Getting Into Indianapolis – Part 3

May 16, 2018

So far in Indianapolis we’ve spent time in parks and zoos, enjoyed coffee and beer, visited museums and markets. You can read all about parts one and parts two, and check out our breakfasts at Maxine’s Chicken & Waffles and Love Handle.

The afternoon of our second full day saw us exploring the Conner Prairie in Fishers, Indiana, and we finished the day with an invited dinner at The Loft at Traders Point Creamery in Zionsville. Traders Point is an organic, grassfed dairy farm. The facility features a collection of four restored barns gathered from various towns across Indiana. They’ve been renovated into a working dairy barn, a restaurant, and event spaces.

The restaurant, located in the upstairs of the main barn, serves lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch – and as you can imagine, there’s a focus on cheese, milk, yogurt, and ice cream, all made on site.

Dinner is about as farm-to-table as you can get. We started with a cheese board featuring five different cheeses made at the creamery. In fact, you can see the cheeses aging behind glass windows in the restaurant. Their selection varies with the season, and features both hard and soft cheeses, all wonderfully done.

Our first treat from the chef was a plate of creamy and wonderfully seasoned shrimp and grits.

The kids aren’t left out, either: our boys enjoyed macaroni and cheese, plus some of the best chocolate milk we’ve ever tasted.

For dinner we split a variety of dishes, including this beautiful pasture-raised roast chicken with brussels sprouts and greens.

And of course you can’t escape without a taste of ice cream! The dessert menu features ice cream, pie, banana splits, sundaes, milkshakes, floats, you name it. We split a delicious root beer float.

The Dairy Bar is a tiny ice cream and coffee counter inside the restaurant (pro-tip: you can order an affogato – espresso over ice cream!). In late May they open an outdoor Dairy Bar, too!

And if you’re stopping by for dinner, or to pick up cheeses at the shop, or for a quick bite of ice cream, try to time your visit with the daily milking of the cows at 7:30 p.m.

They allow you to walk in the center aisle of the milking room…

…so you get a close-up view of the ladies at work!

You can also stroll around the grounds outside to visit the cows young and old. The curious little ones stand under the watchful eyes of their elders.

And hopefully you catch a beautiful evening on the farm! You’ll see some lovely views of the fields, the pond, and the barns dotting the landscape.

We loved our dinner at The Loft; next weekend we’re in town, we’ll definitely be scheduling a visit for Sunday brunch!

The next morning – our final morning in Indianapolis – we followed our usual course of action by seeking out a local coffee shop. We made our way to Kaffeine Coffee down Fulton Street.

Kaffeine embodies the stereotype of the hip new coffee shop: renovated industrial space, typed up menu, a small collection of people either working or catching up over coffee. It’s our type of place, and the coffee is terrific. I’d love to spend a morning relaxing there. But it was on to breakfast at Love Handle nearby!

After breakfast, it was time for our final adventure in the city: the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis! The already-huge facility just got bigger in recent months. It’s hard to describe everything you’ll discover – there’s room after room of exhibits. I love that every nook and cranny is filled with things to engage the kids, like the dinosaurs climbing into the front of the museum. Or the two-story Egyptian sculpture in the parking garage, left over from an exhibit in 2009.

The museum is known for their giant pieces like the dinosaurs or the Egyptian sculpture. You can also find the 30-foot water clock (I could have watched that for hours), a towering Chihuly glass sculpture, and the Bumblebee from the first Transformers movie. And those are just the public spaces; you could spend three days exploring the whole museum.

One of my favorite parts was the planetarium. We managed to catch a show about Gus Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft. Yes, that’s the actual capsule sitting in the center of the auditorium. Grissom, an Indiana native, piloted the craft in the country’s second spaceflight – the first being Alan Shepard’s flight a couple months earlier. Grissom landed safely, but the hatch accidentally blew and the craft filled with water. He was rescued from the Atlantic, but the Liberty Bell 7 sank and wasn’t recovered until 1999!

The planetarium show told the story of his flight using animation and archival footage. It’s incredibly entertaining and engaging; I found myself particularly impressed by the sound design, and saw later in the credits it was done by Ben Burtt of Star Wars fame.

Other exhibits include dinosaurs, trains (a must for us), archaeology, space flight, and more.

We made a stop at the pop culture exhibition to see original Star Wars toys and other memorabilia.

Finally, we headed outdoors to the Museum’s brand new Sports Legends Experience, a mostly-outdoor facility that lets kids explore the history of sports and test out baseball, basketball, soccer, track, football, racing, tennis, you name it.

Many of the exhibits are led by different on-site coaches, so kids can get some actual instruction in the sports.

We watched a little baseball in the mini stadium, played some tennis, raced peddle cars, climbed in the giant treehouse, and walked along the track. Again, you could spend an entire day just playing in this part of the museum.

But, alas, it was time to head home…

…although not without one more stop for coffee! Based on suggestions from friends, we visited Coat Check Coffee, in the Athenaeum building on Mass Ave.

The name says it all: the coffee shop is in the lobby and coat check booth of the building. They serve up all the good stuff using beans from local roaster Tinker Coffee.

If we weren’t headed out of town, I would have stopped and spent the afternoon there. Coat Check features a fascinating mix of seating all throughout the lobby. So many different levels to explore in the historic building.

It was a fitting end to our weekend in Indianapolis. For me, the marker of a good visit somewhere is that we leave with a huge list of places to check out when we return. This is certainly true for Indy. We can’t wait to come back and explore again!

If you haven’t already, check out part one and part two of our visit, including breakfast at Maxine’s Chicken & Waffles and Love Handle.

Disclaimer: dinner at The Loft was comped, and our visit was hosted by Visit Indy. Photos and opinions are our own!

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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