Have you been following along on our Southern Indiana road trip? Today, we’re highlighting the lovely college town of Bloomington, Indiana. We spent a day here and could have easily spent longer. While we only had one day here, check out all the family fun things we did!
Disclosure: A big thanks to Visit Bloomington for providing a complimentary stay and attractions to experience all the city has to offer. I was not required to express a particular point of view. All opinions are my own.
Places to PLAY in Bloomington
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For a little peace and quiet, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center (TMBCC). We took a stroll on the grounds, read the informational signs, and learned a little bit about the culture. Although there was a retreat happening, they welcomed us to take a quick peek inside the temple( just remember to take off your shoes). We made our way to the back of the temple where we found the sacred pond with all the pretty lily pads and lotus leaves. We also spied the yurts that they rent out. Super cool!
Tip: Take time to check out the gift shop where most of the items are actually from Tibet and India
This award-winning science museum may have been smaller than some of science museums we’ve visited but it sure packed a lot of fun and learning for the family! Upon walking in, the first thing the kids laid their eyes on was the two-story grapevine climber and couldn’t wait to climb it. (No socks? No worries, they provide fresh ones to borrow.)
After a few rounds on the grapevine climber, we perursed the top floor and found different sorts of animals like reptiles, fish, insects. Stacking blocks with a crane held my son’s concentration for a long time. We also found different blocks to play with including those fun magnet tiles as well as stacking blocks.
The first floor is where my kids spent a majority of the time. Have you ever laid down on a bed of nails? Well here’s your chance! Crank up the pulley with a parachute attached and watch it land safely.
The real hit though was the bubble area with neat bubble gadgets we’ve never seen before including holding a bubble with liquid gas in it. So fun!
Indiana University Campus
As we walked through the Sample Gates onto Indiana University we couldn’t help but be awed on how beautiful the campus was. We were surrounded by beautiful limestone buildings as well as a woods. I only wish we had more time to peruse some of their buildings like their Lilly Library or the Conservatory.
Places to EAT in Bloomington
Mother Bear’s Pizza
Pizza is always a hit with the family so we couldn’t deny a chance to try the iconic Mother Bear’s Pizza. We just had to try their deep dish pizza (more like Detroit-style) which they were known for. The Margherita was definitely a crowd pleaser. Everything was pretty good, especially with their special Mother’s Bear sauce that has a little kick.
Tip: Keep the kids busy by having their write or draw on the furniture. My daughter couldn’t believe that she could write on the furniture. Don’t forget a sharpie!
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This all-vegan bakery (and mostly gluten-free) include delicious donuts and bakery items in a colorful, retro space. We picked out a half dozen donuts ranging from cinnamon sugar to lemon to pistachio . If you love lavender like I do, you’ll need to try their lavender lemonade.
Anyetsang’s Little Tibet
As one of the few Tibetan retaurants around and especially after our visit to the TMBCC we just had to try Tibetan food. Located on the famed International row, Anyetsang’s is definitely a must try for those that want to try something a little different. We tried both of their signature specials including Temo Sha Tsel, stir fried veggies, and Kham Amdo Thugpa, a stew. The Mo Mos, or dumplings, and the samosas were a big hit with the family. The veggie dish includes a pot of rice, a definite favorite for my rice-lovin’ family. Try Tibetan Tea, or butter tea, to complete the experience.
You know I love my ice cream, and appreciate it even more when they make it locally. Hartzell’s, a neighborhood ice cream shop perfectly situated across from Indiana University’s campus, creates exciting and inventive flavors like an apple cider sorbet, double dark chocolate, a boozy lavender creation (can you tell I’m on a lavender kick?), and more.
Tip: Walk across the street to the park for plenty of seating as well as the awesome Bloomington mural.
Where to STAY in Bloomington
Located by on the shores of Lake Monroe, Fourwinds Lakeside Inn & Resort was our stomping grounds for a night. Opt for the suite with a separate king size bed and extra large bathroom. The kids were pretty happy to stay in the living room with the sleeper sofa as their bed. The kitchen was a highlight with a counter with stools, a full size fridge, oven, sink, and dishwasher. I just wished we had more time to enjoy it.
Take time to explore the grounds. Takea stroll on their walking path that hugs the lake or hang out at the beach (unfortunately due to all the rain the beach was flooded and closed.) Since you are right by the lake, another great option would be to rent a boat. How fun would that be?
Since we couldn’t hit the beach, we did the second best thing — their pool. Unlike other hotel pools, this once was pretty cool since it opened up since it was connected to the outdoor pool overlooking Lake Monroe. Other amenities include a fitness center, mini golf, tennis and basketball court, board games, and nearby hiking trails.
One really neat fact about the resort is that many famous celebrities have stayed here. Look at their “wall of fame.”