By Christine Schaefer | For The Republic

Exotic feline rescue center

CENTER POINT — Asia or Africa are too far away for a late summer day trip, but a chance to see more than 200 big cats, including lions, tigers, leopards, pumas and bobcats is only a 90-minute drive west on I-70.

Located in Center Point on 108 acres, the Exotic Feline Rescue Center houses large cats that have been abused, neglected and unwanted, according to the center’s website. The center is open for one-hour tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The nonprofit organization neither buys or sells the cats living at the facility, its website states.

The center takes in an average of two cats a semester, according to its website. It’s home to 200 exotic cats and feeds them 8,000 to 9,000 pounds of meat a year. Medicine to prevent heartworm and parasites for each cat costs $3,000 a year.

In addition to regular open hours, the organization hosts a number of educational opportunities and fundraising events throughout the year. Children 8 to 15 years old can participate in Camp Roar over the summer. An “Evening Roar” occurs twice a year and holiday events are held in October, November and December.

Admission for adults is $10 and $5 for children aged 12 and under. For more information, visit

Hall of Heroes

ELKHART — The Hoosier state is home to some great museums — the Children’s Museum, the Eiteljorg, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, all right here in Central Indiana.

Take a three-hour drive north to Elkhart, and you’ll discover the Hall of Heroes Museum, located at 58005 County Road 105, and all the superhero memorabilia it offers.

According to museum founder Allen Stewart, the facility hosts the largest collection of superhero memorabilia in the world with more than 10,000 artifacts and a comic book collection that tops 60,000. Built in 2006 in Allen’s backyard, the structure was designed to resemble the Hall of Justice from the “Super Friends” Saturday morning cartoon. The museum pays tribute to dozens of superheroes from Plastic Man and the Teen Titans to Batman and the Incredible Hulk.

Included in the museum’s impressive collection are superhero collector cups from the 1970s, the red outfit worn by William Katt in the television series “The Greatest American Hero,” a replica of Thor’s hammer, a Superman hairbrush and hundreds of action figures.

The museum’s interior decorating features an area painted to look like the Bat Cave from the 1960s program. Sorry, everyone, but the bat pole in the corner is for display purposes only.

If you put off your visit until the weekends of October 13 and 14 and 20 and 21, the Hall of Heroes becomes the Hall of Villains Haunted House. Villains roam through the building holding superheroes captive until visitors can help them escape.

Current hours for the museum are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Adult admission is $6. Visit for more information.

Rose Island amusement park

CHARLESTOWN — In the 1920s, Rose Island was a thriving amusement park with a roller coaster called the Devil’s Backbone, a Ferris wheel, a zoo, a dance hall and ice rink.

Visitors gained access to the park via steam boat or by crossing a swinging wooden footbridge, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The depression of the early 1930s was hard on the park, but the death knell was the Ohio River Flood of 1937, according to the DNR, which caused property damage from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Cairo, Illinois, left 385 dead and more than a million homeless.

Today, Rose Island, two hours south on I-65, is part of the 15,000 acre Charlestown State Park. Bordered by the Ohio River, the park offers 13 miles of moderate to rugged hiking trails along scenic Fourteen Mile Creek, fishing and camping.

The state park also offers two-hour Rose Island history tours from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hikers and history buffs can follow the still-visible walkways that once saw 135,000 visitors a year come to swim in the pool, stay in the cottages and enjoy the park.

Stone pillars and metal archways mark the entrance to the park. A stone fountain is slowly being reclaimed by nature. The swimming pool, which continued in good shape until 1980, is still there, although it’s been filled in for safety reasons. Traces of the wooden rollercoaster are still visible among the trees.

A pole along one of trails marks the high-point of the flood waters: 57 feet above flood stage.

The “ghost amusement park” at Rose Island is also a favorite location for photographers interested in capturing images of Indiana’s past.

For more information, visit or contact