Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Madison County, IN

  • Published 2022/10/29

Madison County in the State of Indiana opens you to many possibilities to enjoy and relax.

With Anderson as its seat, this county has a recorded population of 130,129 in the 2020 census.

It includes the cities of Alexandria, Anderson, and part of Elwood, with several towns, unincorporated towns, and townships.

The county also got its name from James Madison, the fourth President of the United States.

Visitors can find numerous public and state parks, museums, and amusement spots here.

You can enjoy many family-friendly attractions whether you’re looking for something laidback or set to go for an adventure.

Discover the best things to do in Madison County, Indiana!

Enjoy the Outdoors at Mounds State Park

The grounds of Mounds State Park

Kim Oliver /

Mounds State Park is along Mounds Road in Anderson and opened to the public in 1930.

You’ll see the unique ancient earthworks built by the Adena-Hopewell people.

The largest of these is the Great Mound, believed to have been built as early as 160 B.C.

Drop by the Nature Center to glimpse the wildlife viewing room, various animal displays, and other activities, then check out the Gift Shop for some exclusive items.

Go for a nature hike with trails that range from easy to moderate difficulties.

Hiking trail at Mounds State Park

Brandon W Joseph /

You’ll find various trees native to Indiana along with the prehistoric mounds at the Easy Trail, while the Rugged Trail leads you to a boardwalk around a creek.

The Moderate Trail winds through the forest, providing the perfect spot for viewing birds and wildlife.

Another Moderate Trail with Hills leads to views of spring wildflowers and tall hardwood trees along several creeks.

If you’re an avid hiker, you can trek the Rugged Trail, which offers you paths to rugged terrain, steep hill areas, ravines, and bluffs.

Mounds State Park also offers camping, fishing, and outdoor picnic opportunities.

River at Mounds State Park

Brandon W Joseph /

Admire the Artwork at the Anderson Museum of Art

Anderson Museum of Art is on 10th Street in downtown Anderson.

The museum holds and displays an array of permanent collections of visual artworks in various mediums on canvas.

It was founded in 1967 with donated works from the Civic Arts Association of Anderson, which paved the way to establish the museum’s permanent collections.

Appreciate original masterpieces by local and regional artists, and see featured and special exhibits throughout the year.

The institution also offers various art classes and workshops for youth and adults.

You can also visit the particular family areas at the Anderson Museum of Art and get to participate in art experiences and creations.

They also offer a unique venue for private events like birthdays.

Spend a Relaxing Day at Shadyside Memorial Park

For a place to unwind and enjoy with the family, Shadyside Memorial Park offers you a relaxing location.

The park sits on Broadway Avenue in Anderson and provides amenities for various outdoor recreation.

It was initially opened as a private park for Union Traction Company employees in 1897.

Still, it was purchased by the City of Anderson as a tribute to war veterans in Madison County.

You can stroll along the lovely Japanese Garden and peek at the Veterans Commons amphitheater.

Little ones can run around and climb in the play area, while older kids can enjoy playing baseball, softball, or volleyball.

Grill some burgers or hotdogs and have a family barbecue picnic with tables, shelters, and picnic areas available for guests.

For some nature hikes, you can also access the Shadyside Recreation Area and the White River Trail System.

Shadyside Memorial Park is a great place to enjoy the outdoors.

Go on a Mountain Bike Adventure at Rangeline Nature Preserve

The 180-acre Rangeline Nature Preserve offers several mountain bike trails built for beginners, intermediate and advanced-level bikers.

The City of Anderson owns the park, but the local group, Rangeline Nature Preserve Mountain Biking, was behind the construction of the bike track.

The park provides three loops; the two-mile green or Novice loop gives you a smooth, fast, flowing path.

The three-mile Intermediate or blue loop has few obstacles and is narrower, while the black or Expert Loop offers six miles of the track loaded with obstacles like an elevated trail, suspension bridge, gap jump, and more.

You can also enjoy the park by trekking on the expert trails and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.

Rangeline Nature Preserve is on Rangeline Road in Anderson.

Check Out the World’s Largest Ball of Paint

Do you want to see something uniquely unique in the city of Alexandria?

Then, take a visit to see the World’s Largest Ball of Paint.

It’s one of Indiana’s frequently visited roadside attractions, and owners Mike and Glenda Carmichael have always been eager to welcome visitors to see the ball.

What started as an ordinary baseball has become a vast object sitting in the couple’s garage.

It now has a record-breaking 27,000 plus layers of paint coating and weighs approximately 8,000 pounds.

The ball has appeared in numerous local newspapers, magazines, television, and radio shows, including Ripley’s Believe it or Not and the Guinness Book of World Records.

