Best Free Midwest Attractions: Indiana
Free art in Indianapolis
Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park: 100 Acres (pictured) Admire modern art while exploring the woods, meadows, wetlands and lake at this former quarry. Guided tours of the 100-acre park, adjacent to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, run seasonally on Saturdays. imamuseum.org
Indianapolis Art Center The center offers interactive exhibitions and artist demonstrations, both indoors and in a 12-acre creativity park. indplsartcenter.org
- Photo: Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association
Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial, Indianapolis A glass wall in White River State Park honors recipients of the nation's highest military tribute. Each day at dusk, the memorial's sound system plays recorded stories of medal winners and the conflicts in which they fought.
Indiana War Memorials, Indianapolis Climb 330 steps to the top of the 1902 Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument (left) for a 360-degree view of Indy (or ride the $1 elevator). Also nearby are the Indiana War Memorial Museum, Indiana War Memorial Plaza, Veterans' Memorial Plaza, USS Indianapolis Memorial, University Park and American Legion Mall -- all free.
- Photo: fallsoftheohio.org
For fossil lovers
Falls of the Ohio State Park, Clarksville See one of the largest naturally exposed fossil beds along the Ohio River in Clarksville (about 100 miles southwest of Cincinnati, just across the river north of Louisville, Kentucky).
Explore up to 220 acres of fossil beds (although collecting is not allowed). Naturalists lead hikers across the beds from June through October, when the river is low, to see the imprints of creatures from more than 380 million years ago.
Also visit the Blufftop Interpretive Center, which (for a fee) shows a movie recounting the area's history. fallsoftheohio.org
- Photo: indianatrails.org
Hiking in Richmond
Whitewater Gorge Park Trail, Richmond A popular 3.5-mile hiking trail goes through downtown Richmond (about 75 miles east of Indianapolis) to Thistlewaite Falls, a bird sanctuary, vertical cliffs, Happy Hollow, Weir Dam and an old flour mill.