If you’re in the mood for a one last minute summer outing or to kick off a fall adventure head south of I65. Just a short 30 minute drive south of Indianapolis is the quaint small town of Franklin, home to big family adventures. Below are a few Franklin highlights to help plan your trip agenda and discover something new and fun for the entire family.
77 West Monroe Street ($10 or less per person)
Take the kids for some eggs and be sure to order Ann’s famous fried biscuits and apple butter! Family owned since 1952 and serving breakfast daily; anytime Monday-Friday (6am-3pm) and Saturdays (6am-2pm), Ann’s is one of the town’s original landmarks.
Johnson County Museum of History
135 North Main Street (admission is free; $2 donation recommended)
Home to over 20,000 historical Johnson County objects, photographs and documents displayed within four permanent exhibitions, a gallery for art and a rotating exhibit. Franklin is the county seat of Johnson County and preserving the history and sharing the past with visitors of all ages is important to this museum. Several family events are hosted throughout the year including Beer and Bluegrass concert (8/23), Pioneer Cabin Tours (8/24), Heritage Day (10/5) Art Market (11/2) and Visit with Santa (12/7). There is a permanent 1830’s cabin to explore located next to the museum along with a genealogy and local history library open to the public during museum hours: Tuesday-Friday, 9am-4pm and Saturdays 10-3pm. Visit the museum’s website for more information on upcoming events: http://johnsoncountymuseum.org/
198 North Main Street
The kids will love to play while you shop at Imagination Station! This local toy store offers a great selection of specialty toys and gifts while providing a play area for kids to explore and entertain themselves while you shop the shelves. Imagination Station is growing their inventory and their services to the community throughout the summer and into the fall season.
In the summer the store hosts a youth book club that meets every Friday to encourage kids to continue reading during summer break. The book club is free and sign up takes place in May annually. As Imagination Station gears up for the fall look for family classes including foreign language for kids (French and Spanish taught by local Franklin College professor) and Mommy & Me yoga classes for mom and baby at their store.
It’s important to the owners of Imagination Station to continue their community support by working closely with local moms who create their own line of children and family products. While shopping you will discover several mom sellers including products from Bass Farms, Bobaloo, Little Miss Macie Boutique, Mattie Belle and Rustic Wagon to name a few. Watch their Facebook page, Imagination Station for news on upcoming classes, information on reserving the birthday room or to check out new, educational and exciting new products!
99 North Main Street ($10 a person)
After an activity-filled morning be sure to stop by the family friendly Williard for one of their famous pizzas. The original brick house of the restaurant was built in 1860 by the McCaslin family and was sold to the Willard family in 1922. The Willards began construction around the brick house to create a hotel for the town and from that point on was known as The Willard Hotel till about the 1950s. The Willard Hotel sat idle for several years until a new investor bought the building and created the pub and eatery, specializing in pizza and hot wings; that everyone enjoys today. The Willard remains as a favorite meeting spot where friends meet, so hope for sun or a nice evening as you enjoy the downtown area of Franklin on their outdoor patio.
The Historic Artcraft Movie Theater
57 North Main Street ($5 adults and $3 for children 12 and under).
Take in an afternoon show and travel back to the golden Hollywood era. See timeless faces on the big screen such as Bing Crosby, Doris Day and Grace Kelly. The Historical Artcraft Movie Theater shows movies for every generation year round. The kids will embrace Charlotte’s Webb, Ghostbusters and Elf while the adults take in High Noon, Monster Mash and White Christmas. The Artcraft was saved from having to close their doors by Franklin Heritage, a group of concerned citizens who felt it was important to preserve the historical heritage of the town. Thanks to this local non-profit organization the Artcraft has been showing movies in Franklin since 1922. Check out the Artcraft’s website for a complete listing of upcoming movie showings through December.
M.W. Wadsworth’s & Co. Fine Chocolates
154 E. Jefferson St. (5 cents per piece of candy & up)
Be sure to grab some candy for the road back home from M.W. Wadworth’s & Co. Fine Chocolates. This wonderful small town candy shop is full of amazing hard-to-fine goodies from candy cigarettes, melt-in-your-mouth salt water taffy, chocolates, rock candy and so much more. If candy is not the sweet you are craving they also sell cold root beer and crème sodas. End the perfect day with some candy or a cold soda to sip on as you stroll around the historical downtown area of Franklin before heading home. Consider M.W. Wadsworth for your child’s next birthday party – they provide custom orders for candy buffets for any party need, baby shower or wedding.
Franklin is only about 30 minutes from downtown Indy. We like the area a lot because it’s a little bit smaller and slower than the bustle of some of the larger areas in Central Indiana and has a sort of vintage feel to it. Here are some of our favorite things to do and places to visit
Province Park is a beautiful park with several playgrounds for various ages, a stream (perfect for feeding ducks), several bridges, shelter houses, beautiful scenery, a skate-park and an aquatic center.
We pass (one of) the world’s largest rocking chairs on highway 31 in front of Long’s Furniture World (4108 S. US Hwy 31, Franklin, IN). My daughter loves posing with the chair.
The Imagination Station is more than just a toy store. We love stopping in to see what’s new! Another can’t miss store for my kids in the spring is the Tractor Supply Store (1540 N Morton St, Franklin). We like seeing the baby chicks and selecting plants and seeds for our home garden… but the baby animals are the best when they are there.
Ann’s Restaurant has a super friendly staff. The girls love the kids menu and I’m a huge fan of the wraps.
The Artcraft Theatre plays fun movies from the past. Our favorites play at Christmas. Franklin is also home to Canary Creek theater and drive-in.
Benjamin’s Coffeehouse is a favorite among the local college students (Franklin College). They offer delicious drinks and sandwiches. I’m very fond of their Cream Cokes, Coca Cola with fresh cream!
Franklin College has some great sports teams and we enjoy cheering them on. We’ve caught our fair share of Franklin College soccer games…for FREE!
Other Franklin Favs: Pizza King Station, Franklin Skate Club & HiWay Lanes Bowling.