Visited Hendricks County invited my family for a visit. Most of the activities and lodging were complimentary to us so we can tell you all about it
What does Friday mean for you? Are you getting ready to spend a weekend on the bleachers watching your kids’ games? Maybe you plan to cook for the week ahead or finally clean your kids’ rooms? As fun as that all might sound, I’d instead go on vacation! Not joke – every weekend is a fantastic opportunity for a family to spend together away from chores and responsibilities.
My favorites are a weekend getaways that are both inexpensive and close to home. What can be better than getting to the destination on Friday evening and spending two days discovering the area?
This Saturday morning I woke up in the Staybridge Suites and looked out of the window onto Hendricks county ready to start the day. Living in the Chicago suburbs, we are only a short drive away from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
Fun family friendly places to visit in Hendricks County, Indiana this Weekend.
My kids are 11, 9, and 3 – far enough apart to not care about the same thing, which makes a choice of activities a bit of a challenge. However, this particular day I knew we had a fantastic action plan. Time to leave the comfort of a hotel a hit the road – adventures await!
As we pulled onto a Kid’s planet parking lot, we looked up onto the bright sign – KIDS PLANET. The building looked brand new. Stars above the front entrance shined as we approached the front doors. The view into the windows was enchanting – it’s like we looked into a different galaxy with stars and planets.
“I bet it looks incredible at night,” I thought, “Especially during sunset.”
I pulled a large door handle and entered the Planet.
About Kid’s Planet
Opened in spring of 2017 in Hendricks County, Kid’s Planet brought a whole new level of fun to the community. There are jungle gyms, multi-level playground, and arcade games. With activities like ball cannon, trampoline, twister slides, and kinetic sand areas, kids will find a lot to do. A separate toddler area is fantastic for little kids and toddlers.
Exploring Kid’s Planet
My three children followed the voice of a climbing jungle – kicked their shoes off and disappeared in a maze. I knew they won’t be back for a while with so was much to explore. I joined my husband and other parents along the wall. Some grownups were reading the morning newspaper, others were watching their kids climb and descend. A woman to the right of us enjoyed her coffee flipping through the page on hi her Kindle. A man on the other side of the room was deep watching a show on his phone.
I almost forgot that I was here with the kids when my little one gave me “I missed you” hug, turned around and disappeared in the plastic jungle again. I wondered if he got lost in structure, didn’t know how to come out, and surprised himself when he ended up in front of us.
Following the Signs
I went to explore and followed “cafe” sign leading me onto the second floor. Before I could make it to a cafe, I found myself in the middle of the space titled Kids’ Lounge, surrounded by rather sophisticated furniture, and play arrangements. To the side were party rooms that would make any kids jump for joy. The decorations where so detailed – from a colorful combination of balloons, flowers, and beads at the Mini Mouse birthday party to superheroes floating over Avenger coasters of the Marvel party. I wished I was a six-year-old celebrating my big day here.
Leaving Kids Planet wasn’t an easy task, and by the time my children buckled their seat belts I was ready for lunch. Our next stop at Hendricks County was close and promised to be one of the unique and delicious places to visit in Indiana.
Parked outside of the restaurant was a Ford Plymouth with a bright red siren on its roof and a gold sheriff star on the side. We parked right behind it. My son approached it with caution and picked inside: what’s inside? Gold sheriff star and letters “Mayberry Cafe, Danville, Indiana” shined right back in the warm afternoon sun.
About Mayberry Cafe
Mayberry Café is a pride and joy of Danville, IN ad Hendricks county. Located across the street from the County Courthouse and the Danville town square, it’s been around since 1989. Christine and Brad Borne filled the Mayberry Café with memorabilia The Andy Griffith Show. Several original cast members have visited the Mayberry Café including Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle), Jean Carson (Daphne), Rodney Dillard Bank (the Darling boys) and Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling).
