“We were provided with a complimentary stay in the City of Kokomo by the Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau to facilitate this fun story!”
Staycation or Summer Vacation? Learn why Kokomo is a Perfect Fit
As most of us that live in the Midwest endure frigid temperatures and never-ending cloudiness during winter, spring and summer offer us the opportunity to get out, explore, have fun, and hopefully provide our kids with something more memorable and educational than TV shows or video games.
We recently had the opportunity to head 45 miles north of us (about a 60 minute drive) to the City of Kokomo, and although we’ve lived in Indianapolis for four years, Jerry and I knew very little about Kokomo and what it’s got to offer. Needless to say, we all wanted to have a good time, but we didn’t know exactly what to expect. Here’s where the adventure part kicks in—right?
We started by looking at the weather, timeframe, and possible budget for our trip. Once we figured all of that out, we scouted for places and experiences that we thought both of us and the kids would enjoy, but is there really such thing? There is! As you may know, our family is made up of huge car-fanatics, and it turns out Kokomo has a super-rich car history and automotive industry presence. In fact, later on our trip we learned that Kokomo is known as the “City of Firsts,” and is home to one of the very first production automobiles.
We all agreed on checking out the Kokomo Automotive Museum, but given the 90 degree weather during our visit, we were highly interested in doing something that involved a little water and a lot of fun. We discovered two perfect activities that matched that criteria; the Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center, and Kokomo Canoe & Kayak Rentals, and for the baseball player in our family, we added a Kokomo Jackrabbits baseball game to the itinerary.
Perhaps one of the characteristics that makes Kokomo such a convenient destination for all, but specially for people of Indianapolis, is that you could easily head to Kokomo for the day and enjoy your “staycation.” Or you can choose to pay for lodging and stay overnight, it’s easy either way.
Let the fun Begin!
We started our journey at the Kokomo Automotive Museum, where we were lucky enough to get a one-on-one tour of the grounds and learn all kinds of cool facts from the museum director himself.
As I mentioned before, Kokomo is home to many first inventions, and a gentleman by the name of Elwood Haynes engineered one of the first internal combustion cars, or “horseless carriages” as they called them back then. In 1898 he founded the Haynes-Apperson Automobile Company which mass-produced vehicles in Kokomo. Many of these exquisite machines can be found at the museum, along with many other Ford classics, muscle cars, vintage mail trucks, and even a huge and awesome vintage fire truck!
The Kokomo Automotive museum helped us stay away from the summer heat, but we eventually couldn’t resist the desire to blow off some steam and splash in the water, so after learning about cool cars, we decided to the give our minds a break and head to the beach!
The Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center that is. This super fun waterpark is actually ran by the City of Kokomo, which means it’s affordable. Admission on any given day is $5 bucks for anyone over 12 years old, and $4 bucks for ages 2-11. Admission grants you access to two huge leisure pools, one for adults and another shallow pool for young ones, as well as a kiddie pool with a kiddie slide, splash pad and shaded areas.
For our older kids, the huge tube-style slides, body slides and water towers had them running around and kept them from arguing all the time. For us? We chose to chill in the lazy river and lounged poolside for a bit. If there’s one drawback to Kokomo Beach, is that they’re very strict with food and drinks. You’re not allowed to eat or drink pool side or even in designated seating areas. Whatever you buy or bring to the water park has to be consumed at the picnic area, which is far away from all attractions and makes it hard to keep an eye on the kids while grabbing a bite or drink.
After our first action-packed day in Kokomo, we headed back to our spacious and comfy suite at the Hampton Inn Suites, got all cleaned up, enjoyed a pizza night and went to bed early to recharge our batteries.
Let’s go Again!
After getting a good night’s sleep and enjoying a delicious (and included) breakfast, it was time to call up Kokomo Canoe & Kayak Rentals and schedule our session. We phoned Joe (owner and operator) and he quickly assessed our kayak needs based on number of people, ages, rowing abilities and experience. He then asked us to meet him at the Kokomo Reservoir at 11 am and be ready to have fun!
We enjoyed a short country drive to the Kokomo Reservoir, and when we arrived, all four kayaks were ready to go, as well as life-jackets and other water toys. After gearing up, Joe had a one-on-one safety talk with the kids about what to expect and what to do in case of an emergency. A short 20 minutes after we arrived we were in the water enjoying a beautiful sunny day.
Despite the windy conditions, we kayaked for little over three hours around the reservoir, while popping in and out of small lagoons to relax a bit, play ball, and even swim around to cool off. While I’d like to say this was the highlight of our trip, I think it’d be unfair to the other attractions. Okay, fine, this was definitely my favorite activity!
After rowing and splashing around in the water for hours, we cleaned up back at the hotel and were starving like we hadn’t eaten in days! We decided to grab a bite at Half Moon Brewery before heading out to the beautiful Kokomo Municipal Stadium for the Kokomo Jackrabbits baseball game, where we sat behind the team’s dugout and enjoyed the fun atmosphere first-hand.
Have you ever visited a place near home and had so much fun that you wondered why you didn’t do it any sooner? That’s exactly how we felt after our two nights in Kokomo.
Let’s face it, we don’t always have all of the time or funds necessary to pull off a big vacation to Florida, California or one of the money-pit theme parks across the country, but that’s not an excuse to not have fun. All it takes is a little research, a little scouting, and a bit of an adventurous spirit to discover a new place close to home.
Whether you’re looking for a day, weekend or week getaway close to home that won’t break the bank, make Kokomo one of your top destinations. You won’t regret it!