Being a family friendly destination is something The Bend takes seriously.
Many of our attractions feature something designed specifically for kids or, even better, are totally kid-centric. Sports fans, animal lovers, chocolate enthusiasts or adventure seekers — there’s a little something for all of them around here. Consider this your ultimate guide to planning a family getaway in The Bend.
South Bend’s first park reopened in 2019 as a transformed attraction for families. Howard Park is at its best one the state-of-the-art ice skating trail is open. Skaters can work their way around the park, gliding past the playground and over the bridge. They can also stick to the ice pond for a more traditional skating environment. The playground is ADA accessible and features equipment that’s both innovative and traditional.
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Elsewhere around the park you’ll find vast open space, a walkway along the St. Joseph River, a concession stand for quick snacks (and hot chocolate during winter!), fountains that function as a both a splash pad and, at other times, a water/ light display.
Located right in South Bend, Indiana’s first zoo is home to around 500 animals. Kids can take a ride on the Potawatomi Zoo Train, stroll through Zoo Farm or watch North American river otters glide through the water. After you visit the zoo, stop by the playground and splash pad in Potawatomi Park for some extra fun.
South Bend Cubs
NOTE: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, South Bend Cubs baseball games aren’t expected return in 2020.
Nothing says summertime in The Bend like the South Bend Cubs. Four Winds Field is more than just a place to watch a ball game – it’s a full-on kid friendly experience. The splash pad is a perfect place to cool off on hot summer nights. The playground provides ample opportunity to burn off some energy, as do the bounce and slide in the inflatable Fun Zone.
Kids can practice their home run swing at the First Source Bank Performance Center in the same batting cages the players use.
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There are dozens of reasons why Ballpark Digest in 2017 named Four Winds Field the best low-Class A ballpark in the country. These are just a few of them.
The History Museum
Kids can get a hands-on look at local history at The History Museum’s Kidsfirst Children’s Museum. It’s complete with a child-sized dining table, chair, bed and other hands-on household items from the period of European settlement in the area. Kids can step back in history here with a glimpse of what life was like when South Bend was just a lightly settled trading post on the St. Joseph River.
Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Head to Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Mishawaka to experience the weightlessness of bouncing and flipping on wall-to-wall trampolines. Kids can also enjoy a game of ultimate dodgeball, a high-flying basketball slam dunk or flying into 10,000 foam cubes.
South Bend Chocolate Company
Get the inside scoop on how everyone’s favorite treat is made with a tour of the South Bend Chocolate Factory and museum. Don’t forget to try a piece of freshly made chocolate and grab a box to take home. South Bend Chocolate’s downtown South Bend cafe is a great place to fuel up and play. It has a food and drink menu that will please the kids as well as the parents, an indoor play area and the world’s largest chocolate store.
Studebaker National Museum
Put on your work jacket and pop the hood at the Studebaker National Museum’s hands-on, interactive exhibit just for kids. The Super Service Center exhibit offers kids the chance to learn how a car works and try their hand at automobile repair. Equipped with tools and life-like sound effects, this exhibit is sure to keep their attention.
Strikes + Spares Entertainment Center
This is no ordinary bowling alley. Strikes and Spares Entertainment Center offers all types of indoor recreation from black-light mini-golf and go-kart races to bumper cars and mini-bowling, arcade games, and of course, bowling.