INDIANAPOLIS — We may be kissing warm weather goodbye but the entry of the winter season doesn't mean we have to bid farewell to fun activities. On the contrary, the holiday season brings with it a slew of exciting experiences, activities and stunning holiday light displays.
Here's a list of cold-weather activities in central Indiana that will help you season the day this winter!
- Ice Bumper Cars & Bumpers and Brews: It's the winterized version of the classic amusement ride. On the weekends, there's an adult-only event, Bumpers and Brews.
- Penguin Park synthetic ice rink in Washington Township Park
- Bluespring Caverns: It's always the same temperature in this cave and four others.
- Santa's Christmas Parade will take place Dec. 4 at 10:30 a.m. on Main Street. It will start at Second street and head toward City Hall.
- Natural Valley Ranch covers 78 acres of Hendricks County. Visitors can enjoy 30- and 60-minute guided trail rides along the banks of White Lick Creek.
- Conner Prairie's Merry Prairie Holiday features ice skating, lights, and nostalgic Christmas traditions.
- Fishers' Winter Farmers' Market
- Holiday lights can be found all around Fishers. The city has a holiday lights map to make finding light displays near you easy.
- The Broad Ripple Winter Market features over 50 local vendors this season.
- "Christmas Nights of Lights" display at the Indiana State Fairgrounds
- The Indianapolis Zoo will host Christmas at the Zoo, which features visits with Santa, light displays, the Polar Pathway, Santa's Barn and much more.
- Circle of Lights
- Conservatory Crossing's winter wonderland: The Conservatory will be decked out in its holiday best with a display of poinsettias, model trains and thousands of twinkling lights until Jan. 2, 2022.
- Fifth Third Bank Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure, opening Nov. 20 at the Eiteljorg Museum, is a whimsical model railroad featuring nine G-scale model trains on 1,200 feet of track
- Fort Harrison State Park offers cross-country skiing and the park has one of Indianapolis' largest sledding hills.
- Indiana Repertory Theatre will be showing Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" between Nov. 26 and Dec. 26.
- Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will once again put on the Yuletide Celebration. The holiday show, hosted by Jack Everly and Sandi Patty, will bring its famous tap-dancing Santas to the stage Dec. 3-23.
- Jolly Days Winter Wonderlandat the Children's Museum begins Nov. 20 and will go through Jan. 2, 2022. The annual exhibit features a giant snow globe, classic holiday characters like Scrooge and Mrs. Claus, and a place to write a Christmas wish list. Additionally, Santa will be in his sleigh from Nov. 26 through Dec. 24 for family photos. The Children's Museum also has a number of other special events for the season:
- Santa's special arrival: Nov. 26 at 8:45 a.m.
- "The Christmas Quest" live performances in the Lilly theater
- Breakfast with Santa: Dec. 4, Dec. 5, Dec. 12, Dec. 18 at 8 a.m.
- North Pole PJ Party: Dec. 11 at 9:30 a.m.
- Build Gingerbread houses: Nov. 20 at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
- The 36th annual St. Nikolaus Festival, hosted by the Athenaeum Foundation, is Dec. 5 at 1 p.m. The event will include crafts, gingerbread house construction, German folk dancing and a puppet show. It will wrap up with a tree lighting ceremony. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children. There is also a virtual option that starts at 2 p.m. Those tickets are $8.
- Veal's Ice Tree
- Winterlights at Newfields
Winterlights returns to Newfields
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- Holidays at the Hill at Federal Hill Commons is back from Nov. 20-Jan. 9, featuring a holiday walking tour, holiday market, carriage rides and its Ice Plaza where people can skate.
- Magic of Lights, a 1-mile drive-thru display of holiday lights and other features, will welcome guests starting Nov. 19.
- Koteewi Run Seasonal Snow Tubing: This is central Indiana's only groomed snow tubing hill that offers 700 feet of lanes to slide down.
- Santa returns to Hamilton Town Center: Santa will arrive Thursday, Dec. 2 and be available until Christmas Eve.
- The 9th Annual Meltdown Richmond Ice Festival will take place Jan. 28-29 in downtown Richmond. The frozen art gallery will be on display until they melt away. Other attractions include an ice carving competition, a scavenger hunt and live ice sculpting.
- The 13th annual Westfield Lights returns on Dec. 4 from 3-7 p.m. The event will feature the annual Christmas tree lighting, pictures with Santa, reindeer petting, live music, a craft area, merchants and more.
- Arctic Zone Iceplex is back open for ice skating. Dates and times for public skate, cosmic skate and skating for kids under 10 can be found online.
- Riverside Skating Center is lit up at night to allow people to enjoy evening skating too.
- Whitestown residents can write a letter to Santa and drop it off at his mailbox at the Whitestown Municipal Complex. Letters must be self-addressed, stamped and dropped off by Dec. 11 for a guaranteed response.
- The Grinch will travel around town the week of Dec. 6. If you see him, take a photo and post it on social media, tagging the Town of Whitestown.
- Santa's bringing his workshop to the gymnasium at the Whitestown Municipal Complex on Dec. 11 from 1-5 p.m. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, eat cookies, drink hot chocolate and enjoy a candy buffet. Some reindeer will also be there.
- The 2021 Santa Cruise with the Whitestown Fire Department will take place Dec. 11 at 6 p.m., after Santa's workshop. Santa will ride a fire truck and go around neighborhoods to visit families. Click here to see the map of his trip.
- Winterfest at Mulberry Fields Park will take place Dec. 10-Jan. 2. There will be ice skating, food vendors, a holiday village, sledding and more.
Worth the drive:
- Buffalo Run Snowmobile Trail is a 68-mile trail that goes through St. Joseph County.
- Howard Park Ice Trail and Pond in South Bend has a 16,000-square-foot ice trail and pond.
- NIBCO Water & Ice Park is located in Elkhart right next to the Elkhart River allowing people to skate with the river as a backdrop.
- Tobogganing at Pokagon State Park in Angola
- Winter Wonderland Ice Rink in Lawrenceburg