Exploring smaller cities around the Midwest is one of my favorite ways to satisfy my wanderlust while saving for a bigger trip or working around a busy schedule. Family friendly weekend getaways can be an affordable and convenient trip idea when you’ve only got a few days or want to stick to a small budget. Evansville, Indiana, located just a few hours from Indianapolis and St. Louis, is the perfect Midwest getaway. We recently visited for the first time for two nights during our spring break and found lots to keep everyone in our family entertained.
What to do in Evansville with Kids
We found this local place through Yelp reviews and thought it was a fun lunch spot. It’s located in a restored neighborhood near the river and features lots of farm to table types of sandwiches. My son’s mac and cheese was the real star and my kids loved finding all the pig related decor around the room.
Lics Ice Cream
An Evansville chain of ice cream shops, we stopped in to try some of their homemade ice cream. I’ll be honest and say it wasn’t my favorite (it was kind of icy) but my kids loved the smile sundae with gummy worms and I would be interested in trying their chocobits next time.
This was a pizza recommendation from friends on Facebook and we picked it up one night to eat in our room while we watched my beloved Butler Bulldogs lose in the NCAA tournament. The pizza is a thin crust and we enjoyed it. My kids demolished the pepperoni pizza and we tried a veggie and a BBQ pizza. I like that they offer small sizes so you can try various flavors. There are several locations around town. We did carry out from the one in Newburgh.
Dinner on Saturday night was another Yelp recommendation and wow, was this an unexpected surprise in such a small town. The menu is eclectic with lots of wood-fired pizza options but we sampled the Udon noodle bowl from their Thai offerings and then pigged out on their incredible dessert and gelato selection. YUM!
There are several of these scattered around the city and we hit up one our way of town. Let’s just say it was a good thing for my health that we didn’t try these donuts until the last day. Lots and lots of choices of donuts and all were delicious but if you only order one thing, it must be the Apple Fritter. You can thank me latter!
Attractions in Evansville with Kids
Mesker Park Zoo
I wasn’t sure what to expect from a smaller city zoo like this one but I was very impressed. It’s the oldest zoo in Indiana and is spread out on a hilly park. There Amazonia rain forest exhibit is better than some of the bigger zoos we’ve visited. We ended up being able to visit for free with the reciprocal membership from our zoo so make sure to bring your membership card if you are have one for your local zoo. They offer a tram system (extra cost) which might be worth it when it’s really hot or if you have tired little legs.
Related Post: A Mom’s Guide to Popular Family Attractions in Indianapolis
Children’s Museum of Evansville (cMoe)
My kids could have spent all day here and we did spend more than 4 hours exploring. It’s a typical children’s museum with lots of hands-on play and interactive exhibits. We went early and left for lunch before returning for a few more hours and our admission was good for the entire day. There is no food on-site so either plan to pack something or leave for lunch. A big hit with my 4 and 7 year old.
We took advantage of the nice weather and spent time exploring a few local parks. We checked out Fortress of Fun in Newburgh, IN (just next to Evansville) and Kid’s Kingdom in downtown Evansville. Both had great big wooden climbing playgrounds which are perfect for tiring everyone out, but I preferred Newburgh for cleanliness and access to bathrooms. There aren’t great websites for these parks but you can use Google Maps to find addresses for both.
Other Attractions We Didn’t Make It To
We didn’t have time for a few other attractions like the LST Memorial 325, a WWII battleship or the Evansville Museum but I’d be interested in checking them out on another visit.
New Harmony, Indiana
Only about 20 minutes from Evansville this tiny town is a former utopian community from the 19th and 20th centuries and contains lots of interesting historical buildings and serves now as a peaceful spiritual retreat. We stopped by and, despite the rain, enjoyed exploring. It’s already on my list of return spots (maybe for an adults only overnight in one of the adorable guest houses around town).
Related Post: Hidden Gems in Indiana for Families
George Rogers Clark National Memorial
Run by the National Parks Service, this memorial in Vincennes, Indiana commemorates George Rogers Clark (brother of famous explorer William Clark) and his defeat of the British fort once located here along the Indiana/Illinois border. This National Memorial is free and a great stop for stretching your legs and earning a quick Junior Ranger badge. We love the Junior Ranger program and try and work stops like this into our travels whenever we can. It’s located just about halfway between Evansville and Terre Haute.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money or travel a long distance to have a weekend of adventure. Evansville is a family friendly affordable destination worth checking out. Your kids and your wallet will be glad you made the trip!
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Have you visited Evansville before? Did you check out a new city recently? Leave a comment and tell me what you’ve been exploring with your kids lately.
Michael Froehle says
I grew up in Evansville and to read about the places your family visited brought back memories. Since leaving 40 years ago, evansville still has a special place in my heart. My first job with a paycheck was at the Donut Bank and when we go back to see family, we like to hit Turoni’s on Main Street. Thank you for sharing your family adventure.
Michael – what sweet memories! Thanks so much for sharing. We’re glad we can help share the charm of Evansville with families!