5 Things To Do in South Bend With the Family
With dozens of parks, first-class museums, and many other community attractions, South Bend is truly a family-friendly destination in Indiana. Whether you want to plan an educational outing or take the whole family on an outdoor adventure, the city offers something for everyone. Here are five activities you can enjoy as a family in South Bend, Indiana.
Each year, over 200,000 people visit the Potawatomi Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in Indiana. It houses over 400 animals, including mammals, reptiles, birds, and amphibians. Other attractions at the Potawatomi Zoo include farm feeding, animal encounters, and a carousel featuring hand-crafted depictions of endangered and exotic animals. You and your little ones can also take a ride on a historic CP Huntington electric train, where you’ll get an up-close view of the zoo pond, the veterinary hospital, the otter exhibit, and more.
The zoo offers various amenities for families, including accessible restrooms with changing stations, a nursing room, and single or double strollers for rent. The zoo also provides free sensory bags for guests with sensory processing needs. There are several dining options available for meals and snacks, and the gift shop sells a variety of souvenirs, beverages, and other items.
Location: 500 S. Greenlawn Ave., South Bend
Hours: Open April 1 through Oct. 31; hours vary by season, so check the zoo’s website for the most up-to-date information
South Bend Chocolate Company
If you’re looking for something sweet, take the family to the South Bend Chocolate Company. Founded in South Bend in 1991, the company now has 11 stores throughout Northern Indiana and four franchise locations in three states. It makes over 500 different variations of chocolates and treats, so everyone will find something to satisfy their sweet tooth.
For a special experience, take a tour of the South Bend Chocolate Company factory. You and your family will learn about the history of chocolate and the factory’s processes, and you’ll each receive a free sample at the end. The factory also houses the Chocolate Museum, which features a collection of chocolate memorabilia, including a Mayan chocolate pot estimated to be 1,300 years old.
Location: 3300 W. Sample St., South Bend
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday with tours every hour; last tour begins two hours before closing
The History Museum
When you want to plan a family outing that offers something for everyone, consider a trip to The History Museum. In addition to the museum’s vast collection of historical photographs, manuscripts, and audio and film footage, the museum also offers activities for children and families. You can take a family tour through the 38-room Oliver Mansion, which provides a glimpse into the daily lives of the Oliver family, who lived in the home over 120 years ago.
The museum even offers a special area for young children, known as the Kidsfirst Children’s Museum. In this area, your young children can engage with hands-on environments designed to help them use their imaginations. A cabin and one-room schoolhouse help young children learn about history in a fun way. Kidsfirst also hosts a weekly story time and science exhibits, which are free with regular admission. There are special admission rates for children and youth ages 6 to 17, and kids 5 and under are free.
Location: 808 W. Washington St., South Bend
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
In a city with many high-quality parks, Howard Park stands among the best, featuring a variety of family-friendly amenities. An accessible 13,000-square-foot playground offers age-appropriate activities for children between the ages of two and 12. The Riverwalk Trail is the perfect place to take a family walk or bike ride, and it connects with other trails that extend to parks in downtown South Bend. During the day, the Rask Family Fountains serve as a play area, and at night, the fountains transform into a spectacular light show.
One of the most popular features of the park is the ice trail and pond. In the winter months, you and your family can skate along the gentle hills of the trail, which connects to the more traditional ice-skating pond. After you’re finished skating, warm up around one of the fire pits with a cup of hot chocolate. In the summer, the ice trail transforms into patio space and a public path.
Location: 219 S. St. Louis Blvd., South Bend
Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily
East Race Waterway
When you’re seeking a thrill, take the family to the East Race Waterway. Located in downtown South Bend, this recreational facility features a whitewater course generating waves up to 6 feet or higher. The facility controls the water levels and obstacles, so it’s suitable for anyone from novices to professionals. Children need to be at least 54 inches tall for rafting, and children under 16 require a parent or other adult to accompany them.
East Race Waterway offers one-, two-, or three-ride passes, as well as day and season passes. Equipment is provided, and raft sizes for all skill levels are available. You can also kayak along the waterway if you bring your own equipment. After you’re done rafting, you can enjoy a walk with your family along the scenic St. Joseph River or explore the downtown area, where you’ll find shops, restaurants, and other entertainment.
Location: 126 S. Niles Ave., South Bend
Hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday from June through August and the first two Sundays in September
Now you know more about five family-friendly activities to do in South Bend, Indiana. Are you planning a family outing to any of these destinations? If you’re a local, did we miss one of your favorite family activities in the area? Send a message to Golden Tech so we can add it to our list. You can also read our past blog posts to find even more fun activities you can enjoy together as a family in South Bend.
At Golden Tech, we’re committed to helping the community learn more about the wonderful amenities and attractions that make South Bend a great place to live and work. You can read more about our company and our mission to connect people and business through technology on our website.