Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Vigo County, IN

  • Published 2022/11/03

Vigo County on Indiana’s west border hosts plenty of unique art centers and noteworthy museums to visit.

The county is included in the Terre Haute metropolitan area, with Terre Haute as its county seat.

The towns of West Terre Haute, Seelyville, and Riley, along with several census-designated areas, unincorporated communities, and twelve townships, comprise the county.

Vigo County offers you more laidback but enjoyable activities and places of interest.

You’ll find many public parks to relax, museums to discover, and amusement centers for some fun with the family.

Here are the best things to do in Vigo County, Indiana:

Watch Speeding Cars at Terre Haute Action Track

A sprint car at Terre Haute Action Track

john j. klaiber jr /

You can catch adrenaline-pumping races at Terre Haute Action Track.

The track opened in 1952 and has hosted midget car racing events since 1954.

The facility features a half-mile dirt racetrack that has hosted annual midget car and sprint car races by the United States Automobile Club or USAC and Silver Crown events.

Sprint car festival participant at Terre Haute Action Track

john j. klaiber jr /

Some notable drivers who competed at the track include Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and A. J. Foyt, among others.

Book your tickets at the website and see schedules for races you want to catch.

Enjoy the action at Terre Haute Action Track.

A racer at Terre Haute Action Track

john j. klaiber jr /

Let Kids Explore at Terre Haute Children’s Museum

Terra Haute Children’s Museum features a three-story attraction for your little ones and kids to enjoy, have fun and explore.

Located in the heart of the city, the museum has interactive exhibits and learning activities for kids of all ages.

For little ones under four, let them play and have tons of laughs at the Toddler Zone, with fun structures to climb and a fun playhouse on padded floors, books, and toys; they can also try the AIRways to learn about the power of the air, and ride the Clabber Girl #96 stock car at Rev It Up! Racecar.

Let your young explorers dig out dinosaur skeletons at Dig It!, experience the farm at Ag-Citing, build houses at Build It!, and prepare meals at The Kitchen.

Other attractions for little tots also include Water Works, Ready, Vet, Go!, and Under Construction.

If your kids are ages 5 to 8, they can enjoy learning at the Fresh & Fit Market, know more about kinetic energy at Kinetic Balls, discover water physics, rivers, and dams at Water Table, and experience being a news anchor for the day at WTHCM Studio.

Get them to learn body parts, facts, and functions at the Health Zone or climb, cross rope bridges, and swing on ropes at the Ropes Challenge Course.

Older kids can also check out Fiddling with Physics to explore exhibits from simple circuits to air pressure and electromagnetism demonstrations.

Terre Haute Children’s Museum gives your kids a fun way to learn.

Have a Taste of Fine Wines at WaterTower Estates

WaterTower Estate has two locations on Springhill and downtown Wabash.

The winery was built in 1921, but the business was founded in 2016.

Their main facility on Springhill offers you a relaxing place to slow down and enjoy delicious wines and slushees.

They don’t shy away from alcoholic drinks either, as they offer superb selections of red, white, and fruit wines and wine shakes.

If you’re dropping by Wabash, you’ll also enjoy samples of their wine selections in a cozy ambiance with things you can do, including photo-ops, shuffleboards, board games, and shopping at the boutique.

Savor assorted wines like Sangiovese, Pinot Gris, Caramel Apple Butter, and Grandma’s Rhubarb.

You can also book private and corporate events at WaterTower Estates’ 1,500-square feet barn venue.

See the Old-Fashioned Barns at Pioneer Village

Pioneer Village presents 20 antique log cabins and other structures like a gristmill, a log barn, and a covered bridge in Terre Haute.

The village is open to visitors for walk-through tours every third Saturday during summer.

You’ll get to see and appreciate the unique features of the Woods Cabin, Lidster Cabin, Peker Cabin, and Graber Cabin, along with the Irishman’s Covered Bridge, Smokehouse, and more.

The location hosts several annual public events and programs, such as those run by the Village Folk, Pioneer Days, Mini Pioneer Days, and Christmas Walks.

Join the famous Intro to Blacksmithing class offered every Saturday from April to October and learn from skilled volunteer blacksmiths.

A campsite is also available at the Pioneer Village if you want to camp out for the night.

Appreciate American Arts at the Swope Art Museum

Exterior of the Swope Art Museum

Colin Pizarek, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Civil War veteran and jeweler Michael Sheldon Swope founded Swope Art Museum in downtown Terre Haute.

The plans for the museum started in 1939 and officially opened to the public in 1942, serving to collect, preserve and promote American Art through various programs and exhibits.

You’ll find a remarkable collection of over 2,500 paintings, sculptures, and other works by local artists.

Browse through the American Scene Painting of the 1930s and 1940s exhibit, the major strength of the museum, with works by artists like Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, Thomas Hart Benton, and others.

Observe the 19th-century movements through the fascinating works of William Merritt Chase, Tompkins Harrison Matteson, and George Inness, among others.

You can also view the gallery featuring 20th-century American art artists George Bellows, George Luks, and Manierre Dawson, to name a few.

