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Indiana has a lot of great fishing spots, but one of the most popular (and the biggest!) is located just southeast of Bloomington.
With over 10,000 acres of water to explore, every angler can find their "perfect fishing spot" at Monroe Lake. Experienced anglers often aim for the lake's bass and walleye, but beginners can find lots of easy-to-catch bluegill and crappie.
Several upcoming events at Monroe Lake's Paynetown State Recreation Area (4850 S. State Road 446, Bloomington) make it easy for new people, particularly kids, to try out the sport of fishing.
The summer recreation season at the lake kicks off with a special evening reception, "Fish, Food, and Friends," on Friday, May 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Activity Center, located inside Paynetown SRA.
Visitors can see which fish made the staff's "Top 5" list, view plaster fish that were hand-painted by local elementary students, pick up a copy of the 2013 Fishing Guide, and "swim" over to the snack table for special fish-themed treats - and kids can enjoy "fishy" games, crafts, and activities.
The Paynetown Activity Center staff will also highlight a new, FREE fishing equipment rental program, which will debut on Saturday, May 25. So if you don't have your own equipment, or forget to bring it with you, you can still enjoy some fishing at Monroe Lake this summer!
The following weekend, June 1 and 2, is Free Fishing Weekend at Monroe Lake. A kids' fishing derby is scheduled at Paynetown SRA on Saturday morning, plus a variety of family-friendly fish-themed programs on both days.
While a fishing license is never required for kids under age 18, the best part of Free Fishing Weekend is that ALL Indiana residents can fish without a license - regardless of age. What a great opportunity to give fishing a try, or introduce someone new to the sport!
Jill Vance is the Interpretive Naturalist for Monroe Lake, based out of the Activity Center at Paynetown State Recreation Area. She has been with the Indiana Division of State Parks and Reservoirs since 2004, previously working as the Interpretive Manager at Spring Mill State Park and as a seasonal naturalist at McCormick's Creek State Park. Jill is a 2004 (M.P.A.) and 2003 (B.S.P.A.) graduate of Indiana University - Bloomington.
As we get closer to back-to-school time, we've all got things on our summer must-do list that we just haven't gotten to yet... but just in case you don't, here are 10 (+1) great things to do in Bloomington to add to your list along with some Townie Tips for getting the most out of your visit to Bloomington.
The Monroe County
Fair (July 28 - Aug. 4)
Everyone loves a good county fair, right? Whether you're into the rides, games, animals or performances you'll find something you love at the Monroe County Fairgrounds! (Townie Tip: Check here for details on admission and parking. If you're bringing the family it pays to know when bracelet and carload nights are in effect!)
Community Farmers' Market
The largest in Southern Indiana, this Saturday morning tradition is a don't-miss when you're in B-town. (Townie Tip: Don't miss out if you're not in town on Saturday - a smaller version of the Bloomington Farmers' Market takes place every Tuesday from 4-7 pm at 6th and Madison Streets.)
Starlite Drive In
If you've never experienced an old-fashioned drive in movie, it's about time you did! Starlite is one of the best drive ins around, featuring two recent releases for your admission. (Townie Tip: Arrive a little early - they often sell out - and come hungry - the concession stand is very good.)
4) Karst Farm Park
Located on the west side of Bloomington, Karst Farm Park is a soccer facility, but it's hidden gem is the splash pad, providing wet summer fun for all ages and abilities! (Townie Tip: The Splash Pad is open Friday - Monday. For smaller crowds, we recommend visiting on Mondays.)
Take in a Concert (or
Movie) in a Park -
Throughout the summer, the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department offers live musical (and theatrical) entertainment. Tuesday Lunch Concerts in People's Park, Thursday Concerts in Third Street Park, Friday Movies or Sunday Concerts at Bryan Park are all great options. (Townie Tip: Bring a lawn chair or blanket... and bug spray!)
Enjoy some Local Ice
Yes, we all love Dairy Queen Blizzards, but just this once, bypass the big-name favorites and experience locally-crafted ice cream at its finest! (Townie Tip: Here's the low-down on your three choices for locally made ice cream - The Chocolate Moose is the ultimate B-town tradition with several specialties, Jiffy Treet has multiple locations and an incredible variety of toppings and Hartzell's is the place to go if you're craving seriously unique flavors.)
