Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Home of Larry Bird and much more....

French Lick, Indiana...many people know it for it's having been the home to NBA great Larry Bird. Or folks who even are history buffs remember it's hey days in the early 20th century attracting celebrities and mobsters alike, including Irving Berlin and Al Capone. It also is located about 30minutes from my husband's hometown and we have been keeping a close eye on it the last several years as it attempts to rebuild itself and regain some it's glory from the days past.

This small town of just over 2000 people has been pouring a lot of time and energy into restoring two of it's iconic buildings...French Lick Resort and West Baden Springs. Both share massive pieces of history in their own rite...French Lick being the place FDR launched his candidacy for President and West Baden being the largest free-spanning dome until 1913. Both have feasts of fun for any adult from world-class golf courses, spas, restaurants, shows, etc..

But this blog is all about the kids, so we have been keeping our eyes and ears open to see how they would accommodate our littlest traveling companions. At the two resorts there is a "Just for Kids" club open daily for free play for a nominal fee. Additional fees will get you all kinds of extra organized activities including cooking, dude ranch, zoo, musical parties, etc.. The family can also play together at the arcade, bowling alley, or pools or take a ride at the stables. All of these are located right within the two resorts which you can move back and forth between via a free shuttle service or the many walking paths. We visited at the holidays and the decor was jaw-dropping.

Outside the compounds of the resorts the town is adding additional fun. Big Splash Adventure Waterpark just opened in March. This is one thing that has caught on in the Midwest that I think is great as our waterparks still sit empty here in Northern California awaiting opening days at the end of May.....Indoor Waterparks. Even though medium in size it is the largest with a retractable roof as of it's opening in March. Lazy rivers, slides, toddler has it all. Day lockers, locker rooms, just bring your suit and have fun. It had fun for all 2yo enjoyed all the levers turning water on and off, my 4yo enjoyed the slides aimed at her age group, and Daddy and I even took to the slides aimed at the big kids...or big kids at heart. And we must admit they very much got our pulse a pounding. In addition there is on site arcade and restaurants. We booked in advance as we were not staying here and there are limited amounts of day passes, but it is limitless for you if you book one of the adjacent hotels 150 rooms.

If you have a Thomas the Train lover in your family (our 2yo boy is an addict) then a trip to the Indiana Railway Museum located in town should be on your list. The museum is free and there is a nominal fee for the 2hr 20mile ride through scenic Orange County. A special note...the museum is open year round, but the train rides do not go out December through March.

We're very excited to return many more times in the future as they are adding a indoor go kart track and a Amish Restaurant. Also right down the road is Patoka Lake for the kids to enjoy some angling with their Papa. So if in Indiana or even Northern Kentucky I would highly advise a day or two stop-over in this re-polished gem in Orange County that has something for everyone.

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