Even if you don’t know what a Boilermaker is, there is plenty to enjoy in the hometown of Purdue University.
The university, located in West Lafayette, is surrounded by family friendly sites and activities in nearby Lafayette and Battle Ground.
A trip from the Region typically takes less than two hours.
Sara Erickson, the PR and social media specialist of Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette, said a large mix of visitors come to the area. “We’re a great one-tank trip. We have attractions for children and adults,” she said.
She suggests starting online at homeofpurdue.com. “We have information about everything – attractions, restaurants, shopping,” she said. The site also includes a listing of free year-round activities for families to check out.
Those interested in visiting Purdue University can let their kids walk around campus, visit the Union Memorial Hall for bowling and arcade games or dine at one Purdue’s famed hotspots like XXX Family Restaurant.
Opened in 1929, Indiana’s oldest drive-in is full of history and atmosphere. Try one of the famous burgers like the Boilermaker Pete or, if you dare, the Duane Purvis All-American. This quarter-pound burger named for the famous Boilermaker who first ordered it includes a slab of peanut butter on the bottom bun.
For information, call (765) 743-5373 or visit triplexxxfamilyrestaurant.com.
Those who want to skip the university can head straight to one of the family attractions like Columbian Park in Lafayette.
Kids can check out the innovative playground with areas for tots to teens; Tropicanoe Cove Aquatic Center, amusement rides, a train, a paved trail and a zoo with 190 animals. For information, call (765) 807-1540 or visit lafayette.in.gov/parks.
Tropicanoe Cove, 1915 Scott St., is an outdoor aquatic center open Memorial Day to Labor Day. Enjoy the tube slide, float down a 640-foot lazy river or let toddlers and small children explore Sunfish Bay and Dolphin’s Delight. Call (765) 807-1500 or visit lafayette.in.gov/aquatics.
A stop at Historic Five Points Fire Station Museum, 1511 Main St. in Lafayette, will be a hit with the young firefighter set. Kids can see what it was like to be a firefighter in the 1930s at this restored firehouse. Call (765) 429-1046 for hours.
Wolf Park is a hit with all ages, Erickson said. Visitors can learn about wolf behavior and see wolves in action.
“Think of it like a nature preserve with animals,” she said. Located at 4004 E. 800 N. in Battle Ground, this wildlife center is open Tuesday to Sunday afternoons from May to the end of November. Wolf Howl nights, where guests can learn more about and hear the wolves’ trademark howls, take place at 7:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.
For information, visit wolfpark.org or call (765) 567-2265.
Near Wolf Park is Prophetstown State Park, 5545 Swisher Road in Battle Ground. Indiana’s newest state park includes a working 1920s farmhouse with animals and has trails and overnight camping, Erickson said. A multimillion dollar aquatic center is set to open at the park this summer with slides, splash zones and more ways to keep cool. For information, visit in.gov/dnr/parklake or call (765) 567-4919.
For an overnight stay with kids or when visiting during the winter visit, check out the Best Western Lafayette Hotel Executive Plaza & Conference Center, 4343 South St. featuring Lafayette’s indoor waterpark. Day passes are available and children of all ages will enjoy the slides, kiddie pool, hot tub and arcade.
For information, call (800) 780-7234.