See the World’s Largest Ball of Paint and meet Mike on your visit to their garage.

Get Lucky at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino

Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing and Casino offers options to enjoy a night of fun, food, and entertainment.

Are you ready to place your wager?

This amusement place offers excellent harness racing and simulcast wagering.

Place your bets on live table games or try the newest slot machines in the spacious casino area.

If you came for high-stakes gaming, you could step into the exclusive High Limit area with rows of video poker, multi-player electronic blackjack, and high-stakes slots.

You can also watch concert performances and shows by leading entertainers in the music industry at the Music Center or Terrace Showroom.

Get good meals from different restaurant choices like the upscale Homestretch Steakhouse, offering great steaks and seafood fare.

Homestretch Clubhouse Dining gives you all-time favorite American dishes on the menu for casual dining.

Do you prefer quick bites?

Have hotdogs and burgers from Dog N Suds, Big Deli’s New York-style Big Deli and other fresh sandwiches, and pizzas flavors by Slice Pizzeria.

If you want to go for cocktails and drinks while watching live harness racing on the screens, you can hang out at Pegasus Lounge, Double R Bar, or The Shoe.

Have great fun at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

Enjoy Plenty of Activities at Falls Park

The waters of Falls Park

Jtknowles, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Falls Park is a 284-acre public park on Falls Park Drive, Pendleton.

The park was established in 1920 and has been a significant recreation and activity spot for residents.

It includes a section of the Fall Creek waterway and is known for its beautiful waterfalls.

You can enjoy a swim at the park’s pool area, play sports in the fields or play rounds of golf at the course.

Little tots can enjoy hours of playtime at the playgrounds, and your family can have a picnic at the open-air shelters in the grassy areas.

Have a relaxing stroll on the trails, enjoy the sight of the ponds and creeks, or better yet, try fishing and wading on the waters while you watch waterfowl lingering around.

You would surely agree that Falls Park is a “Jewel of a Wonderful Community.”

Get a Coffee Fix at Jackrabbit Coffee

Jackrabbit Coffee is a locally owned full-service espresso bar on 11th Street in Anderson.

They offer a wide variety of coffee flavors served hot or cold to give you the caffeine fix you need.

Grab a cup of specialty coffee like a blackberry truffle latte, vanilla ginger latte, and cafe Miel, or choose from classic drinks like cold brew, macchiato, or Americano.

They offer locally roasted beans like the west central blend and Blue Hour by Bee Coffee Roasters.

You can also purchase items at Jackrabbit Coffee, including maple syrups, honey, coffee press, filters, tea steepers, and souvenirs like stickers, pins, and magnets.

Have the Scary Kind of Fun at Indy Scream Park

Indy Scream Park, located on Columbus Road, Anderson, offers you a different kind of fun with your friends and family.

This scream park features eight themed attractions that will give you a heart-pounding scare with loads of fun.

Meet the clowns at Killgore’s 3D Circus, escape the zombies at Zombieland: Unchained, or find your way through the Backwoods.

Enter the Omni Labs at Mutation, walk in complete darkness at Nightmare Factory: Blackout, or get those zombies at the Zombie Paintball Assault.

After the scares and screams, grab some food and drinks like hot dogs, corn dogs, funnel cakes, and more at the Monster Midway food court.

Have some tasty pizzas from Slices & Co., order hot chocolate, brewed tea, flavored lattes, and more at Decadent Drinks, or try assorted craft beers and seasonal brews at Bonzo’s Beer Garden.

Head to Indy Scream Park for an exciting experience!

Enjoy Satisfying Meals at Bonge’s Tavern

Bonge’s Tavern is a perfect stop for good food if you’re looking for a place at Perkinsville to eat with your family.

Reserve a table at their website so you’ll be conveniently seated when you arrive.

You can choose from the list of sumptuous entrées on their menu served with two sides and your choice of tomato soup or wedge salad.

Order a serving of Perkinsville pork, a thin pork loin breaded with parmesan, then pan-fried and topped with lemon butter.

Try the Norwegian sea trout sautéed with bourbon Blis maple syrup and Meyer lemon butter.

You can also try the Applewood Smoked Prime Rib on Fridays and Saturdays.

For appetizers, you can have a shrimp cocktail, sautéed mushrooms, or in-house cold smoked salmon.

Finish your meals with Bonge’s Tavern desserts like chocolate sugar cream cake, sugar cream cake, dark chocolate ganache tart, and the daily special.

Discover Local History at the Alexandria Monroe Historical Museum

Alexandria Monroe Historical Museum is on the city’s North Harrison Street.