Rent a Boat on Lake
Indiana's largest lake is the perfect place to cool off when the summer gets hot! Choose from Paradise Boat Rental at Fairfax SRA or Lake Monroe Boat Rental at Paynetown SRA. (Townie Tip: Yes, pontoons are fun, but if you want to see the lake -and possibly some wildlife - from a different angle, think about renting a kayak or canoe.)
Visit the Indiana
University Art Museum
One of the best collegiate art museums in the country, the building was designed by architectural legend I.M. Pei and features an incredible variety of works from some of the best known masters like Picasso and Monet. (Townie Tip: Go back after dark! One of the traditions that incoming IU freshman experience is to visit the IU Art Museum after dark and lie on the ground with their feet against the building's walls, relax and enjoy the light totem.)
9) WonderLab's Simple
WonderLab is a win no matter what time of year it is, but this summer they've got a super-cool temporary exhibit called Simple Machine Mania. Fun for all ages, it features hands on activities with pulleys, a giant biomechanical hand and more! (Townie Tip: Do not miss the giant biomechanical hand - it's very rare and a popular part of the exhibit, so be prepared for a short wait. Don't worry, it's worth it!)
10) Climb the Fire Tower
Yeah, it'll be a lot of steps... and you'll probably be hot and sweaty when you get to the top, but trust us... the view is worth it! (Townie Tip: Take your camera and go in the early morning or the evening for two reasons - first, it will be a little cooler than midday and second, watching the sun rise or set from the top of the fire tower is incredible.)
If you've been to Bloomington several times, or if you can't get here until after summer's over, here's our bonus activity that can take you through into fall:
+1 Bonus: Hunt for Brains
No, we're not talking about smart people, though there are a lot of those here in Bloomington. We're talking about the Brain Extravaganza, a public art project spearheaded by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist and IU professor who suffered a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain in 1996. The project will be on display through October 15 and aims to raise awareness about brains and brain injuries, but it also provides lots of fun! (Townie Tip: Check in with your mobile device at all 22 brains to color an image of your own brain that you can compare to famous Bloomingtonians or share with your friends on Facebook!)
It's never too early to start planning for warm weather RV camping adventures. A place you'll want to add to your itinerary is Bloomington, Indiana, where outdoor attractions, historic sites and an exciting college town atmosphere mean you'll have plenty of places to play.
One of the best ways to get to know Bloomington is to pull into one of the area's excellent RV parks and then embrace nature. Bloomington RV campgrounds are in such beautiful settings as Lake Monroe, where tall, rocky bluffs ring Indiana's largest lake. Favorite ways RVers enjoy Lake Monroe include boating, fishing from the piers, hiking the woodland trails or swimming at one of the reservoir's two beaches.
Lake Monroe sits on the northern boundary of Hoosier National Forest, a two-hundred-thousand acre green space complete with hillside lookouts, scenic trails and an impressive collection of waterways. Nearly every kind of outdoor recreation can be enjoyed while you're here. Here's a tip for vacation photographers -- wildlife in this forest is abundant, so pack your favorite camera as you pack your motorhome.
Want to take your vacation adventures underground? Bluespring Caverns, just a short drive from Bloomington, offers RVers a trip along a mysterious subterranean river. Older kids will especially enjoy the underground snack bar and the amazing cave-dwelling creatures.
And what attracts RVers to Bloomington itself? Indiana University's Hoosiers lure loyal fans to baseball, basketball and football games, not to mention a whole host of other sporting events year-round. Imagine enjoying an RV vacation in a beautiful setting with the added bonus of first-rate collegiate sports nearby.
That's just the beginning of what you can do while in Bloomington. The BEAD (Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District) is a sixty block collection of restaurants, galleries and shopping venues sure to please everyone in your RV camping crew. Don't miss this pulsing heart in the city's center during your stay in Bloomington.
And you can't truly appreciate Bloomington without knowing a little about its history. The city features no less than thirteen walking tours that highlight vintage neighborhoods and structures. Start here to collect more information on the Showers Brothers Furniture Factory Tour, details on the Vinegar Hill Limestone District and other memorable treasures from Bloomington's fascinating past.
