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Fun for kids itinerary
The top reason families bring their kids to Indiana Dunes Country is to experience the Indiana Dunes and all it has to offer – sand dunes that reach nearly 200 feet into the sky, 70 miles of hiking trails and 15 miles of glorious Lake Michigan coastline for playing in the sand or splashing in the water.
Dunes visitors can check out Indiana Dunes State Park in Chesterton, with its lifeguarded beaches, numerous hiking trails and picnic spots. A short distance from the dunes is another place to splash in the water – Seven Peaks Waterpark in Porter. Seven Peaks is one of the largest water parks in Indiana, with 15 water slides, a 500,000-gallon wave pool, a quarter-mile Lazy River and plenty of food choices.
Or head over and grab a frosty mug of root beer and a chili dog at The Port Drive-In in Chesterton. If the rain clouds roll in, go to Portage and be blown away by the coolness of IMAX on an eight-stories-high screen at Portage 16 IMAX. You can also see all the neat wildlife dioramas at Bass Pro Shops in Portage. There’s even an Islamorada Fish Company restaurant inside the store. Located just around the corner is another fun restaurant for kids: Quaker Steak & Lube in Portage, where full-size cars and motorcycles decorate the restaurant.
Head to Valparaiso, which is home to two amusement centers, Zao Island Amusement Center and Inman’s Bowling and Recreation. Inman’s features go-carts, mini-golf, bowling and more. Zao Island is home to mini-golf, go-carts, laser tag, batting cages, a baby alligator feeding area and an onsite pizzeria and bar. Or enjoy the famously delicious ice cream from nearby Valpo Velvet.
Another great spot is the Taltree Arboretum Railway Garden. The railway garden’s wonderful waterfalls, elaborate bridges, impressive 14-foot change in elevation, and its more than 3,500 tiny trees and bushes are a hit with both kids and adults.
Another popular spot is Broken Wagon Bison Farm, located west of Valparaiso. Groups can arrange a tour, or individuals can take part in the open tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. CST Saturdays from June through September.