Central Indiana Roundup - New year, new experiences

Find out what Central Indiana has to offer in 2021
Amy Lynch

Spin the bottle
The highly anticipated $300 million Bottleworks development at the northeastern end of downtown Indy’s Mass Ave Cultural District is finally coming to lively fruition with a boutique hotel, the Garage food hall and market, a movie theater, a bowling alley, retail stores, office space and private residences — all within the handsome Art Deco confines of a skillfully reimagined former Coca-Cola bottling plant. When fully open, the mixed-use property promises to become one of the hottest new destinations in Indianapolis for one-stop dining, entertainment, shopping and overnight accommodations.

Bottleworks District, 850 Mass Ave., Indianapolis, 317-434-1532, bottleworksdistrict.com

Happy little accidents
Get an up-close look at the public television studio where happy little trees took shape via the Bob Ross Experience now on permanent display at Muncie’s Minnetrista cultural center. The exhibit walks guests through the former WIPB-TV studio in the historic Lucius L. Ball home where Ross produced “The Joy of Painting” from 1983 until 1994, and even offers opportunities to create your own work of art with instructional classes in an upstairs studio.

Minnetrista, 1200 N. Minnetrista Pkwy, Muncie, 765-282-4848, minnetrista.net       

Ride the tube
The flat landscape of Central Indiana sadly lacks serious skiing territory. However, winter thrill seekers can still satisfy their need for speed on the tubing hill at Hamilton County’s Koteewi Run Seasonal Slopes, operating from late December until late February or early March (weather permitting). And because the facility produces its own snow, there’s never a need to wait for Mother Nature to cooperate to embark on a downhill adventure.

Koteewi Run Seasonal Slopes, 11800 Koteewi Dr., Noblesville, 317-776-9199, koteewi-adventures.com

Fire and ice
Richmond’s 8th annual Meltdown Winter Ice Festival sparkles and shines through town the weekend of January 29-30, 2021, showcasing more than 30 ice sculptures stationed throughout downtown to create a free outdoor art gallery of sorts. The Covid-19 pandemic has curtailed some of this year’s events like the signature Ice Fights competitions, but the opportunity to admire a collection of intricate ice carvings and enjoy the kid-friendly Magic Snowflakes scavenger hunt are reason enough to go.

Meltdown Winter Ice Festival, downtown Richmond, 765-935-8687, richmondmeltdown.com

Go bump in the night
Get your motor running and shift into high gear for Ice Bumper Cars, a new seasonal offering from RBI Fields in Avon featuring a fleet of inflatable bumper cars that hover and glide across an outdoor synthetic ice rink. Bundle up and bring the family along for daytime fun; Friday and Saturday nights propose “Bumpers and Brews” sessions that include a drink ticket for the grownups.

Ice Bumper Fun, 104 S. County Rd. 625E, Avon, 317-707-8001, icebumperfun.com

Take a hike
Brown County State Park is best known for its fall foliage, but Indiana’s scenic “Little Smokies” offer a spectacular winter wonderland to explore as well. Get a breath of fresh air and work off any lingering holiday calories with a guided winter outing. Themed hikes guide participants along popular paths and may even venture into off-trail areas visitors don’t usually get to see or experience. If you go, make a reservation ahead of time as capacity is limited due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Winter Hiking Series, Brown County State Park, Nashville, 812-988-6406, in.gov/dnr/parklake/2988.htm

Amy Lynch is an Indianapolis-based freelance writer and editor.