Our run-cation weekend in Indianapolis was only going to give us a mere 60 hours, so like any good adventurer, we were going to make the most of it. The two hour flight from Orlando had us landing and in a rental car by 10. Our first stop was the Indianapolis Zoo.
I had visited this zoo several times over the course of my life. I remember as a child going one summer with my brother and cousins and being able to ride on both a camel and and an elephant’s back. All four of us in a saddle type contraption riding around on an elephant is an experience I will always remember. As the oldest, I was seated in the back of our pack, and I remember that elephant swatting me with its tail as we rode around. Of course in today’s world there are no more elephant rides. That was just the first of the changes I would find at the Indianapolis Zoo.
Upon entrance, I was already getting the vibe that this place had changed since my last visit. The entrance seemed shabby, the restrooms were in disarray, and the animal enclosures felt like enclosure in some places. The windows to see the tigers were distorted with foggy fingerprints and scratches. While I might have been able to overlook all this, it was the “new” orangutan enclosure that had my heart breaking. For the most part, they seemed to have a lot of room, but on orangutan was in a room by itself right near the window. His soulful eyes seemed so sad and depressed. I could only bare to look at him for a few moments.
In all I think we spent about two hours at the zoo, and I don’t think I will be going back anytime soon.
From there it was on to our first food stop of the day, Long’s Donuts. Situated in a house turned bakery, again, I was left unimpressed with my sprinkle cake donut. Maybe if we had arrived first thing in the morning, I would have been more impressed. Then again, I’m spoiled by a local establishment called Bakery Plus that makes the most amazing doughnuts right in Orlando–my mouth is watering just thinking about them right now.
Long’s was relatively close to the Indianapolis Speedway, where we had to take an obligatory picture. No speed racing for us today, the track was being used for a Corvette show.
The original Love statue created by Robert Indiana was our next pit stop. Located in the sculpture park on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art it is not the typical red color of those found in Philadelphia or New York.
Then it was into downtown. There we walked around the city and ended up on the canal. The canal is a unique feature. There are surrey rentals and families were riding up and down both sides of the canal. What intrigued me most were the paddle boats and kayaks floating up and down. As we continued exploring the canal area, we stumbled upon a gondola ride. We opted for the public tour, which ended up being a private tour since no one else joined us. Our guide even sang opera songs in Italian to make it seem more authentic.
We ended our day with a visit to Bru Burger, full of local beers, and The Flying Cupcake. Always the English teacher, I fount Kurt Vonnegut, of Slaughterhouse Five fame, overlooking the intersection where both of these places are located. A beer, charcuterie plate, and couple of cupcakes were delicious after a day of walking around, and I was inspired to reread some of Vonnegut’s work.
Overall, we had a great time exploring downtown Indy. We each were able to see everything on our list of Indy must dos. The great thing about Indianapolis is that it is a very walk able downtown. Parking was easy to find everywhere we went, and if it wasn’t free, it was no more than $10. Next time I’m in Indy, I am making it a priority to jump in one of those kayaks on the canal and hit up some more of the micro brews the city is becoming known for.