Frugal Favorites for Family Fun
Writer / Janet Gilray
Looking for frugal family favorites that won’t drain the family entertainment budget? Northern Hamilton County offers plenty of good times. Among the many options, in town and around, here are five frugal finds with distances from less than five miles to approximately 50 miles round trip traveling by rail.
Here are five favorite frugal finds that we recommend for your family summer fun.
Frugal Favorite #1: Create art. Fire the imagination and create memories that won’t fade away. Kiln Creations on Central Square offers unfinished pottery ($4 and up), and for a studio fee of $6 child/$8, adult coaching, tools, paint, glazing and firing are provided. Tues.-Sat. 11-6, Fri. 11-9, Sun. 12-5. 60 N. 9th Street, Noblesville
Frugal Favorite #2: Ride a merry-go-round/play miniature golf in the park. “Little Beauty” (circa 1922) captures the heart and soul of riders and onlookers both. At $2 per ride it’s the best value in town. It’s even better when you add a game of miniature golf (the course is right next to it: $2.50 child/$3 adult per game). Pay at the Sugar Shack where snow cones and other summertime goodies are offered at reasonable prices. Mon.-Sat. 10-7 and Sun. 11-6. Forest Park, Noblesville
Frugal Favorite #3: Take a train trip. The Indiana Transportation Museum station has a caboose and other train cars to explore for only $2 child/$3 adult, Sat. 9-5/Sun. 9-5. There is also a scenic northern excursion on the Blue Arrow train ride each Saturday evening that provides a unique view of northern Hamilton County (with an on-your-own dinner stop in the small town of Tipton). Depart at 5:15 p.m. and return at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 child/$20 adult. Forest Park, Noblesville
Frugal Favorite #4: Hike a peaceful prairie. Strawtown Koteewi* (ko-TAY-wee) Park. As a translation of the Native American name implies (*prairie), this Hamilton County Park is off the beaten trail. Humans are sparse in these peaceful grasslands, but company is always welcome. Interpreters share wildflower hikes, Native American village tours, natural history interpretation and displays. No charge. Open Mon.-Sat. 10-5 and Sun. 1-5. Located at 12308 Strawtown Ave., Noblesville. Close by attractions include Strawtown Pottery and Antiques (retail) at 12738 Strawtown Ave., Tues.-Sat. 10-5, and the White River Campground (costs vary) at 11299 E. 234th St., Cicero
Frugal Favorite #5: Find a new favorite restaurant. Big Dog’s Smokehouse has plenty for hungry parents and a really good kids’ menu. Great prices on BBQ, $2.99 (¼ chicken) and up, at this quaint brick eatery featuring a dining room filled with antiques and old-timey memorabilia. It gets even better when the kids find out they serve mac ’n’ cheese with Campfire S’mores for dessert. Tues.-Sat. 11-9 p.m. 29 E. Jackson Street, Cicero
Happy hunting for new frugal finds! If you have family favorites to share, email Janet Gilray at email@example.com