Indiana's motto is "the crossroads of America" - and so many important moments of the nation's history have taken place there. For example, Lewis and Clark set out from Fort Vincennes on their journey to explore the Northwest Territory. The first professional baseball game was played in Fort Wayne in 1871. In 1880, Wabash became the first city in the world lit by electricity when inventor Charles Brush tested his "Brush Lights," with a glow visible for a mile.
Indiana is where Frank Sinatra made his debut (at the Lyric Theater in Indianapolis) and is home to the world's first theme park, "Santa Claus Land" which opened in 1946. The state is the birthplace of James Dean, David Letterman and Michael Jackson. And naturally, it's a mecca for fans of basketball.
The Hoosier State has a lot going on, and here are 20 cool things to check out.
It's a very cool interactive history park, featuring folks in costume re-enacting what life was like back in the state's earliest days. Get a different look at the park's 800 acres via the "1859 Balloon Voyage" hovering 350 feet in the air. (Fishers)
Get your first hike of the season in at this lovely park that features a variety of trails, suitable for all fitness levels (helpful, if you've slacked of the workouts during the winter). There's also a nice Nature Center. (Marshall)
These ancient Indian mounds are remnants of a thriving community that once lived on the Ohio River a thousand years ago. Excavations are still going on. (Evansville)
This old-timey stadium was featured in the movie, "A League of Their Own." Games are still played there, with players dressed in vintage uniforms - and even some "Rockford Peaches" on site. (Huntingburg)
It's the only museum like it in the Midwest, with a collection that's considered one of the best in the world. Besides fascinating artifacts, artwork by Georgia O'Keefe, N.C. Wyeth, Frederic Remington - even Andy Warhol - is on display. (Indianapolis)
This iconic raceway really comes alive over Memorial Day, when the "Indy 500" takes place. About 325,000 fans crowd in to watch drivers speed around the track at 220 mph. Total adrenaline. (Speedway)
Besides showcasing various models and the history of the iconic automobile, its home to a huge collection of presidential carriages - including the one Lincoln took the night of his assassination (Clement Studebaker had a thing about acquiring these historic vehicles). (Evansville)
During the summer, this restored train makes evening trips to the state's resorts at French Lick. There are also other fun excursions, as well. (Jasper)
A river runs through 21 miles of caverns which is pretty cool in itself; but what's even more bizarre are the many nearly white -- or even see-through -- creatures that live within the darkness. Take a tour and see how many you spot. (Bedford)
You may not think "beach" when you think of "Indiana," but this one is on the shores of Lake Michigan. Besides several beaches, there are also dunes, trails and marshland to explore. You can even see the Chicago skyline from parts of West Beach. (Chesterton)
Nothing like a fall weekend and home football game to give you a sense of school spirit - no matter where you went. This legendary school also features a gorgeous campus and a ton of history that's fun to explore. (South Bend)
Iowa isn't the only state with impressive covered bridges; Indiana's Parke County has 31 of them. The Covered Bridge Festival each fall celebrates these historic structures.
Almost 1,000 antique dealers dot this 60-mile stretch of road east of Indianapolis. And that's somehow appropriate, considering that the National Road (old U.S. 40) dates to the early part of the 19th century.
Beautiful murals based on quilt patterns can be spotted on homes, public spaces and old barns in several Indiana counties. The "trails" are a unique way to celebrate both the art of quilting, as well as the history of agriculture in the area.
Step back into the Victorian age to explore what life was like during those days. Besides the amazing architecture and artwork, the home offers an afternoon tea option (must be booked in advance). (Indianapolis)
It regularly wins raves as one of the best museums anywhere, and not just for kids. There are five levels of interactive exhibits that will engage even the most jaded grown-up.
Pokagon State Park features an incredible, quarter-mile refrigerated toboggan run. Climb the 30-foot tower, then hang on: the top-recorded speed is a cool 42 mph. (Angola)
One of the most notorious gangsters of the 1930s is featured in this museum, but you can learn about some other bad guys of the era, too. On display are interesting Dillinger artifacts - including his lucky rabbit's foot (which worked, except for that one time…). (Crown Point)
Hoops is practically a religion in the Hoosier State - so pay your respects at this wonderful collection of memorabilia. (New Castle)
A popular January event. After you browse the works of art carved from giant hunks of ice, warm up by sampling the submissions in the Chili Competition. (Goshen)