Planning for spring break doesn’t have to mean mapping out a trip to the beach.
Sometimes it’s simpler to find a nearby destination or even hang out around home. Do you have a list of kid friendly things to do in The Bend you’ve been meaning to explore? Now is a great time to check a few off it.
NOTE: If you’re coming from Chicago or Northwest Indiana, the South Shore Line is making it even easier to visit The Bend during spring break. Kids between 3 and 13 years old ride free on all train lines from March 23-April 6.
Interactive farm fun awaits at the St. Joseph County Fairgrounds during Ag Days, which is set for April 5-7. Kids can see and pet animals, participate in a pedal pull and enjoy man other hands-on activities during at the Commercial Building.
Blackthorn Topgolf Swing Suite
Gaming doesn’t come more interactive than the options at this indoor center. Big screens and top-of-the-line technology make for a great simulated golf outing. But there’s more: baseball, hockey, quarterback challenge, zombie dodgeball and carnival classic. Try them all while you grab a bite to eat. During spring break (April 1-7), the Swing Suite will be offering half off rental.
Explore Area Parks
There’s no better way to celebrate the return of spring than by heading outside to explore one of the area’s many parks. Potawatomi Park in South Bend is home to Kids Kingdom, a massive playground that’s ripe for exploration. Mishawaka’s parks along the Riverwalk, St. Joseph County Parks and Potato Creek State Park all have an abundance of trails and activities for kids. St. Joseph County Parks is hosting Mom and Me: Make Something New on April 3 at Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park in Osceola. Kids can “up-cycle” old t-shirts into tote bags, accessories or pet toys.
First Friday in Downtown South Bend
Downtown South Bend bustles with activity on the first Friday of every month, each with a different theme. “Dream Big Downtown” is scheduled for April 5. It’ll include a “Dream Big Downtown Contest,” where visitors can submit ideas for an experience that later comes true. Area restaurants will be serving up new, unique dishes and specials.
Head to the Museum Campus
Have a young gearhead in your life? Studebaker National Museum isn’t just a showcase for local automotive history and classic cars, kids can pop the hood at the Super Service Center. This exhibit shows kids how a car works and allows them to try their hand at automobile repair. You can also take a step back in time at The History Museum’s Kidsfirst Children’s Museum. Kidsfirst transports visitors to when Europeans were first settling the area. It includes household items, handcrafted furniture and other items from the period.
Head to Granger for this kid friendly combination of three 9-hole mini golf courses, indoor laser maze challenges and more. You can also stroll through a nature walk and grab some snacks. Ninja Golf opens for the season March 29 and plans to be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout spring break, wrapping up April 7.
Indiana’s first zoo reopens for the season just in time for spring break. Talk about a great time to reconnect with your favorite animals – whether it’s the lions, tigers, okapi, snow leopard, red panda or any of the other nearly 500 zoo inhabitants. Don’t forget to hitch a ride on the Zoo Train and grab a snack during your visit.
The Pigeon & The Hen Pottery
Feeling crafty? Head to The Pigeon & The Hen in downtown South Bend on April 5 for a reading of “Little Owl’s Egg.” Afterward, participants will paint a magical owl. And there will be snacks available during this paint-and-take project.
Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center
There are many ways to burn off energy at this community center. The rock-climbing wall is a local favorite. Inside the aquatics center there is a pool, lazy river and water slide. The Kroc Center is offering day camps from April 1-5 where, under supervision, kids will play, swim, use the rockwall and more.
Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Head to Mishawaka for this indoor park of wall-to-wall trampolines. Kids can play ultimate dodgeball, a high-flying game of basketball, fly into a foam pit and more. Experience weightlessness right here in The Bend.
South Bend Chocolate Factory
When it’s time for a snack, satisfy your sweet tooth by heading to the South Bend Chocolate Factory. You can take a behind-the-scenes tour for a look at how the treats are made then grab a box to take home. If you’re in downtown South Bend, visit the café for a bit to eat and the kids play area.
South Bend Cubs
Four Winds Field, one of the best ballparks in minor league baseball, comes back to life as another South Bend Cubs season begins. Regular season games are set for April 4-5 with firework shows planned after each. There’s also a 7-inning exhibition game planned for 6 p.m. April 3 against the University of Notre Dame. Tickets are just $5 and proceeds will go to charity. Four Winds Field is complete with a fun zone just for kids and batting cages in the 1st Source Bank Performance Center. Speaking of which, the Cubs are holding a Spring Break Camp on April 1-2 at the Performance Center. Former minor league manager Mark Haley and other instructors will be on hand to help young baseball players looking to improve.
Strikes and Spares Entertainment Center
This is no ordinary bowling alley. Strikes and Spares offers all kinds of indoor recreation: black-light mini-golf, go-kart races, bumper cars, mini bowling, arcade games and more. It will be offering significant specials April 1-5, including $1 games of bowling between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and $13.95 wristbands from 4 p.m. to close.