About this trip idea

This winter, take the family on a getaway with activities you’ve likely never tried before. Be sure to take lots of pictures and videos, because your friends might not believe you when you tell them what you’ve done!

Stay behind bars

CNN and other TV news stations across the country have featured Parke County’s Old Jail Inn. Located on the courthouse square in Rockville, it served as the county jail from 1879-1998. Now it’s been completely renovated as a unique bed and breakfast – in fact, it’s the only county jail in the world that has been converted to a bed and breakfast. All of the holding areas and cells have been beautifully converted to suites and sleeping rooms. While the furnishings are lovely and comfortable, the doors are still the original bars! Take a tour to hear about famous prisoners like John Dillinger. All guests are invited to leave a bit of graffiti on the walls, with markers available throughout the jail. You’ll eat your breakfast in the area where the prisoners formerly ate. Mom and Dad can also check out the Drunk Tank Winery, located in the basement where intoxicated prisoners used to stay. 

If you visit in December, be sure to check out the Christmas festivals throughout the county. And in late February, taste the sweetness of the tapped trees during the Parke County Maple Syrup Fair. You can see how maple syrup is made down at the sugar camp and sample its wonderful flavor on hot pancakes.

Stop for steak

After you’ve seen all the beautiful covered bridges of Parke County, head toward Lafayette by way of Covington. You’ll want to time it to have supper at the Beef House, voted Indiana’s best steak house. They’re famous for their Beef House rolls, but the steaks and huge salad bar are also crowd pleasers. There’s also a menu just for kids. The large picture windows open to a beautiful winter scene as you enjoy your meal. Add some entertainment to your visit with a show at the Beef House Dinner Theatre.

Howl and skate 

On Saturday nights, Wolf Park in nearby Battle Ground holds special Howl Nights. Just as the name implies, your family will have the chance to howl with the wolves! An expert wolf handler will bring the animals up close to you within an enclosure for a discussion of their trademark howl. Then the fun begins! You will have a sing-along with the wolves where you howl and the wolves return the call. 

Spend an afternoon or evening at the Riverside Skating Center in West Lafayette for outdoor skating. Even if it’s above freezing, the smooth ice will be kept ready for you. Skate rental is available if you don’t bring your own. 

Drive in for deliciousness

Finally, be sure to take Guy Fieri’s advice and stop in the Triple XXX Family Diner, Indiana’s oldest drive-in. He featured it on his Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show and in his book, and The Daily Meal ranked one of their burgers in the Top 101 Burgers in America! The Duane Purvis All-American – featuring creamy peanut butter with your burger – made Indiana Tourism’s Super 46 Top 10 Sandwiches. And, of course, you need to include a frosty mug of the Triple XXX root beer.

You’ll go home full, refreshed and ready to share stories with friends back home.