Sometimes you don’t have a week’s vacation or even a long weekend, but you’re still itching to get out and explore. Hence, the family day trip! It’s the perfect excuse to get out and create some memories when you only have a day or a few hours. The small towns surrounding the city can be a great place to plan a family day trip from Indianapolis.
One of our favorite family day trips is to Franklin, Indiana, located just off I-65 about 20 miles south of Indianapolis. From its charming town square to the long list of adorable local shops and eateries, there’s plenty to do for all ages and it’s still close enough to be back home by bedtime!
What to Do in Franklin, Indiana with Kids
Catch a Movie
Historic Artcraft Theatre
If you only come to Franklin to do one thing, you need to visit the Historic Artcraft Theatre. This vintage theater has been lovingly restored by a community group and now offers classic movies on Friday and Saturday nights complete with a live skit beforehand and delicious locally grown popcorn.
We popped in for a Saturday morning showing of old fashioned cartoons (the 45-minute show time was perfect for my antsy kids) but my husband and I can’t wait to come back for a date night. For listings of the latest movies and show times, visit their website.
Visit the Local Shops
Toodleydoo Toys is an adorable kid paradise that offers plenty of “test toys” including a train table and other display items so kids can try things out. There’s a great selection of books and games too. My kids were happy to browse and put a few things on their wish lists.
Wild Geese Bookshop
I’m a total sucker for an independent bookstore and when it’s as adorable as the Wild Geese Bookshop, I’m practically beside myself. Located just off the main square, you’ll find titles for kids and adults and a fun collection of bookish gifts as well. The owner is a delight, and often brings authors to town for events, so make sure to check their calendar!
Related Post: Your Ultimate Guide to Stops Along I-65 for Kids
Kid-friendly restaurants in Franklin Indiana
Main and Madison Cafe
This super cute coffeehouse and bakery is where you can stop in for breakfast or grab a quick pick-me-up. Madison and Main Cafe also has a small selection of salads and sandwiches and pastries for the kids. It’s right across from the theater if you need something before a show (just note, they close before dinnertime).
Hoosier Cupboard Candy and Snacks
No trip to Franklin is complete without a stop at the restored depot, home of Hoosier Cupboard Candy and Snacks. Your kids will lose their minds with the huge selection of ice cream and candy as they admire the model trains. It’s such a sweet place to stop in and pick up a treat.
Greeks Pizzaria and Taproom
Greeks Pizzaria is a local Indiana chain and always a hit with my kids. Located right across from the courthouse, you can grab a slice and let your kids refuel. The bonus of this location is that it’s also a taproom with delicious brews for grownups!
Franklin Family Aquatic Center
Splish splash in the pool! The Franklin Family Aquatic Center offers a water slide, zero-entry pool, and more for families looking for a place to cool off. If it’s not quite swimming weather, you can still visit the playground or biking trails at nearby Providence Park.
Duck Pin Bowling
The latest in kid-friendly entertainment is coming to Franklin in the form of 10Pins, a Duckpin bowling ally. If you haven’t tried duckpin bowling yet, your kids will love it! A slightly shorter lane, short pins, and a ball about the size of a softball make this game even easier for kids. For more info on pricing and their opening date, follow them on Facebook!
Related Post: Midwest Getaway: Bloomington Indiana with Kids
Why Take Your Kids to Franklin, Indiana ?
It really is possible to make a day-trip feel like a mini vacation when you pack up the car, explore somewhere new, and fill a day with fun memories with your kids. Franklin, Indiana makes the perfect spot to do just that. The small-town charm and family-friendly attractions makes this a family day trip from Indianapolis you won’t want to miss.
For more info about events and other happenings all across Johnson County, make sure to check out Festival Country Indiana.
Special thanks to Festival Country Indiana CVB for help in providing photos for this post. This was NOT a hosted visit and all content and photos are my own unless otherwise noted. For more information see my full disclosure policy.
Do you have a favorite day trip that you like to take with your kids? What’s the most recent day trip you’ve taken? Leave a comment below to share with us!