There you have them -- seven tips for an exciting Bloomington, Indiana RV camping vacation. Whether you're planning a long weekend of RV camping or hope to settle in for an extended stay, you won't run out of ways to play in and around Bloomington. Get ready to experience the beauty of nature, the energy of a great university and the wealth of visual history that keeps RV campers coming to Bloomington, Indiana.About the Author Posted on: Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012 8:01 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
'Tis the season..for shrieks and spooks, ghosts and goblins... and candy, lots and lots of candy! We've compiled a handy list of all the fun Halloween related events happening in the Bloomington area throughout the month of October.
Pick your favorite Spooky B-town event and make your plans now!
Come on, you're not scared, are you?
Baker's Junction Haunted Train
Fri. & Sat., 7-10 pm
Barn of Terror
Fri. & Sat., 8 pm - 12 am
Harrodsburg Haunted House
Fri. & Sat., 8 pm - 12 am
Great Glass Pumpkin Patch
Courthouse Square, Oct. 15, 10 am - 3pm
Little Monsters Gallery Art Show
Blueline Gallery, Oct. 16-31
Trick or Treat Trail
RCA Park, Oct. 22, 1-4 pm
Dennis James hosts Halloween
IU Auditorium, Oct. 27, 7:30 pm
Festival of Ghost Stories
Bryan Park, Oct. 28
Halloween at Lake Monroe
Paynetown Campground, Oct. 29
College Mall, Oct. 29, 6-8 pm
Skate & Scare
Frank Southern Ice Arena, Oct. 29, 7 - 9 pm
Twisted Limb Paperworks, Oct. 30 & 31
Halloween Family Fun Fest
Mathers Museum, Oct. 31
Freeman Family Farms
Fri. 4 - 7 pm; Sat. 10 am - 8 pm; Sun. 12-5 pm
Mon. - Sat. 10 am - 6 pm; Sun. 12-6 pm
Wed. - Sun., 10:30 am - 6:30 pm
Great Bloomington Pumpkin Launch
Hilltop Garden & Nature Center, Nov. 5, 12-4 pm
Dark Carnival Film Festival
Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Oct. 21-23
Haunted Hoosier History Overnight
(Kids 12 and up welcome on the tour portion of the event only with a parent.)
Please RSVP by Oct. 7th.
Monroe Co. History Center, Oct. 22, 6 pm
Halloween Horror Burlesque
Jake's Nightclub, Oct. 29, 10 pm & 12 am
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Oct. 29, 7:30 & 11:30 pm
What a beautiful morning it is in Bloomington today! Looks like this week's weather is just perfect for playing a little hooky from work to meet a good friend for a round of golf out by Lake Monroe. If you're like the rest of us, we know you work hard and probably don't have as much time to spend having fun with your friends, so we're going to help you make it happen!
Between now and two o'clock this afternoon, you've got the chance to win a free round of golf at Eagle Pointe Golf Resort for you and a friend, plus $50 in gift cards to Talons Restaurant. Just leave us a comment and tell us why you or your friend deserve this B-town Break!Posted on: Wednesday, Aug 10, 2011 6:16 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
It's a wet and rainy day outside, but the sun will come back soon, and we've got the perfect way for you to enjoy a sunny afternoon in Bloomington! Located on the shores of beautiful Lake Monroe, Eagle Pointe Golf Resort offers a full range of resort amenities, including a championship golf course!
This week's lucky Winning Wednesday winner will receive a round of golf at Eagle Pointe, plus we'll also throw in a gift certificate for Talon's Restaurant to complete the experience! This is a great opportunity to spend the afternoon enjoying the outdoors in Bloomington (or a nice Father's Day gift). So, how do you get entered to win?
The topic today is outdoor recreation - leave us a comment and tell us about your favorite way to enjoy the great outdoors in and around Bloomington. You've got all day to get entered and our winner will be notified via email tomorrow morning. Good Luck!Posted on: Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011 5:37 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
The bustling pace of the Indiana University campus has begun to slow and summer has arrived in Bloomington, bringing with it steamy temperatures and sticky humidity.
So, how can you beat the summer heat? Here are a few great options for staying cool during your trip to Bloomington:
City of Bloomington Pool Facilities - 812-349-3781
Bryan Park Pool, located on South Woodlawn Avenue, is open 3-7 pm Monday through Friday and 11 am to 7 pm on weekends until June 8, then daily throughout the summer from 11 am - 7 pm. The facility offers a zero-depth activity pool for small children, two waterslides and more!
