The Indiana Insider Blog

3 Fun Ways to Keep Cool This Summer

Today marks the first day of summer, and I’m already plotting ways to get relief from the heat and humidity that often hangs around Indiana this time of year. There are many great lakes, pools, splash pads and water parks to check out, but when you need a break from swimming, here are three unique destinations to keep you cool.

Zaharakos: This ice cream parlor and soda fountain in Columbus, Indiana is so much more than just your typical spot for sweet treats. In fact, it was recently featured on the CBS Sunday Morning show. Established in 1900, Zaharakos underwent an amazing renovation several years ago and is back to its original glory, including an interior adorned with stained glass, carved oak and a marble counter. It is also home to a museum devoted to soda fountains and their history as well as a fully operational Welte orchestrion (which will undoubtedly play full-blast during your visit!) My husband would tell you to order the Brownie Sundae, but I prefer a simple scoop of ice cream with one of their sauces. Or you can order their famous Green River soda for a truly unique, refreshing experience! (Zaharakos also serves food, a complete menu is found here.)

Indiana World Skating Academy: Did you know you can ice skate right in the heart of downtown Indianapolis? The best part for summer visitors and travelers is that this rink is open year round for public skating. Wouldn’t that be a fun way to cool off and get some exercise while barely breaking a sweat? Located in the block often referred to as Pan Am Plaza (201 S. Capitol Avenue, Suite 001), it is home to two rinks, countless hockey games, figure skating lessons and a pro shop. Their website includes a facility schedule (to find the next open skating session), admission prices and information about lessons for all ages.

Original Root Beer Stand: Culver, Indiana is home to this classic drive-in restaurant. Your car hop will deliver your root beer cold and set it down on a tray attached to your car window. Or enjoy the cool breeze by sitting lakeside at a table along the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee. They’re also known for their big-as-your-face pork tenderloins. This spot was recently featured in Midwest Living magazine. Call 574.842.2122 for more information. The restaurant is open seasonally.

What are your favorite ways to stay cool during Hoosier summers?

Photo courtesy of Zaharakos.

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Written by : Nicole is a stay-at-home mom and blogger living in Columbus, Indiana. She blogs about adventures at home and away with her husband and 2-year-old son at She grew up in Plainfield, Indiana and graduated from Butler University in 2002. She grew up in Plainfield, Indiana and graduated from Butler University in 2002. She spent seven years living and working in downtown Indianapolis following college. Nicole is always looking for fun, kid-friendly outing ideas. You can contact her via email or find her on Twitter at @arrowssentforth. Nicole receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development for blogging. For more information, see our FTC Disclosure page.