Explore Bloomington on a budget


Sarah DaLone and Audrey Bayne, age 5, play with a rescue dog at Adventures in Animal Behavior on July 30, 2011 at WonderLab. Naama Levy Buy Photos

Julie Warren, director of tourism at the Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau, encourages students to explore.

“There are opportunities that you won’t find anywhere else,” Warren said. “You’ll find some gems.”

Getting off campus might be just what you need after a tough academic week.

Warren said she encourages students to go beyond campus.

“Don’t be afraid to venture outside of town,” she said.

If you are interested in exploring outdoors, Leonard Springs Nature Park is the place for you.

The 95 acre park has hiking trails with caves, streams, a wetland and foliage along the way. The park is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and is a short drive from the IU campus on South Leonard Springs Road.

In addition to Leonard Springs Park, there are numerous recreational opportunities at the other parks in the area.

Hiking trails and a boat house at Griffy Lake, which is just north of the stadium, or the larger Lake Monroe have countless ways to stay busy — or even study — outdoors.  


Another option, not too far from the IU campus, is the Bloomington Playwrights Project.

The BPP offers students the chance to be the first to see productions on stage. The 2011-12 Mainstage season shows includes several original productions.

Producing Artistic Director Chad Rabinovitz said shows at the BPP have never been produced elsewhere.

Located at 107 W. Ninth St., the BPP sometimes offers special student and discounted seating available 10 minutes before a show with a valid student ID.

Rabinovitz said the BPP is geared toward a younger crowd with primarily modern and contemporary shows.

The BPP is not the only stage in town. Both the Buskirk-Chumley, located at 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. in downtown Bloomington, and Cardinal Stage Company, located at 900 S. Walnut St. offer shows of all kinds as well.

If the outdoors and the arts aren’t your thing, take a peek at the WonderLab Museum of Health, Science and Technology, located at 308 W. Fourth St.

“WonderLab is pretty awesome even for adults,” Warren said. “They have a lot of different exhibits that they change frequently.”

Some recent exhibits are a fossil dig, a bubble atrium and a floor that lights up when particles hit it.

The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Admission is $7 for adults ages 18 and older.


Elementary school students search for birds after learning about binoculars during Nature Day at Leonard Springs Nature Park. Groups of sixth graders stopped at ten different locations in the park for hands-on learning about science. File photo and IDS File Photo Buy Photos

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