You’ll get to appreciate various historic Indiana art with featured works by Hoosier Group artists, Indiana Impressionists, and Terre Haute natives.

Take a peek at post-World War II and contemporary works by Mark di Suvero, Robert Motherwell, Robert Indiana, Andy Warhol, and Paul Jenkins.

Aside from guided tours, the Swope Art Museum hosts various programs for all ages, such as Life Model Studio, Artists on Art, and Art Start for little ones.

Go Trekking at Elliot Woods Nature Preserve

The Elliott Woods Nature Preserve is adjacent to Prairie Creek Park in Terre Haute.

The preserve is popular for its unique woodlands and opportunities for recreational activities.

Arlen Elliott sold this 80-acre park to the city in 2000, which trekkers and nature lovers now enjoy.

Relish the views of different species of trees and flower varieties or sight some wildlife in the area.

Trek the 1.5-mile Elliott Woods Trail winding around the property and access the Prairie Creek near the area.

Enjoy the lovely scenery at Elliot Woods Nature Preserve.

Have Loads of Fun at Bogey’s Family Fun Center

Bogey’s Family Fun Center in Terre Haute is a great place for family fun and entertainment.

The amusement center is open from Tuesday to Sunday from noon to evening, while the Karts attraction is open until Friday every afternoon.

They have indoor and outdoor attractions for any family member to enjoy starting with the Spin Zone and Water War.

Zoom with excitement on the Go-Kart track and race for a friendly competition.

Play a wide array of arcade games from racing, shooters, and more, or have fun with traditional skill games like Big Bass Wheel and skee ball and bag for the prize.

Challenge family members to a game of Miniature Golf and see if you can go through the fun obstacles like the waterfall, bridges, and the lighthouse.

Kids, big and small, will enjoy hours of play at the Playland with Dragons Lair, the Kangaroo Room, Slick Slides, and many more.

They also have batting cages available to let your kids practice their swings.

Bogey’s Family Fun Center also has a concession serving pizzas, snacks, and refreshments.

Check the Railway Displays at Wabash Valley Railroad Museum

Wabash Valley Railroad Museum is a special museum in Terre Haute operated by the Haley Tower Historical & Technical Society.

The society of railway fans and employees established the museum to honor the contributions of men and women in the railroad industry.

See functional displays, imagine yourself working in at the railroad station in the 1880s at the old TH&I freight depot, or watch the modern trains at the viewing platform.

You’ll also experience lining a train at one of the towers, taking an operator’s task, or creating a message on Morse code; likewise, visit the museum for old documents, rare photos, and antique hardware.

Drop by the Haley Tower and Spring Hill Tower and see the amusing vintage equipment and machines meticulously restored to make them look new.

Also take time to see the 1914 Pennsylvania Railroad N6b caboose, the cabin car home to many railroad crews on their trips.

See the Turner Depot built by the Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad during the late 1800s to transport commodities; put the coals on the stove, oil the lamps, and check the supplies for the next train.

Visit the Wabash Valley Railroad Museum gift shop at Turner’s freight storage and get items like shirts, mugs, and toy trains for souvenirs.

Visit the Candles Holocaust Museum and Education Center

Exhibit in the Candles Holocaust Museum and Education Center

Christina Blust from Terre Haute, Indiana, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Candles Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute is Indiana’s only Holocaust museum.

It was established by Eva Mozes Kor in 1995, aiming to prevent prejudice and hatred by educating the public about the Holocaust.

A Holocaust survivor herself, Eva has inspired thousands of visitors who came to see the museum exhibits.

You can visit the museum every Thursday to Saturday at a General Admission rate.

Get to listen to the testimonies and stories at the interactive theater; you’ll be able to ask questions from survivors about their experiences and engage in real-time conversations.

This technology uses advanced language processing that matches a relevant response from 12 featured survivors; you can ask as many as 2,000 questions about life, the war, and more.

View the photos and displays about other survivors and the Holocaust.

Browse thousands of book collections from The Walter and Louise Sommers Library; the library was named in honor of Walter Sommers, a Terre Haute resident and docent of the museum and education center.

Drop by the Gift Shop to purchase books, t-shirts, souvenirs, and DVDs you can keep as mementos for your visit.

Enjoy Outdoor Recreation at Collett Park

Collett Park is Terre Haute’s oldest park dating back to the 19th century.

Railway tycoon and philanthropist Josephus Collett donated the park to the city.

Meanwhile, architect J. Merrill Sherman designed the 21 acres of the park.

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 for its significance in recreation and entertainment.

You can have a relaxing picnic in the sheltered areas, unwind under the trees, or stroll through the grassy areas.

If you want to get active, they have tennis courts and football and soccer fields, but the little ones can enjoy the playgrounds, too.

Spend a day at Collett Park.

Drop By the Veterans Memorial Museum of Terre Haute

Owner Brian Mundell started Veterans Memorial Museum of Terre Haute to honor veterans.

He started collecting military items in 2004, and the museum’s collections have since grown.

This museum spans more than 2,000 square feet and is filled with various memorabilia from the 1st and 2nd World Wars, the Korean War, and Vietnam War.

You’ll also see interesting items from the two Gulf Wars and Afghanistan.