Mills Pool, located on West 14th Street, is also open from 3-7 pm on weekdays and 11 am - 7 pm on weekends until June 8, then daily from 11 am - 7 pm. Features include a zero-depth activity pool for small children, water basketball, a waterslide and picnic area.
Indiana University Outdoor Pool - 812-855-9584
The IU Oudoor Pool is located on Fee Lane, just north of 17th Street. Open daily through Sept. 5 to both students and non-students alike, the IU Outdoor Pool features open swim times, lap swimming, volleyball and pool side relaxation. Discounted multi-day punch cards are available.
Karst Farm Park Splash Pad - 812-349-2800
Open daily through Sept. 12th, this Monroe County Parks facility is a great way to splash the day away! The facility is located west of Bloomington in Karst Farm Park and offers lots of fun water features on a concrete pad, rentable shade canopies and an adjacent picnic area with playscape.
Lake Monroe - 812-837-9546
For the ultimate in summer fun, head for Indiana's largest lake - over 10,700 acres of water await you at Lake Monroe! The lake has two on-site boat rental facilities and unlimited opportunities for fun in the sun including boating, fishing and swimming and even a nature center.
So head for Bloomington to splash into summer...
and don't forget your swim suit!
This year will mark the 43rd year for Bloomington's other bicycle tradition, the annual Hilly Hundred Bicycle Tour. The event is based out of Ellettsville, Indiana, just a few minutes to the west of downtown Bloomington, but leads the approximately 5,000 pariticpants on a beautiful scenic tour of south central Indiana's rolling hills. Traversing some of the most beautiful back roads in the Midwest, the Hilly Hundred offers bicyclists a chance to enjoy the beautiful fall weather, one another's company and a challenging ride.
This year's Hilly Hundred will be held October 8-10. If you're planning on participating, have a wonderful visit to the Bloomington area and enjoy the ride! If you're not planning to participate, why not? Here's some footage from a previous HIlly Hundred, just to get you in the right mood:
It's hot out there . . . and it seems like we've developed a pattern in south central Indiana of steamy days capped off by rainy, stormy afternoons or evenings. So, what can you do to beat the heat in Bloomington?
Start with the basic essentials for surviving the heat.
- Hit the pool!
Choose from Bryan Park Pool, Mills Pool (both great for kids) and the IU Outdoor Pool (did you know they have wireless?). Karst Farm Park now has a zero-depth Splash Pad for all ages and abilities!
- Make a break for the lake!
Lake Monroe is Indiana's largest and boat rentals are readily available at Fourwinds Resort & Marina on the west side of the lake and Lake Monroe Boat Rental on the east side of the lake. Swimming beaches are located at Paynetown SRA, Fairfax SRA and Hardin Ridge Recreation Area. Riddle Point Park at Lake Lemon also features a beach area.
- Do something indoors!
Here are a few of my favorite activiites for those rainy days, or days that are just too hot to leave the air conditioning!
Grab the family and head for WonderLab, where kids of all ages can enjoy learning more about science (and climbing the two-story tall grapevine).
Explore the works of masters at the IU Art Museum. From Picasso to Monet to ancient Greece, you'll be fascinated by these creations
Learn about cultures from around the world at the Mathers Museum.
These are just a few of my favorites, but the possibilities are endless! Explore visitbloomington.com for even more great ideas to keep you busy, and cool, this summer!Posted on: Wednesday, Jun 23, 2010 by: Tosha Daugherty
June is Limestone Month, and that means lots of great exhibits, events and activities throughout Monroe and Lawrence Counties. Log on to www.limestonemonth.com for a complete calendar of things happening this month.
Last year, as part of the first ever Limestone Month, I was lucky enough to go on a tour of an active limestone quarry operated by the Elliott Stome Company in northern Lawrence County, courtesy of Elite Tours. It was an incredible experience.
A family-owned business, the Elliott Stone Company quarries limestone in a large underground cavern rather than the more traditional quarrying technique of blasting a large hole in the ground.
The stone is quarried by large, specially designed saws that cut horizontally into the cavern walls. Bags inflated with air are then used to break the stone from the wall.
The equivalent of three stories of stone can be quarried underground without disrupting wildlife and vegetation on the surface.