Whether you’re into outdoor adventures or educational tours, or maybe a little bit of both, you’ll find it here. Here are some of our favorite family and children’s attractions. Families absolutely must visit the WonderLab Museum, ranked as one of the top 25 science centers in the country by Parents Magazine, offers two floors of exciting hands-on experiences for all ages. Then head over to the Mathers Museum of World Cultures on the IU Campus to teach your family about other cultures. Their exhibits showcase artifacts from around the world, but there are also interactive displays and activities that kids and adults can enjoy.
Outdoor family adventures start at Lake Monroe, the state’s largest inland lake, with fishing, swimming and boating (rentals are available at various locations). And with the Hoosier National Forest covering a large portion of the surrounding area, there’s plenty of room for hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping. Many family memories are made on the beaches of Lake Monroe and on campgrounds in the beautiful forests.
Unique shops abound in the downtown area, and this includes stores for kids and some that kids will enjoy. O’Child Boutique is a quaint shop featuring quality children’s apparel and accessories, including some locally made items. In the same building is the Game Preserve, with a variety of board and card games that inspire family time together.
Bloomington is well-known for its unique eateries and that includes some great family-friendly options. Bloomington Bagel Company is a great place to start the day, featuring fresh-made bagels and pastries (plus plenty of lunch options too). The Village Deli also serves a mean breakfast like their giant pancakes (good for sharing between siblings). And you can find several places that serve the all-time kids’ favorite—pizza! Two local favorites include Café Pizzaria, with a classic Midwestern style pizza, and Mother Bear’s, which offers deep-dish and hand tossed options.
When you’re traveling with kids, you have to consider two factors when choosing a hotel: space and money. So the larger rooms at Homewood Suites and Towneplace Suites are fantastic options, and they all feature kitchenettes for eating in once or twice (but not too much- you don’t want to miss all the great restaurants in Bloomington!)