Although Barney and Andy never visited us, their daughters Karen Knotts and Dixie Griffith have been known to stop by every spring. It’s not just about the atmosphere, cooked from scratch home dishes make you fit right at home.
Down Mayberry Lane
Every little thing inside of the cafe whispers “The Andy Griffith Show” down to the street signs between yellow wallpapered walls. May I dare to say that this might be one of few places in the world where dated wallpaper looks right? Once at the table we found ourselves surrounded by photos of scenes from the show, items from the show set, and articles about Mayberry Cafe from local papers. The TVs on the wall surrounded by memorabilia was playing Andy Griffith show.
I took several pictures of the menu – how absolutely cool is it? Bound in the large leather cover with a gold star it looks timeless.
Fried Chicken and Sugar Biscuits
It’s funny but just about anywhere you sit, you will be able to watch an episode of the show while waiting for your food. And speaking of food, the menu here carries Andy Griffith vibe as well: Aunt Bee’s Famous Fried Chicken might have been something served to Andy and his son on the show. Warm Biscuits rolled in Cinnamon & Sugar and served with apple butter sounds like something we can all use after a long day in the office.
A nice touch? Kids here get rewarded for licking their plates clean. The rules are simple: eat your food and get a shiny coin you can exchange for a toy.
On the Way Out
By the time we left Mayberry cafe, my husband had added Andrew Griffith show to his Netflix queue – he will have fun rewatching his favorite episodes
What would you do after a fun, active morning and a delicious comfort lunch? What if you are looking for more places to visit yet you don’t want to move much? We decided to spend an afternoon creating a piece of art!
Tie Dye Lab
#ImagineGreatWear was the first thing we said when we entered The Tie Dye Lab – could we be coloring clothes today? The name suggested a color explosion and a new experience for us.
In 2016 an idea was born that lead to a creation of do-it-yourself tie dye store. While, tie-dye has been around forever, simplifying the process wasn’t an easy task, but after trial and error Tie Dye Lab was in business!
The Tie Dye Lab team helped us combine the right colors and walked us through every step of the process until we had a finished product
What to Color?
I thought we should color the clothes we were wearing on a bright Saturday day, but the Tie Dye Lab had an assortment of clothes to pick from – a t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, a bag, bag, hoodie. Even my 3-year old could take part in this project.
I might not care much for the travel clothes but covering up will limit the coloring to only clothes we intend to color.
I wanted to let my imagination run wild, but on this step, you actually have to follow a certain logic. Certain colors work better together and the team is happy to suggest the best variations!
The 3-year-old certainly benefited from help, but everyone else got the hang of coloring very quickly… except me. I overcolored, ran out of paint before I was done, and had to ask for more.
I wouldn’t want to do this in my own microwave, but microwaves at the Tie Dye Lab are ready to take our creations to the next level. Perfect time for kids to play around and for me to relax after hard coloring work.
As soon as the microwave finished its job, we moved onto the final stage of the tie-dye process – rinsing, but I can only imagine how many t-shirts and colors this sink has seen.
Take a Selfie
Taking a selfie is a mandatory step that will create a long lasting memory even after your kids grow out.
We loaded in the car and headed home – it seemed like we have done it all! While looking for places to visit in Hendricks County, Indiana, we sure found a fantastic variety of activities to attend, but I knew of a dozen more than we haven’t. Farewell, Hendricks County! Till Next Time…
Looking at what else to do in Lafayette? Read on!
5 Things to do in Hendricks County, Indiana:
- Drive or Fly? Hendricks County, Indiana is less than three hours away from Chicago. Easy drive down will get you there in no time.
- How Long to Stay Here. This is an amazing
trip with a lot to offer for the family. wekend
- Will you need a car to get around? Yes! There is no other way to get around and get to all these places
- Family Activities
. LucasOil Raceway, Kid’s Planet, Tie Dye Lab
- Local food not to be missed. Oasis Diner, Mayberry Cafe.