What is it? Think of Family Fun Friday as a day trip or a short family outing. Sometimes it is a full day. Sometimes it is a few hours. Most importantly it is a consistently planned moment together as a family.
In general, Family Fun Friday as 3 components: Activity, Food, Culture.
1) Activity – something that requires us to get out of the house and do something that requires energy and burns calories.
That is general enough that almost anything can qualify – walking around a museum, hiking a trail, or even shopping at a mall.
2) Food – New or favorite restaurants, coffee shops, candy stores, there is always a time spent exploring something new to eat or drink.
3) Culture – Learning something new or exploring the beauty of arts and culture are important. And it is amazing what you can learn in just a few hours in a park, museum, or from a roadside sign.
When did they start?
I don’t know when the officially started, but they have certainly become a part of the rhythm of our life over the past 4 years after our son, Riley, finished high school. Riley is a part of our life, but he also has his own hobbies and things do during the week. So this gives us a chance to do something together as a family. They happen on Friday because that is my day off and it is the one day that we all try to keep free. For us Saturdays are often filled with so many other things that have to be done versus the things that we get to do on a Friday.
How did they start?
I think they started because one day there was a whole bunch of ‘chores’ that needed to be done and Riley wasn’t excited about helping. So we declared it was a Family Fun Day and we all pitched in to get the work done and when we are done we went to get Pizza (which Riley thinks is fun!). Not a very fun story, but it is the truth. And the next week, Riley asked what are going to do on Friday? And there you have it.
Do you really do this every Friday?
We try, but often Family Fun Friday still becomes a day of things that need to get done. But even on those days, we try to eat out (or order in).
How do you decide?
Sherry would tell you part of the fun of these days is that Riley and Sherry most often don’t know what we are doing. And truth is often times, I don’t either. Okay, I have a few ideas, but often it is an adventure. When you are going somewhere you have never been there is always the risk that it will be boring or NOT Fun. In those moments, you improvise, you laugh, and you remind everyone that it is Family FUN Friday!
We like close because no one wants to spend the day driving for just a few moments of fun. We also like Free, but not everything that’s worth doing is always Free. The goal here is to be together for the day. Sometimes that will mean admission fees, but not all the time.
What do you get your ideas?
It starts with a spirit of adventure. So that means you have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone. And it means going off the beaten track. The internet is a big help, but you have to dig deep. Here are few places that have helped:
Tripadvisor is great. Type in a city and you will get a list of things to do. Remember anyone is going to like the Top 10 things to do. Trying digging deep into items beyond the top 20 and that is where it gets to be FUN. Also be careful to look beyond the Big City and search the smaller towns that surround the area. Don’t just search Indianapolis. Remember Beech Grove, Broad Ripple, Greenwood, etc.
Atlasobscura is filled with the weird and unusual. You want to find Frankenstein’s Castle in Dayton, an alley in Indy that smells like Roses, a troll in a vent in Wichita this is your place. Most of these places won’t take long to visit, but finding them is a FUN adventure.
Google: Simple internet searches with key words like: Fun things to do near me, New restaurants near me, unusual food near me, Festivals near me, weird things to do near me. You name it the internet can help you find it.
What to try an Adventure?
Here are some our favorites (often repeated):
Dayton – So many things to do in a day and a short drive away from Indy. We love the Air Force Musuem, The Arboretum Park, Frankenstein’s Tower, Clifton Mills, Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve, and all the unique food.
Cincy – Sculpture Garden, Jungle Jim’s, and German Food.
Martinsville – We enjoy the shops and the restaurants around the town square (including the Candy Store!) On your way check out Doctor Who North America in Camby
Wayne County – Fountain Acres Amish Store and Deli, Richmond’s Historic Miller Park, The Candle Shop and Antique Mall in Centerville, and don’t forget the Hoosier Gym in Knightstown
Indy Area – Tappers Arcade Bar, The Circle, Museums, Fountain Circle, Midland Antiques, Broad Ripple
Indy Parks – Holiday Park and Garfield Park are great for a hike and picnic (3 components in one place)
Greenfield – James Whitcomb Riley Home and Park, Riley Days Festival
Pendleton – Pendleton Falls Park … and north on 37 check out Mercantile 37 for food and shopping
Local Food Places we enjoy: Flamme Burger, Cumaco, Half Litre, Sun King Broad Ripple, Taziki’s, City Barbeque, Hubbard and Cravens Coffee Shop, and of course Starbucks
Every adventure has a beginning.
Starting Plan your adventure now!