Take some time to look at the Gerstmeyer Honor Roll plaque, which lists service members from Gerstmeyer High School who served during World War I.

Check out the Newspaper Clippings containing an extensive collection of newspaper articles from World War II that featured men and women from the city and surrounding areas who gave their service.

Find lots of interesting pieces at the Veterans Memorial Museum of Terre Haute.

Have a Sumptuous Dinner at J. Ford’s Black Angus

For a delightfully sumptuous dinner, head off to J. Ford’s Black Angus in downtown Terre Haute.

Jeff and Kelly Ford established the restaurant in 2007 based on the concept of good food paired with great wine, served in a casual upscale atmosphere.

Take your pick of delectable appetizers like Stuffed Shrimp stuffed with Spinach and Cheese, wrapped in bacon, and glazed with House Barbecue; or try the Brisket “Tots,” served with Cherry Smoked Brisket, Dr. Pepper Barbecue, added with Vermont Cheddar and scallions.

Enjoy the soup servings on the menu, such as the French Onion Soup and Corn Chowder.

Have a plate of hearty Angus Wedge, Kelly’s Salad, or Caesar Salad with your choice of dressing like Bleu Cheese, Chunky Thousand Island, and more.

You’ll enjoy their filling entrées like the 8-ounce Barrel Cut Filet, the Cowboy Cut 20-ounce Rib Eye, or the 10-once Chef’s Trim New York Strip; try plates of seafood like Grilled Salmon or Sea Scallops or a more casual fare like J. Ford’s Burger.

Delicious meals are best with a bottle of good wine, so choose from a selection of wines like Rosé, Riesling, Whites, Sparkling, Champagne, and more.

J. Ford’s Black Angus also received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for their discovery of unique wines with monthly wine pairing dinners.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See the Big Cats at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center

A white tiger at Exotic Feline Rescue Center

Becker1999 from Grove City, OH, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Exotic Feline Rescue Center is located in Center Point, around 28 minutes from the county.

The 260-acre area was founded in 1990 and serves as a rescue center and home for abused, neglected, and unwanted exotic felines.

From three felines, the center has over a hundred cats in its care, with more than 10 species of these majestic big cats.

A cougar at Exotic Feline Rescue Center

Beatrice Murch, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a one-hour tour and see them from afar; you’ll also learn about their unique features and personalities and how efforts are made to save them.

You’ll see tigers, bobcats, and lions roaming in their spaces or view the leopards, puma, cougars, and servals lounging on a hot day.

To support the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, you can donate or purchase items at the puzzle store and specialty store from their website.

Have a Memorable Experience at L&A Family Farms

Though L&A Family Farms is situated in Paris, Illinois it’s only 22 minutes from the county.

The farm was started by tandem Brian Lau and Kevin Augustus together with their families in 2004.

The diversified farm grows over 50 varieties of produce through sustainable and Community Supported Agriculture; you can purchase fresh tomatoes, cauliflower, peppers, and more.

The farm store sells pasture-raised eggs by the dozen, poultry, and pork, along with grass-fed beef in individual cuts or as a whole.

When sunflowers are in bloom for the season, you can enjoy sunflower picking, try the sunflower maze, sunflower yoga, and sunset viewing.

Your family will have so much fun at the 10-acre corn maze, with four separate mazes in their field; or go for the Flashlight Night Corn Maze and Haunted Corn Maze.

Younger kids can also have fun at the two-acre Sorghum Sudan Maze searching the paths for hidden black boxes.

Enjoy other activities together, like the Pumpkin Patch and Lock Box Challenge, or have fun on a bonfire or picnic.

Drop by the L&A Family Farms concession trail and grab some snacks like corn dogs, deep-fried Oreos, funnel cakes, and more and take home some souvenirs and craft items for remembrance.

Camp Out at Lincoln Trail State Park

Around 30 minutes from Vigo County, Lincoln Trail State Park offers you pieces of history, relaxing nature views, and enjoyable outdoor recreation.

You’ll find the 1,023-acre state park in Clark County, Illinois, two miles from Marshall; the state acquired it in 1936.

According to legend, it was the path Abraham Lincoln, the trail’s namesake, and his family traveled coming from Indiana to Illinois in 1831.

Before that, Native American tribes, such as the Kickapoo, Miami, and Mascouten, occupied the area.

You’ll enjoy the sights of the surrounding flora, such as the Illinois-native American Beech woods, wildflowers, and the rare squaw-root and beech drops.

Go boating or fishing on the Lincoln Trail Lake’s 146 acres of shoreline, offering beautiful vistas in several areas.

Pitch a tent and go on primitive camping on the state park’s Class C Lakeside Campgrounds or have amenities like electricity, tables, toilet facilities, and others on the Class A Plainview and Lakeside campgrounds.

You’ll enjoy the outdoor experience at Lincoln Trail State Park.

Final Thoughts

From fascinating museums to interesting art spots, Vigo County offers plenty of activities you’ll enjoy.

The county is also packed with scenic parks and nature locations you can relax and unwind.

There are also hosts of amusement and family-friendly attractions you can enjoy together to bond and have fun.

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