By Suzanne Crouch
Indiana Lieutenant Governor
Every time my travels across Indiana steer me towards the northwest region of our great state, I make a point to stop at Fair Oaks Farms. Whether I am grabbing a scoop of their famous ice cream, or taking part in their interactive exhibits, I am always blown away by this tourist attraction Indiana has to offer.
Tourism is an important aspect of Indiana’s economy as well as the entire nation, and as a part of National Travel and Tourism Week, the Indiana Office of Tourism Development has planned Visit Indiana Week to celebrate and promote tourism across the state. More than 200 attractions and properties will be offering special discounts and deals to encourage visitors, both Hoosiers and those from out of state, to get out and explore Indiana.
Sunday, May 6th kicks off the week with State Park Sunday and in partnership with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, all Indiana State Parks, State Forest Recreation Areas and State Off Road Vehicle Riding Areas will offer free admission. We are fortunate to have a great selection of outdoor trails, parks and activities, and now that the weather is starting to warm up, Sunday is the perfect day to get outside.
Indiana has a range of museums that exhibit antique automobiles, the life of Hoosier Poet James Whitcomb Riley, railroads and many more interesting subjects. Museum Monday on May 7th, 29 museums are offering discounts on admission and we can all stand to learn something new about our state and the rich history we have.
You’d be hard-pressed to travel in Indiana and not find a brewery, winery or distillery offering exclusive brews, wines and liquors. On Tastings Tuesday, visitors have the chance to experience various samples through discounted flights, tours and tastings.
Did you know in the town of Paoli there is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to have an elephant encounter? As a part of Wild Wednesday on May 9th, they are one of the zoos, sanctuaries and farms offering a discounted rate for their experience. It’s not every day you can say you spent time with an elephant, especially living in Indiana!
We have 200 years of history to discover in Indiana, and Throwback Thursday allows the chance to expand your knowledge of the state. Thirty five locations will be offering discounts, including Conner Prairie in Fishers and the Amish Acres Historic Farm and Heritage Resort in Nappanee.
Here in the Hoosier state, we have more than amazing pork tenderloins to offer. Just down south, Dewig Brothers Packing Company, Inc. has their famous Bierstub Bratwurst that is a best seller around the tristate area and the United States. Through Foodie Friday, they are one of the locations offering a deal on their products. Visit a location in person and tempt your taste buds in honor of Visit Indiana Week.
To round up the week, visitors and Hoosiers alike are encouraged to go on a hike, explore Indiana’s underground caves or take part in some high-speed adventures as a part of Sports and Outdoor Saturday. There are 21 spots offering discounts on their outdoor adventures, so if you want to explore the caverns in Corydon, or go duckpin bowling in Indianapolis, there’s something for everyone.
Tourism makes a significant contribution to our quality of life and fiscal well-being, and Indiana hit record numbers in 2016 with 79 million visitors spending $12.2 billion supporting 242,000 full-time jobs. Living here, we know there are countless attractions, restaurants, farms and experiences to be had. Now there are more than 200 reasons to explore during Visit Indiana Week. I’ll be visiting some of these places during the week, and you can follow along with me and others participating at #VisitIndianaWeek.
The Lieutenant Governor constitutionally serves as the President of the Indiana Senate, serves as the Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, chairs the Indiana Counter Terrorism and Security Council and oversees five state agencies.