According to Therese Miller, director of Advocates for Children, “It’s essential that every child have the opportunity to participate in enrichment activities that can help to enhance confidence, skills, and social interactions with peers.”
Columbus parents know such opportunities are plentiful locally. But those looking to cast the net a bit wider will also find no shortage of summer-specific activities in central and southern Indiana as the season wanes. From music to food to animals to thrilling physical activities, good times can be had within a day’s drive. Here are just a few ideas.
For a touch of Rio, head to Animals and All That Jazz on Aug. 4 at the Indianapolis Zoo, 1200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis. Listen to violinist (and Columbus native) Cathy Morris and Brazilian Jazz while munching on Brazilian barbecue-themed food. And don’t ignore the animals! Information: 317- 630-2001; indianapoliszoo.com.
Continuing with the animal theme, through Oct. 30 families can interact with a herd of female elephants (including helping to bathe them) at the Elephant Retreat at Wilstem Ranch in French Lick. Information: 812-936-4484; info@WilstemRanch.com.
The adventurous will find plenty to enjoy at eXplore Brown County Zip Line Canopy Tours. Over a mile of cable at from heights of 20 to 70 feet runs through treetops and over hollows and a lake. 2620 Valley Branch Road, Nashville. Information: 812-988-7750; info@exploreBrownCounty.com.
Jennings County’s Stream Cliff Herb Farm hosts Chef Lonnie Donahue’s “Using Herbs for Gourmet Cooking” on Aug. 20, featuring demonstrations, samplings, take-home recipes and take-home live herbs. The farm is at 8225 County Road 90, Commiskey. Information: 812-346-5859.
If music is your thing, visit the 18th Annual Bean Blossom Blues Fest Aug. 25-27 at Bill Monroe Music Park & Campground, 5163 N. State Road 135, Bean Blossom. This year’s lineup includes Tad Robinson, Blues Hall of Fame legend Elvin Bishop, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Victor Wainwright and more. Bring your instruments and join the jam sessions throughout the festival grounds. Information: 800-414-4677.
For a slightly different tune, head to the 18th Annual Metamora Music Festival on Sept. 3 on the back porch of Lane’s End Barn in Metamora. The festival features roots, Americana, blues, bluegrass, string bands, workshops and demonstrations and jam sessions. Information: MetamoraMusic@gmail.com.
Downtown Bloomington will come alive Sept. 3-4 for the Fourth Street Festival, featuring art and fine crafts, live music, spoken word stage, community booths and children’s art booth. It’s one of the top 100 art fairs in the country, according to Art Fair Sourcebook; Fourth and Grant streets. Information: 4thStreet.org; 812-575-0484.
For some late summer outdoor adventure, Wildcat Canoe and Kayak Too offers boating on Wildcat Creek, overnight trips, wildlife viewing (great blue herons, owls, turtles, kingfishers, deer and more) through October. Located on County Road 725, northeast of Lafayette. Information: 765-589-8081.
Clearly, there’s something for every age and every interest. Make some summer memories while this glorious time of year is still upon us!