You’ll find interesting objects and items in this museum that reflect the city’s “Small Town America” atmosphere in the early decades.

Check out the Aladdin Lamps collection and memorabilia from companies like Lippincott Glass, Union Traction Co., and Kelly Axe that played a role in the city’s development.

Browse the vast collection of books and resources.

Learn about the facts and stories of the Gas Boom era, natural gas discovery in Alexandria, and how the short-lived industry ended.

You’ll learn about the shift of events in history that brought fame and economic progress to the city, the schools in the city area, and significant personalities that impacted the city.

Visit the Alexandria Monroe Historical Museum.

Other Things to Do Nearby

View Amazing Artworks at the David Owsley Museum of Art

The grounds of David Owsley Museum of Art

gremlinworks /

The David Owsley Museum of Art is located inside the Ball State University in Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana.

This place is 26 minutes from Madison County.

The museum is open to the public all year round, with no admission fee required.

It aims to promote learning and recreation of visual arts through original works, exhibits, and educational programs.

Exterior of David Owsley Museum of Art

gremlinworks /

The American Alliance of Museums also has accredited the institution.

Walk inside the different galleries and view over 11,000 art pieces from different continents representing various periods in civilization.

You’ll also catch featured exhibits at the David Owsley Museum of Art by local artists, students, and regional artists.

Enjoy Wines, Beer, and Food at Belgian Horse Winery

For savory wines, visit the Belgian Horse Winery on County Road in Middletown, Henry County, Indiana.

Located 25 minutes from Madison County, you’ll find a fantastic setting to try some exceptional wines with friends or family.

You’ll enjoy wine samplings at their Tuscany-inspired tasting room, just the ideal setup for wine tasting, along with unique wine glassware and accessories you can use.

Try their wine collections, like the Sophie Cranberry/Riesling, their popular fall fruit and grape wine blend that’s both tart and sweet.

Take a sip of the Indiana Firefly Traminette with notes of honeysuckle and green apple or the Uncle Fred Peach bursting with soft and sweet peach flavor.

They also offer Wine Slushies in assorted flavors and different Beer-in-Can Selections.

You can choose from various pizzas on the menu, like the Sweet Georgia Peach or BBQ Bacon Chicken.

Belgian Horse Winery also offers the Patio, Walnut Grove, and the Vineyard for outdoor events.

Take a Tour of the James Dean Gallery

The hometown of famous American actor James Dean is Fairmount, Grant County, Indiana, 27 minutes from Madison County.

You can check out the James Dean Gallery there.

The gallery was established in 1988 inside the beautiful Victorian home of archivist David Loehr.

Loehr started collecting in 1974, and his collections grew to thousands of items, thus becoming a popular attraction, especially for James Dean fans.

You’ll see many of the actor’s childhood photos, yearbooks, and personal items.

Marvel at the original movie posters of his movies from different parts of the world and various books and magazines from across the globe that featured Dean.

Look at the paintings, drawings, and sculptures by artist Kenneth Kendall and displays of 1950s novelty items like souvenir plates, puzzles, and many more.

The James Dean Gallery showcases the life and legacy of the late actor.

Find a Great Selection of Products at Tuttle Orchards

Tuttle Orchards is in Greenfield, Hancock County, Indiana, 38 minutes from Madison County.

The orchard has existed for over 90 years, growing top-quality produce and offering unique agricultural experiences to guests who visit the farm.

Four generations of the Tuttle family line have run the business since 1928.

You’ll get fresh, farm-grown produce at the Farm Store, like Tomatoes, Pumpkins, Squash, Concord Grapes, etc.

Choose from the orchard’s apple varieties, including Lodi Apples, Early Blaze Apples, Ginger Gold Apples, and more.

Kids will surely enjoy their visit to the farm with seasonal fun activities like Tractor Town Kids Area, Apple-Picking, and Wildflower Cutting; they can also view the goats and llamas or go for wagon rides.

Visit during the fall, have fun at the Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze, and observe the bees at the hives.

Enjoy farm-to-table meals at the Grill, like Apple Cider Bratwurst Meals or Pulled Pork Sandwich Meal, salads, and Kid’s Meals; the Cafe offers wraps, sandwiches, and burgers.

Get your desserts like Caramel Apples, Donuts, Muffins, and Homemade Fudge at the Tuttle Orchards Sweet Shop.

Final Thoughts

Madison County offers plenty of natural locations for relaxation and leisure.

It has several state parks where families can bond and do activities together.

The area also has many appealing museums, fun amusement, entertainment spots, and restaurants to enjoy good food.

Discover more about the county and try the best things to do in Madison County, Indiana.

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