire truck and hand cranking its siren. Older visitors will marvel at early versions of the fire truck from hand-drawn to horse-drawn to steam-fired. Early fire alarms, fire extinguishers and leather hoses give you an interesting look at the advancements in firefighting.
A sister and brother are all smiles aboard a 1922 fire truck at the Vintage Fire Museum.
Guarantee smiles from every member of the family with a sugar splurge at Jeffersonville staple Schimpff’s Confectionery, one of the country’s oldest family-owned candy businesses. Grab a bite from the deli or 50s-era soda fountain and stock up on chocolates and candies handmade on-site. Next, peruse the shop’s candy museum, a collection of antique candy memorabilia including a working 1928 nickel candy machine. Then watch the Schimpff’s team make its famous hard candies on turn-of-the century machinery. The 20-minute demos are free, but you’ll need to call ahead for times or to schedule a demo for your group.
Looking for more fun? Derby Dinner Playhouse in Clarksville has plays for all ages. “Into the Woods,” geared toward ages 12 and older, runs through April 3, while the children’s theatre is showing “Charlotte’s Web” until April 2. If the weather is nice, hit the trails at Charlestown State Park or stroll across the Ohio River on the Big Four Bridge pedestrian walkway.
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