Everything about Santa's Candy Castle is magical, including its location: Santa Claus, Indiana. Back in the 1850s, this wasn't the townspeople's first choice of name. They were hoping for Santa Fee, but the post office regretfully informed them it was taken. On Christmas Eve, the folks gathered at a town meeting, trying to think of a new name. Suddenly the sound of sleigh bells rang out, the children exclaimed, ?Santa Claus!? and the new name was born. The town, featured on Ripley's "Believe It or Not" in the early 1930s, is even more unbelievable today.
That's thanks to Santa's Candy Castle, a red-brick castle built in 1935. Its structure looks straight out of a fairytale, and its contents do too. The candy-filled paradise stocks 31 flavors of gourmet hot chocolate, alongside handmade confections such as salt-water taffy and myriad other sweets that make tasty gifts. A more modern computer lab inside helps kids connect to the North Pole, see if they're on the Good list.
The speedsters at French Lick/West Baden Indoor Karting organize action-packed go-kart races on a 1,250-foot indoor road course. The European-made Sodi Karts can ramp up to 40 mph; junior carts, which seat ages 8–13, max out at 20 mph, but they make up for the lower speed by causing everything else to move in slow motion. The Arrive & Drive heat race ($12 for adults, $10 for juniors) thrusts contestants into an eight-minute contest against as many as nine other drivers, all competing to win the favor of the timing system and power slide their way to the top of the list of fastest laps. Karters who opt for the membership crash into the world of karting with style, enjoying perks that include a free race, a helmet head sock, quantity discounted races, plus another free race during the week of their birthday.
Founded in 1961, the Indiana Railway Museum guides rail-hopping wayfarers on a historic tour along 10 miles of scenic railroad between French Lick and Cuzco. During the 1.75-hour round trip, passengers will visit wooden and limestone train stations from the early 1900s and look out onto historic pieces of rail equipment, such as steam locomotives and Theodore Roosevelt's experimental bourbon-powered bullet train. Throughout the journey, the French Lick Scenic Railway will pass through Hoosier National Forest and the 2,200-foot Burton tunnel before traveling along beauteous lakes and impressive limestone cuts created during John Henry's showdown against the 4G iHammer.
Sun Tan City's specially designed devices bathe bodies in an even, bronze glow. The tanning beds ($9-$34) apply a delicate balance of UVA and UVB rays to create the fun-in-the-sun look, with varying session durations depending on the bed's level of intensity -- fast, faster, fastest, or instant. The VersaSpa Sunless Tanning System ($34) can provide a natural, even-tonal transformation without the use of UV rays. Standing upright in the VersaSpa booth, your body will be gently misted with either a clear or bronze solution, which will then be combined with an anti-aging moisturizing skin treatment. Each booth is scientifically designed to provide a breathe-easy treatment and features an exhaust system to send the lingering mist out while sealing in skin's new shade. Finally, after a few minutes in the comfort air-dry system, your body will be dry to the touch.
Located near Hoosier National Park, Patoka Lake Marina & Lodging teems with the area's wildlife, including ospreys, loons, herons, and the elusive bald eagle. Climb aboard the marina's new 60-foot Patoka Voyager for a two-hour tour of the picturesque lake and relax as a guide takes you along the scenic shoreline, detailing Patoka Lake's history and singing children’s lullabies. There's a cash bar available, as well as indoor or outdoor seating. Though not included in today's Groupon, the Patoka Grill stands there ready to fuel up tour-goers before or after the trip. Those who prefer the thrill of catching their own dinner can cast their lines in the lake for bass, bluegill, catfish, and walleye.