Free and affordable things to do over spring break in Michiana

Are you having a staycation this spring break week? Check out this list of free or affordable things to do in Michiana, Chicago and Indianapolis.

Posted on April 7, 2014 at 1:37 p.m.

Looking for staycation ideas this spring break? Whether you're looking for something close to home or you're willing to drive a couple of hours for a day trip, there are plenty of free and affordable things to do.

Spring Break Staycation at the Nappanee Public Library

What: Events all week include a pirate show at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 8; a family Uno tournament at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 9; a free showing of a Disney classic at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 10; time to write and illustrate your own book from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 12; and a Scrabble tournament at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 13.

When: Library is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Where: 157 N. Main St., Nappanee

Add on: Attend a Cookies and Canvas event at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 12, at Coppes Commons. $20 per person. Call Becky at 574-596-4590 for more information.

Other free events at local libraries:

Pizza and  movie: Teens can enjoy pizza at 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 11, at Mishawaka Public Library, 209 Lincoln Way East, then stay for a showing of Catching Fire

Crafters: Bristol Public Library, 505 W. Vistula St., is holding a crafting session from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 8. Come bring a project to work on with others, or if you don't have a project and want to learn a craft, come join in and someone will teach you.


Lincoln Park Zoo

What: Lincoln Park Zoo is a free zoo that features animals both domestic and exotic. The zoo hosts a variety of daily events, but you can also explore the attractions at your own pace. (Note: parking is not free, but public transportation and cabs are available.)

When: The zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Gates open at 7 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.

Where: 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago

Add-on: Hop on the zoo's Endangered Species Carousel for $2.75 per person per ride or the LPZoo Express Train (children ages 3-12) for $2.50 per person per ride. 

* The Potowatomi Zoo also reopened for the season at the end of March. Admission is free for kids under 2, $6.50 for kids ages 3 to 14, $8.50 for adults and $6.50 for senior citizens. 

Free family night at the Chicago Children's Museum

What: The Chicago Children's Museum offers educational play areas. Children can learn how to make bubbles, go on a dinosaur expedition or become a firefighter and practice fire safety.

When: Kraft sponsors free family nights from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays.

Where: 700 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

Add-on: The museum is at Navy Pier, which has several of its own attractions. including Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze ($9.99/person) and many dining options.


11th annual Spring Egg-Stravaganza at Soldier Field

What: A free spring festival for children that includes face painters, balloon artists and a hunt for goodies on Soldier Field.

When: The event starts at 9 a.m. and the hunt starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 12

Where: Soldier Field, 1410 S. Museum Campus Drive, Chicago

Add-on: For $19 for adults and $13 for kids (plus tax and tip, kids 3 and under free), have brunch with the Easter Bunny at the United Club. Reservations are required by calling 312-235-7063 or email SoldierFieldBistro@chicago-365.com.


UIndy Jazz Ensemble Live at the University of Indianapolis

What: Featuring a live music performance by the UIndy jazz ensemble. Part of UIndy's seventh annual Jazz Week.

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8

Where: Ruth Lilly Performance Hall, University of Indianapolis, 1400 E. Hanna Ave., Indianapolis

Add-on: Stop at Books & Brews for a light bite and a local brew while browsing used books and homemade crafts. From their website: "At Books & Brews we're passionate about disconnecting people from technology and reconnecting them with each other; we have a heavy social-event schedule and offer products by locals for locals. Won't you come join us?"


'Fables, Fairy Tales, and Physics' ArtsFest at Butler University

What: Features classical music, jazz and gospel; ballet, modern dance and aerials; theater; visual arts; and free community and children’s events, lectures and discussions.

When: Festival runs until Sunday, April 13. Hours and activities vary daily. Information: call 317-940-2787 or see the website.

Where: Butler University, 4600 Sunset Ave., Indianapolis

Add-on: Between events at the ArtsFest, visit the Indianapolis Zoo in White River State Park, which is only a 15-minute drive. The Indianapolis Zoo is a 64-acre accredited zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. You can plan your trip here. 


Want to plan your own trip or staycation?

Visit our community calendar to find more free or affordable events in Michiana.

There's also this list of free events and products in Chicago.

And the same goes for Indianapolis. Find "Visit Indy" options here.


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