Popping the Butler bubble: Indy-area activities to take advantage of

Grieving over the loss of Fall Break? These weekend activities can help. Photo courtesy of talktotucker.com

KATIE FREEMAN | STAFF REPORTER | kmfreema@butler.edu

Earlier this year, Butler University announced that the fall semester would not include breaks, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 by reducing student travel. Without the four-day-weekend that students usually use to catch a break, it has been difficult for students to effectively de-stress.

There is much more to Indianapolis than the Butler Bubble — students just have to take the initiative to get outside and pop it. Despite being nicknamed “Naptown,” Indianapolis offers a variety of locations to visit and things to do. 

While there are no extensive breaks in the schedule, students can still take advantage of their weekend time to visit local places and have fun. Anna Watson, a junior environmental science major, said that she sometimes spends her free time on weekends outdoors.

“I end up doing a lot of work on the weekends,” Watson said. “But besides that, probably just taking time to relax. I’ve gone to parks with my friends. Holliday Park is pretty close to here [and I like] walking to Funky Bones. And then I’ve been doing a lot of the SGA late-night events actually and going and picking that stuff up with my friends and then ordering dinner.”

When it comes to planning activities with friends, students like Madison Pius, a junior elementary education major, have also taken advantage of the warm weather.

“I’ve noticed a lot of what I do — right now anyway, while it’s still nice outside — a lot of times when I spend time with friends outside of our apartment, I try to do things outside because I feel like it’s safer,” Pius said.

Junior marketing major Sophia Van Slyke said that since being at Butler this semester, she has taken the time to explore more of the Indianapolis area.

“It used to take us a whole week to plan out going out to dinner, but now we’re just like, ‘Hey, you want to go out to dinner?’” Van Slyke said. “ It’s so weird because you would think that with everything happening, we would be more inclined to stay here. But, you know, doing those things and just getting out for whatever reason is kind of fun. I mean, something to look forward to, I guess.”

Here is a list of local spots and activities if you’re looking for an easy way to satiate your fall break FOMO.

For the outdoor types

Indianapolis offers acres upon acres of open green space. Whether you want to walk around and explore, bike or just sit down for a picnic, there’s a spot that’s perfect for every activity.

White River State Park

As the name suggests, this park is located downtown along the White River and the canal. Visitors to the park can enjoy the green space or any of the neighboring attractions, which include the Indianapolis Zoo, the Eiteljorg Museum, NCAA Hall of Champions, the Indiana State Museum and Victory Field. 

Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens

If catching a glimpse into the Butler terrarium on a walk down the stairs to I-lot isn’t enough nature, outdoor-loving students might enjoy a trip to the conservatory. For an admission fee of two dollars, students can stroll through the 10,000 square foot facility to view hundreds of tropical plants.

Tuttle Apple Orchards

Tuttle’s u-pick season is over for the fall, but guests can still enjoy strolling through the grounds and purchase pre-picked apples and other seasonal goods from the store. Tuttle Orchards also offers a corn maze, observation beehive and farm animal viewing.

Eagle Creek Park

Eagle Creek Park is Indiana’s largest park, but it offers more than just a pretty view for a picnic. Visitors can hike trails, rent watercraft, ski in the wintertime or partake in a treetop adventure course that includes zip lines, rope ladders and Tarzan swings. 

Animal lovers

Butler’s campus offers some interesting wildlife of its own, but if the campus squirrels and the infamous Irwin goose aren’t cutting it, be sure to check out these spots.

Indianapolis Zoo

Admission to the Indianapolis Zoo can be a bit pricey, but once inside, it’s easy to spend hours viewing the various exhibits. Visitors can also pay to feed the birds or partake in an in-water dolphin adventure.

Happy Goat Lucky Yoga

This outdoor studio puts a twist on the typical workout class. For $20, visitors can book a class and partake in beginner-level yoga alongside baby goats. Why goats? The website reasons that animal-integrated workouts improve levels of oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. If nothing else, a photo opp with goats will probably boost your Instagram clout.

Traders Point Creamery

This farm-to-table restaurant and creamery features fresh-made milk, cheese and ice-cream. Farm lovers can stroll the grounds, sign up for a dairy tasting or watch the farmers milk the cows in the milking parlor.

History buffs

According to the Indiana War Memorials Foundation website, Indianapolis is home to the most war memorials outside of Washington, DC. For a taste of history, students can visit any of the many monuments and museums the city has to offer. A full list of Indianapolis monuments can be found here. 


Butler students receive free admission to Newfields, and its close proximity makes the museum an easy getaway. Students can view the indoor art gallery or visit the museum’s outdoor spaces, such as the Funky Bones installation.

Eiteljorg Museum 

This museum showcases the rich history and artifacts of West and Native America. The museum intends to immerse visitors into Indigenous culture through a rich, in-depth experience, which could make for a great off-campus escape.

NCAA Hall of Champions

Missing games at Hinkle? Sports fanatics can get their fix at this two-story facility which features trivia and rankings for all 24 NCAA sports, interactive exhibits and sports simulation areas.

Indoor adventurer 

Students more concerned with things to do instead of places to go can check out any of these activities within the Indy area.

Duckpin bowling

Duckpin bowling is similar to regular bowling but involves a smaller ball and only ten pins, which are also smaller than average. The vintage duckpin alleys are located in the Fountain Square Theatre Building, which has been refurbished with vintage bowling equipment.

Candle making

The Penn and Beech Candle Co. offers an in-store pour-your-own candle experience that allows customers to create their own custom scented candles. Visitors can also create a body spray, room spray, diffuser or wax tarts.


Students in dire need of de-stressing can visit Wreck-a-Room in Beech Grove, where they can rent a room and purchase items to destroy within it. Visitors can purchase packages that include items to break, which range from old TVs or printers to beer bottles. 

Pottery painting

For a more relaxed activity, students can visit a pottery painting studio, where they can choose to customize anything from a range of pottery pieces. The pottery studio fires the pieces after visitors complete them, and then they are ready for pickup after seven days.

City market

The Indianapolis City Market offers over 30 vendors that sell freshly prepared food, produce and other merchandise. The IMC also offers tours of the City Market Catacombs, which are ruins of Tomlinson Hall, built in 1886, that lie underneath the market. 

While some students might grieve the absence of fall semester breaks, others are content with staying in place. Van Slyke said while she was initially disappointed, she no longer finds the cancellation of fall break as bad news. Instead, she is thankful for more opportunities to stay at home.

“I kind of admitted to myself that it’s not going to be like the typical junior year experience where you finally get to go out and you still get to go to the frat houses except you feel older, and you have more power and space,” Van Slyke said. “But, once I admitted to myself that it’s not going to be that type of fun, it’s going to be a different type of fun, then I was fine. And I’ve just gotten used to hanging out here. And I feel like I’ve become a homebody because I look forward to it.”


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