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We want to take you behind the scenes, to give you insider information you won't find anywhere else. This is where we pull Bloomington's hip happenings together with recommendations from our team, first-hand accounts from project producers, and guest blogs by local gurus.  The Backstage Blog helps you stay in front of it all.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Bloomington's Best Places to Take Kids

Categories: Family Fun

If you're planning a visit to Bloomington with your children, you'll be thrilled to know that we offer plenty of kid-friendly attractions. We may be known as a college town, but we're also a fantastic destination for families! Below you'll find an assortment of fun things to do, both indoors and outdoors, that your kids will have a blast doing. From toddler to teen, these activities will put a smile on everyone's face.
 

Bloomington Speedway

Racing at Bloomington Speedway
Photo by Bloomington Speedway

Does your family love car racing? Take the kids to the Bloomington Speedway! Races take place most weekends from spring to fall, with frequent fireworks shows at the end of the night. Several local food trucks attend the races, so the whole family can enjoy delicious street food in addition to the exhilaration of loud, fast racecars. 
 

Griffy Lake Nature Preserve

A little boy kayaking on Griffy Lake
Photo by Erika Rogers

Griffy Lake is a secluded, peaceful lake nestled in a nature preserve just five minutes from the Indiana University campus — its calm, low-traffic nature makes it the perfect place to take the kids kayaking. Bring your own watercraft, or rent one from the Griffy Lake Boathouse for just $8.00 per hour. Looking for additional activities? The lake can be fished on with a license, and the preserve features a variety of hiking trails that are fun to trek any time of year.
 

Hoosier Heights

Hoosier Heights

Challenge the family to a day of extreme sports at Hoosier Heights — the indoor rock climbing facility offers climbing experiences for all skill levels. Visitors will enjoy free climbing and clinics for new climbers, depending on previously established skill level or lack thereof.
 

Hoosier Putt Hole

View of several holes at Hoosier Putt Hole

Mini golf is a fun way to pass time no matter how old you are! Take the family to play a round or two at the 18-hole Hoosier Putt Hole course in neighboring Monroe County community, Ellettsville. Sweeten the experience by walking across the lot to Jiffy Treet for a few scoops of ice cream afterward.
 

IMU Bowling & Billiards

Bowling lanes at IMU Bowling & Billiards
Photo by IMU Bowling & Billiards

Rainy day? Head over to the Indiana Memorial Union for a day of indoor games. IMU Bowling & Billiards features a 12-lane bowling alley, nine billiards tables, a snooker table, several pinball machines, electronic darts, table tennis, and Xbox One consoles. You do not have to be an IU student to join in on the fun! Grab a bite to eat from one of the restaurants inside the Union if you or the kids get hungry.
 

Karst Farm Park

Splash pad at Karst Farm Park

Karst Farm Park is a 120-acre park on the west side of Bloomington near the Monroe County Fairgrounds. The park, well-loved by locals, boasts four playgrounds, the biggest of which is located right next to the park's splash pad. Pack a picnic lunch to share to make the experience all the more fun!
 

LaserLite Laser Tag

Arcade area in LaserLite
Photo by LaserLite

Another great option for a cold or rainy day, LaserLite is Bloomington's sole laser tag venue. In addition to laser tag, they also offer the largest arcade in the area, with games like air hockey, Fruit Ninja, Guitar Hero, and more. If your kids are big on arcade and interactive games, LaserLite is a must on your agenda! 
 

Starlite Drive-In Theater

Starlite Drive-In Theater during sunset

Why go to any old movie theater when you can go to a drive-in movie theater? Take the kids to a screening of a new movie or a beloved classic at Bloomington's Starlite Drive-In Theater. Bring blankets, pillows, and lawn chairs for the ultimate experience — pack your favorite movie snacks, or grab popcorn, candy, soft pretzels, and more from the concessions stand. 
 

Switchyard Park

Playground at Switchyard Park

Switchyard Park is a nearly 58-acre park in downtown Bloomington. The park offers an enormous playground at its south-most end that includes rock walls & hills, a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round, traditional & accessible swings, multiple slides, and more. To sweeten the deal on a warm day, Switchyard features a splash pad just across from the playground. To sweeten the deal even further, visit the park on a Friday — every Friday from April through October is Food Truck Friday at Switchyard from 11:00 am-9:00 pm.
 

Urban Air Adventure Park

A girl climbing an obstacle course at Urban Air
Photo by Rachel Hawkins

Take the kids to burn off some energy by jumping around at Urban Air Adventure Park! The indoor trampoline park features tons of trampolines, a Ninja Warrior course & Wipeout course, climbing walls, a slam dunk zone, and more. Craving a snack after jumping? Head across the parking lot to Underground Bakery for a sweet treat. 
 

Vintage Phoenix Comic Books

Comics on display at Vintage Phoenix Comic Books
Photo by Vintage Phoenix Comic Books

Do your kids love all things superheroes? Vintage Phoenix Comic Books is a must if so. The bookstore is a destination for comics, graphic novels, action figures, and more. Marvel-obsessed kids will delight in a trip to the shop, as they carry comics related to the film adaptations and storylines that have yet to hit the big screen. 
 

Western Skateland

western skateland
Photo by Western Skateland

There's nothing quite like lacing up a pair of roller skates and cruising around the floor while jamming along with some great music, no matter how old you are. Western Skateland offers open skate in the evening on Thursday through Saturday, and they offer a Family Late Skate on Fridays from 9:00-11:00 pm. 
 

WonderLab Museum

Two little boys exploring a bed of nails exhibit at WonderLab Museum
Photo by WonderLab Museum

WonderLab Museum is an award-winning children's museum that strives to cultivate an excitement and curiosity for science through interactive exhibits & programs. There's much to be explored at WonderLab, including the Fitzgerald Hall of Natural Science, which showcases live insects, amphibians, and reptiles in their natural habitats, the Bubble Flow exhibits for exploring "soapy science," the outdoor WonderGarden, and much more. It's one of the top attractions for families in Bloomington, and one of the few children's museums in Southern Indiana.

 

Looking for more things to do with kids in B-Town? Check out these blogs:


 

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa Davis

Alyssa is the Digital Content Coordinator at Visit Bloomington. She's a proud Indiana University alumna, mom to four cats, and Formula 1 enthusiast. When she isn't at work, you can find Alyssa checking out the newest restaurants in the area with her husband, curled up at home with a great book, or planning her next trip to a destination near or far.

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