Cincinnati Family Magazine

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June 15, 2024

Mom Report: Fun in French Lick, Indiana

It's an easy getaway for your family — look at all the fun we had!

Looking for a family trip destination that isn’t too far away? Check out all of the Fun in French Lick, Indiana!

Fun in French Lick, Indiana

French Lick is a rare jewel of a town in Indiana … it’s close enough to Cincinnati to make it a one-tank trip, but far enough away to feel like you are going on a grand excursion. French Lick West Baden boasts small-town Americana vibes with family fun around every picket fence-lined street. If your family is in need of getting out of the house without having to drive hours and hours or hop on a plane, book a trip to this quaint little town today! 


We booked a stay at Big Splash Adventure in French Lick, In. Our Pirate’s Paradise accommodation was roomy enough for my family of five- with my two oldest boys loving the bunk beds in our room. (Mom note: All rooms are equipped with a mini fridge and microwave, so bring those Lunchables, go-gurt tubes and easy mac. Maybe even a few hard seltzers for mom to enjoy as an in-room wind-down, too.)

The hotel has a cute pirate-themed restaurant on site, which includes a comped breakfast buffet in the morning with biscuits, gravy, sausage, scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs, cereals, fruits, juice, milk and coffee. My husband and I agreed that the biscuits and gravy were much better than most hotel biscuits and gravy … as in, they were actually goodThere is also a small gift store in case you want to grab a souvenir.

Year-Round Water Park

Beyond the nice rooms and food options, the highlight of Big Splash Adventure is the year-round indoor water park. The pirate theme continues throughout the attraction, with playful ocean animals greeting you at the kids water structure (Buccaneer Bay) and pirates snoozing in hammocks above the Lost River. My sons, ages 6, 10 and 11 found activities that appealed to their interests. My youngest enjoyed the smaller slides and giant water-dumping bucket. My middle resided in the lazy river. My oldest went down every huge water slide, again and again and again!

The park boasts four, big water slides with options for single tube riders, double tube riders and free floating, too. Each slide is unique in its own way and the wait time to slide was never more than a few minutes. While we stayed one night at Big Splash Adventure, we went to the water park twice. I love feeling like my dollars are being stretched, so the fact that you can visit the water park the day of check-in and stay at the waterpark the day you check-out is appreciated! There are ample lockers to hold your clothes for when you leave … so why not stay and play? 



Around Town

For a small town, there is a lot of big fun for families to enjoy in French Lick West Baden! After spending some time at the water park, we checked out some of these fun family attractions.

8529 W. St. Road 56, French Lick, In | 812-936-2386
What’s more more “family vacation” than mini-golf? Shotz is conveniently located at the entrance to Big Splash Adventure, making it an easy attraction to visit. The location has an 18-hole outdoor putt putt course as well as an indoor nine-hole glow-in-the-dark course, too. Along with mini-golf, Shotz also has a lazer tag arena and laser maze for families to enjoy. My kids wanted to stay and play the arcade games at Shotz, too, but we had more to do and see including:

French Lick West Baden Indoor Karting
8331 IN-56, West Baden Springs, In | 812-936-5390
Entering the indoor facility, my kids immediately felt the need for speed. The 1200 foot Grand Prix style racetrack has riders taking turn after turn, sometimes even drifting! Kids karts (ages 8 – 13) zip around the track at up to 20 mph while adult go karts run up to speeds of 40 MPH! It is fast and oh-so fun. Racers watch a short safety video before putting on helmets, neck brace and taking to the course. After the eight-minute race is up, the workers have a detailed print out mapping out the racers quickest laps. It was very official! For families with younger ones, there is a smaller kids course, too. Along with a snack shack, this attraction also boasts an impressive arcade, with classics like skee ball and basketball, and other fun ticket games, too.




Wilstem Wildlife Park 
4229 US-150, W. Paoli, In | 812-936-4484
Buckle up, literally, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. The drive-thru safari at Wilstem Wildlife Park brings families face to face with friendly … and very hungry … wildlife. If you have ever wondered what it would be like for a camel to put its head through your driver’s window then this is a must-visit destination for you! You really get up close and personal to the animals who call Wilstem home, including emu, ostriches, donkey, camels, deer, llama, goats and more. Several animal encounters are available for purchase as well, including sloth, kangaroo, giraffe, otter and elephants. Another unique way to see Wilstem is through action-packed activities like horseback riding and zip lining. During fall and winter, Wilstem offers drive-through lights shows, too!


Tastes Around Town

‘Ohana Hawaiian Grill + Bar
8965 W Jck Carnes Way, French Lick, In | 812-936-1788

I love a restaurant that offers good kids food. Not fancy, upscale flatbreads or corkscrew macaroni noodles, but food my kids will actually eat. ‘Ohana had just that. Chicken tendies, french fries, mac n cheese, garlic toast. My husband got chicken pad thai for his meal and I had chicken katsu. We also shared sushi and some delicious cheese curds as an appetizer, too. 

French Licks Ice Cream 
469 S Maple St., French Lick, In | 812-936-3131

A short walk from ‘Ohana is an adorable little ice cream shop that is connected to a wood work store. The feel is eclectic and FUN! My kids loved sitting in the booth, eating their ice cream and taking in the sights. Look at that giant buffalo! We ended up ordering some food from the cafe, too, because my kids love their school Bosco Stix, and when they saw it on the menu, their eyes lit up. Yes we just ate dinner and ice cream, but their appetites are similar to the depths of a bottomless pit. Overall, everything was tasty and we would definitely recommend it. 



More things to do during a visit to French Lick West Baden

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About the Author

Amanda Ciani

Amanda Ciani lives in Northern Kentucky with her husband and their three terrific sons. She enjoys writing haiku parenting poems for her Instagram account (@cinciciani), and Twitter account (@haikuciani).