Tag: Indiana

Hiking in Indiana North to South: Two Parks Showcasing the Variety of Indiana Landscapes

We don’t really know the Midwest for its hiking, but I’ve found exceptional trails in every central US state that I’ve been too. (For example, did you know that there is cool hiking in Kansas?). And Indiana is no exception! While I will admit that I am no expert on the trails here, I can say that if you don’t go anywhere else to experience nature, Turkey Run State Park and the Indiana Dunes will not disappoint. All in all, hiking in Indiana shouldn’t be missed.

Hiking in Indiana Thanks To Cool Geology

One thing I’ve learned as I’ve traveled through the Midwest over the years is that it isn’t the flat land it’s made out to be. Sure, the Midwest states don’t have the Rocky Mountains or the Appalachians, but powerful geological forces shaped the Great Plains just as well as anywhere else.

In the case of Indiana, the big, geological force that created the land that we see today was glaciers. They slowly scraped across the land, leaving behind the fertile place that feeds millions today. They also left behind magnificent fossils from the Ice Age. And they created the unimaginably large Great Lakes.

hiking in Indiana

Turkey Run State Park (c) ABR 2022

North Indiana is notable for the series of dunes that stretch south from Lake Michigan. There are seven, in fact, and the series furthest from the lake is the oldest. This is an area where you can explore all kinds of ecosystems. Different plants colonize the sand and pave the way for more established species.

The middle of the state, which likely looks the way that you’d expect Indiana to, the plains seem to stretch on forever. And they are carpeted with oceans of agriculture. This was all scooped out by the glaciers that survive on as Lake Michigan now.

Continue traveling south, into the vicinity of Indianapolis, and you will see the land change again. Here, in the south, the plains give way to undulating hills covered in forests. They hint at the gorges and caves of Kentucky, with their own twisting rivers and narrow, stone canyons.

And you can explore it all by hiking in Indiana.

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Backyard Discoveries: Indiana Medical History Museum

Well, hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I haven’t forgotten about Backyard Discoveries, dear readers, even if this particular discovery is a little belated (by say, oh, maybe three months or so).

I visited Indiana in October, and one of the places I found on a list of must-sees was the Indiana Medical History Museum. I enjoy the weird and the historical, so this seemed like a perfect place to stop on a soon-to-be-rainy afternoon.

Indiana Medical History Museum

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • The museum is only about three miles west of downtown Indianapolis – stop by on your way to or from downtown!

  • If you visit, it’s through guided tour only. Which you’ll want anyway, because how else would you learn about the building and its history? Our docent was an absolute delight and firecracker. They were super knowledgeable about the museum, and also about the medical field – being a former nurse and current nursing professor.
    • No need to reserve a tour (unless you’re a larger group or perhaps need special accommodations),  as you can just show up. Tours are given every hour, on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays.
    • Admission is per person, but only $10 for adults and less for seniors and students. Might I also remind you that the museum is a non-profit and these fees help with funding (and so do donations, so feel free to give more if you feel so inclined).
  • Lastly and importantly, in case it wasn’t clear, this is a MEDICAL history museum. There are specimens. There is talk of cadavers. There is an autopsy table (pictured below). This building also was once part of the larger campus of a psychiatric hospital. If the thought of any of these things makes you or anyone in your party uncomfortable, do yourself and them a kindness and perhaps check out another Indianapolis attraction like the canal walk downtown instead!

The guided tour delves into the museum’s history, from the building’s inauguration in 1896 to its use as a place to study mental illness as a part of the former Central State Hospital.

You’ll get to see and learn about each room in this former pathological department, from a lecture amphitheater, to labs and even a photography room.

Not to be missed is the relics of their studies – slides, specimens and more. If you’re looking to see a slice of brain in a box or perhaps a full skeleton, this is the place for you.

That’s a wrap for this installment of Backyard Discoveries. And hopefully, it’s given you another idea of how to cure your little travel bug. See you next time!

Just what the doctor ordered,

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