Discovered in 1883, Marengo Cave, a U.S. National Natural Landmark, is located roughly an hour from Louisville and is open 363 days a year. Showcasing eye-catching speleothems (cave deposits), visitors can browse a wide variety of soda straws, stalactites, flowstones, and draperies. The combo tour melds together a 70-minute Dripstone Trail Tour that’s one mile in length, as well as a 40-minute Crystal Palace Tour that guides groups past eye-catching flowstone deposits. Embark on an exciting mini-journey into the earth’s depths without ending up at its core.
Bites of Bloomington Food Tours introduces groups to foodie destinations off the town's beaten paths. On Saturdays, tour guides and participants head out to savor treats such as Turkish cuisine at Turkuaz Café, baked goods at Sweet Claire Gourmet Bakery, and ice cream at The Chocolate Moose. Groups learn more about Bloomington's neighborhoods, too, as the guides point out interesting historical and architectural sites along the way.
Where prospectors once used the running waters of a river to search their hauls for gems and gold, Copperhead Creek Gem Mining Company employs a winding wooden sluice. Deputized geologists shovel scoops of raw material sourced from 12 mines into wire mesh sifters, allowing the current to carry off the dirt and reveal the colorful stones that lie within. The company also offers bags of mining rough that are likely to contain fossils and arrowheads, along with geodes that visitors can crack at home by using a hammer or throwing them really hard against a tree.
When The Haunted Angelus House's monsters first come out in the evening, frightened guests can ward them off with glow sticks. The neon batons send a warning signal to the unseen horrors, letting them know the group contains children or timid souls who may not be ready for the full brunt of their fearsomeness. But as the night progresses, so does the terror, and once the clock strikes eight, nothing can hold back the monsters, demons, and zombies as they spill from the shadows to horrify unsuspecting visitors. The only hope left for the innocent victims is to navigate the 37-room haunt, which swarms with demon tenants, and then make it past the 3,000-square-foot outdoor black maze haunted by chainsaw people and souls willing to risk eternity for their chance at a rent-controlled apartment.
Though the event aims to scare, its real intent will warm visitors' hearts, as all proceeds are donated to The Angelus, a nonprofit that aids those with cerebral palsy.
The Indiana State Museum unites artistic, scientific, and cultural exhibits to give visitors an immersive education on the state and its history. Peruse three stories of permanent galleries—such as Enterprise Indiana, highlighting Indiana-made products from the '20s through the '50s with a 100-foot assembly line—that collectively tell the story of Indiana from its earliest beginnings in the newly formed earth through its awkward teenage years and into the present day. Glimpse ephemeral temporary exhibitions, such as the upcoming Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, starting September 25 ($10 members, $17 nonmembers), before they evaporate into a cloud of knowledge-rich vapor. Catch a flick at the on-site IMAX theater for a view of a big screen that makes other big screens seem comically misnamed, or come by during a special event to witness Indiana history as it unfolds. Even the museum's structure itself, built from Indiana materials such as limestone, steel, and glass by native Indiana carpenter ants, functions as an exhibit, its walls studded with icons from each of the state's 92 counties.
"Cooking: Possible" splits the spotlight between celebrity chef Robert Irvine, star of the Food Network's Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible, and Jonathon Sawyer, sous chef for Michael Symon on Iron Chef America and owner of Greenhouse Tavern. During the show, the hash-slinging savants pepper engaging cooking demos with video segments from Irvine's popular television series. A large screen perched above the stage pours elaborate views of each dish into the audience, including detailed close-ups and a kiss cam for snuggling potatoes.
High above a lush vineyard, the morning sky brims with creatures of flight: an eagle, a large bumblebee, a pigeon that forgot how to land. These were just some of the sights Airbus Balloon Rides' owner Andy Richardson imagined would greet his future down-gazing passengers. He first fell in love with the roar of a hot air balloon's flame just before entering the second grade, and that passion has driven his dreams ever since. Ten years after buying his first balloon at age 14, Andy now commands a fleet of rainbow-colored balloons that come in standard and specialty shapes. These colorful vessels set the elevated stage for individual flights and tethered rides helmed by Andy and his talented team. Flights lift off at sunrise, in the afternoon, and at sunset, when the low sun paints an orange-red glow over water, fields, and reindeer still stuck on rooftops.
Back on land, Airbus Balloon Rides also educates visitors on hot air balloon creation inside their balloon factory, which welcomes tours. At the end of each tour, the guides lead guests in a champagne or mimosa toast with accompanying hors d'oeuvres, celebrating their skyfaring adventures together.