Ever since getting back from study abroad, I’ve had the constant itch to explore new places and try new things. So instead of traveling away from Indiana this summer, I made it my goal to explore my city and try out a bunch of great activities that it had to offer. To do this, I created a bucketlist of things I’d heard from Hoosiers and college friends. Check out some of the cool experiences I’ve had the past few months:
1) Horseback Riding at K-Trails Equestrian Adventures
As a horse lover, I couldn't resist checking out the new trails facility in Noblesville. I chose the 1.5 hour sunset ride to get the full experience of riding through Strawtown Koteewi Park. As part of the package, we could help untack and hang out with the horses afterward. Our group was small and the horses were extremely calm, which made for a relaxing ride. When it was over, we watched the horses run around their pasture with a pink & orange sky as the backdrop-making for a gorgeous Indiana summer night.
2) Concert at Ruoff Music Center
Since I moved to Indy, “Ruoff” (formally Klipsch) has been a staple name. It’s a huge outdoor music center that hosts a lot of big headliners, mostly country singers. Since I barely tolerate country music, it never really sparked my interest until this year. I got tickets to see Florida Georgia Line and they were fantastic live. Not only was the singing on point, but the venue itself was something I’ve never seen before. Around 24,000 people waved their phones around during the ballads and sang along to the songs while sipping extremely expensive alcohol ($15 for a mixed drink). The opening acts Chris Lane and Nelly killed it too. So yes, after living in Indy for four years, I’m now a slight country fan but an official fan of Florida Georgia Line.
Price: around $50.00 for the lawn
3) Monon Mixer at the Monon Community Center
I found out about this event by accident and it’s something that EVERY city needs to do more! The center holds an adult’s-only night once a month in the summer at their water park. I floated through the lazy river, tried (and wiped out on) the flowrider, went down water slides and drank wine while being surrounded by fun adults. The music was great and it felt like a private party because we never had to wait in line for anything. You never realize how awesome water parks are until you’re not surrounded by tons of screaming kids.
4) Point Blank Gun Range
I’ve never been a fan of guns, but decided to put this on my list to get out of my comfort zone. Handling a real gun and loading bullets into the magazine was pretty surreal. It was uncomfortable at first as I got used to the kickback, but the more I focused on the target, the more I enjoyed the experience. Is it something I’ll do again? Probably not. But it pushed me to try something new and be open-minded.
Price: Get the Groupon! It’s $15 for two people (a total steal)
5) Latin Night at the Jazz Kitchen
If you’re looking to spice up your Thursday night instead of heading to Howl, check out the Jazz Kitchen. I took some international students here and they loved it. The venue plays authentic Latin music with a fast beat and everyone is always dancing. Beginners to experts are doing the salsa, bachata and tango. Professionals are always happy to teach you the different styles-which is a blast. The best part is it’s free (woohoo!) and only five minutes from Butler’s campus.
Price: Free for women before 10 p.m. and $7.00 cash for men
6) Connor Prairie
Everyone in Indiana knows about Connor Prairie. It’s an interactive history park that explodes with Indiana pride, making it a must-do on my bucketlist. Even though it’s geared towards a younger crowd, you'll get caught up in the history, stories and science, no matter your age. When I visited, I took a hot air balloon ride (350 ft. in the air!), threw a tomahawk and had conversations with people from the 1830s in Prairietown (how they never broke character in the heat was amazing to me); I toured the massive property, cuddled with farm animals and heard how Indiana was involved in the Civil War. The whole experience was a definite highlight of my summer.
Price: $17.00 admission / $15.00 for the balloon ride
Still on the LIST:
*Finding fun and FREE things to do is super easy if you know what resources to use. Here are some of my favorite Indiana sites to follow:
-Visit Indy and Downtown Indy (have a city focus)
-Hamilton County Tourism (covers fun towns like Carmel, Noblesville and Fishers)
-Do317 (has giveaways every day for free music tickets)