Terre Haute has a rich history, and a number of great museums ripe for a road trip to the Queen City of the Wabash.
Terre Haute: Rise & Resilience producer Mark Gibson helped WTIU sketch out an itinerary for 10 great destinations to visit in Terre Haute, Indiana. Be sure to catch the documentary on the rich history of this amazing city when it premieres in March. For more information, visit wtiu.org/terrehaute.
SWOPE ART MUSEUM
The Swope Art Museum’s 2,500-piece permanent collection of American Art earned the museum the distinction in 2010 of being one of USA Today’s “Top Ten Great Places to See Art in Smaller Cities”. With works from such renowned artists of American regionalism as Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and Edward Hopper, and celebrated pop artists like Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Robert Indiana, the Swope’s permanent collection also boasts pieces from Africa, Europe, and Asia. The Swope is free and open to the public.
CLABBER GIRL MUSEUM & BAKE SHOP
This Terre Haute institution is the headquarters of Hulman & Co., maker of Clabber Girl Baking Soda. The museum offers a glimpse into Terre Haute history and the evolution of baking over the past couple centuries, with a nod to the company’s auto racing heritage with the Hulman family’s involvement with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After a tour of the museum, grab a bite at the Clabber Girl Bake Shop and have a cup of Rex Coffee, locally roasted in-house.
TERRE HAUTE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
With a three-story tall climbing “tree house,” high-ropes course, and scores of interactive exhibits and displays, the Terre Haute Children’s Museum offers so many hands-on learning activities, learning is simply a by-product of the fun. With wide-ranging exhibits like Toddler Zone, dynamic Water Table, stuffed animal veterinary clinic, “TV studio,” insect and reptile displays, and the aerial adventure of the indoor ropes course, the museum offers fun for kids of all ages. There are regular programs and camps offering opportunities to learn and explore a range of subjects, including science and technology. Admission is $8 for non-members (children under 2 are free).
SAINT MARY-OF-THE-WOODS/SAINT MOTHER THEODORE GUERIN SHRINE
A beautiful tree-lined avenue welcomes guests to the home of the Sisters of Providence and campus of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Founded as a school for girls in 1841, the co-educational liberal arts college is the oldest Catholic college in Indiana. The wooded grounds include quiet pathways, quaint chapels (including the Log Chapel and St. Anne Shell Chapel), alpaca barns, equestrian stables, and the stately architecture of the expansive LeFer Hall, cavernous O’Shaughnessy Ballroom, and breathtaking Church of the Immaculate Conception. The Shrine of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin is the final resting place of the eighth American saint and foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
GRIFFIN BIKE PARK
Home to more than 18 miles of single-track mountain biking trails and a number of skill features, this 300-acre wooded park is quickly establishing itself as a national-caliber recreational mountain biking destination. The expansive woodland trail system covers hilly terrain carved from a former strip mine that was later reclaimed by the Vigo County Parks Department. Progression-based features include terrain, skills and water skills areas, including two pump tracks, four jump lines, a dual slalom course for side-by-side downhill racing, a cross country eliminator obstacle course, and a drop zone. A floating bridge trail crosses the lake. Griffin Bike Park has gained state and national awards for outstanding design. It is free and open to the public.
Part of a rails-to-trails initiative along the former east-west Pennsylvania Railroad line, Heritage Trail is a seven-mile paved path, trail and bike lane connecting the Indiana State University campus and residential and industrial neighborhoods on the west with the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology campus and Vigo County’s Hawthorn Park on the east. While the most scenic stretch lies on its eastern end beneath a wooded canopy between the Blakely Avenue and Jones trailheads, Heritage Trail also connects with Indiana Veterans Memorial Mile at Memorial Stadium. Popular with walker, joggers, and cyclists, Memorial Mile is a unique, one-mile paved path in the shape of the state of Indiana that encompasses the football stadium.
DEMING PARK/DOBBS PARK
Tree-lined Ohio Boulevard serves as the formal entry to the jewel of the Terre Haute parks system, Deming Park. Covering more than 177 acres on Terre Haute’s east side, Deming Park features rolling hills, two fishing ponds, two playgrounds, a public swimming pool, an 18-hole disc-golf course, a variety of sports facilities (including basketball and tennis courts, and soccer and softball fields), and the popular Spirit of Terre Haute miniature train. Deming Park is connected via a paved trail with nearby Dobbs Park, which features a three-acre pond, a Native American Museum, and a 25-acre State Nature Preserve with three miles of hiking trails through restored wetlands and old growth woods.
CANDLES HOLOCAUST MUSEUM & EDUCATION CENTER
Founded by Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor in 1995, the CANDLES Holocaust Museum educates guests on the atrocities of the Holocaust through exhibits and by sharing Eva’s powerful personal experience. Firebombed and burned to the ground by an arsonist in 2003, the museum was rebuilt with the help of an outpouring of community support, including thousands of dollars donated by schoolchildren, organizations, and individuals nationwide. Through the lens of the Holocaust, the museum stands as a testament to the power of the human spirit, the importance of perseverance, the dangers of prejudice, and reflects Eva’s own remarkable journey of forgiveness.
Nestled on the famed “Banks of the Wabash” River, Fairbanks Park serves as host to a number of events and festivals throughout the year. The 43-acre city park features an outdoor amphitheater perfect for concerts and plays, a boat ramp for river access, playground, and bark park for pets. During select Saturday evenings throughout the summer, the Terre Haute Community Band performs concerts at the amphitheater with the Wabash River as a backdrop. The iconic Fairbanks Park Arch, a one-time fountain, serves as a flower garden near the brick two-story birthplace home of Paul Dresser, composer of the state song, “On the Banks of the Wabash Far Away.”
VIGO COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY HISTORY CENTER
Opening Summer 2019, the 34,000-square-foot Vigo County History Center will open in downtown Terre Haute, showcasing its collections of more than 100,000 vintage artifacts, historic memorabilia, and interactive exhibits on four floors. An old-fashioned Coke-themed soda fountain will be located at the entrance.