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.
A lone tree, its trunk wrapped in colorful knit creations, marks the location of Friends and Fiber, a warmly lit shop that brims with handpicked yarns, knitting needles, home décor, and jewelry. Inside the brick-red storefront, co-owner Vicki Kinser helms interactive knitting classes, open knitting hours, and local benefits. Friends and Fiber’s monthly newsletter keeps customers up to date on upcoming events, interspersed with inspirational quotes from eloquent balls of yarn.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s collection encompasses multiple continents and thousands of years of human artwork. Currently in the spotlight is the limited-time-only exhibit Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, a smorgasbord of formal and found-object creations representing the most extensive showing to date of Dial’s work, commonly labeled as outsider art. Time magazine has given Dial considerable acclaim for his courage in confronting homelessness, international politics, and the southern African-American experience. Meander through 70 works, including 25 previously unseen pieces, ranging from playful watercolors to inches-thick painted layers of found materials such as dolls, dried plants, and membership cards to defunct video stores. After taking in Hard Truths, art-history fans and symbologists on life-or-death missions can soak up the museum's well-established collection of everything from ancient Oceanic artwork to modern depictions of blurry water lilies and hyperfocused soup cans.
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.
In 1909, a group of local art enthusiasts banded together to foster a community appreciation for art and further the practice of creating art. More than three decades later, they moved from their home at the old Water Tower, and now fill their new space with workshops, classes, and exhibits. Louisville Visual Art Association remains dedicated to promoting local artists, artistic styles, and contemporary culture.
A team of instructors instills painting and sculpting skills in children of all ages with the Children's Fine Art Classes program, which lets kids hone their understanding of color and technique during nearly 40 classes and camps. They also teach adult art classes, and help economically and socially disadvantaged students exhibit their artwork through Open Doors. Six to eight annual exhibitions often showcase work from these programs, but may also display fabric and knit pieces from local artists, or house events such as custom plates, cups, and utensils fashioned by 16 national ceramics artists to recreate Salvador Dali’s themed dinner parties. Each year, staff also fill two galleries with up to 800 works from its children’s programs, and celebrate local restaurants and music at the annual Bacon Ball.
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.