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Fun Things to Do This Summer with Your Kids Near South Bend, Indiana




Summer is here, and it’s the perfect time to create unforgettable memories with your kids! If you’re in the South Bend, Indiana area, there are plenty of activities to keep your little ones entertained while enjoying the beautiful weather. As a family photographer and a mom of three boys, I know how important it is to find fun and engaging activities for kids. Here’s a list of fun things to do this summer with your kids near South Bend, inspired by what my own boys enjoy.


1. Potawatomi Zoo

Potawatomi Zoo is Indiana’s oldest animal park, offering a fantastic day out for families. With over 400 animals, including lions, tigers, and giraffes, your kids will have a blast exploring the exhibits. The zoo also offers educational programs and special events throughout the summer, making it a great spot for learning and fun. We have a season pass so we can go all the time! https://www.potawatomizoo.org


2. St. Joseph River Walk

For a relaxing and scenic activity, take a stroll along the St. Joseph River Walk. This beautiful path offers stunning views of the river and is perfect for biking, walking, or even a family picnic. There are several parks along the way, such as Howard Park, where kids can enjoy playgrounds and splash pads. Howard Park is my kids favorite! https://www.visitsouthbend.com/things-to-do/outdoors-and-recreation/st-joseph-river/


3. South Bend Cubs Game

Catch a South Bend Cubs game at Four Winds Field! It’s an affordable and exciting outing for the whole family. The stadium offers family-friendly promotions, kids’ activities, and delicious ballpark snacks. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture your kids’ faces as they watch the game and meet Stu the Cub. We try to do this once a year. Sometimes one of my clients buys my whole family tickets for a game! https://www.milb.com/south-bend


4. Studebaker National Museum

Step back in time and explore the Studebaker National Museum. This museum showcases classic cars, presidential carriages, and interactive exhibits that will fascinate both kids and adults. It’s a great way to combine fun with a bit of history and learning. And theres a cool kids area in the basement. https://www.studebakermuseum.org/


5. East Race Waterway

For adventurous families, the East Race Waterway offers an exhilarating experience. It’s the first artificial whitewater course in North America, providing thrilling rides for both beginners and experienced paddlers. Kids will love the excitement of riding the rapids, and it’s a perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day. Best for older kids with this one! https://www.visitsouthbend.com/things-to-do/outdoors-and-recreation/kayaking-canoeing-and-whitewater-rafting/


6. South Bend Chocolate Factory

Indulge your sweet tooth with a visit to the South Bend Chocolate Factory. Take a tour to see how chocolates are made, and enjoy some samples along the way. The factory also has a charming café where you can treat your kids to delicious ice cream or hot cocoa. Did you know there's a indoor playplace the cafe downtown? Great for rainy days!


7. Mishawaka’s Battell Park

Just a short drive from South Bend, Battell Park in Mishawaka offers a variety of family-friendly activities. The park features a beautiful rock garden, a splash pad, playgrounds, and plenty of open space for playing and relaxing. It’s an ideal spot for a day out in nature. https://www.facebook.com/MishawakaParks/


8. Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve

A bit of a drive but worth it, Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Niles, Michigan, offers beautiful gardens, nature trails, and educational programs. It’s a peaceful retreat where your family can explore nature, have a picnic, and even participate in workshops or events designed for kids. Or just go and enjoy nature with your kids. https://www.fernwoodbotanical.org/


9. The History Museum

Explore local history at The History Museum in South Bend. The museum offers engaging exhibits on the region’s history, including the Kidsfirst Children’s Museum, where kids can enjoy hands-on activities and interactive displays. https://www.historymuseumsb.org/


10. Pinhook Park

Pinhook Park is a great spot for outdoor fun. The park features a large playground, fishing opportunities, and paddleboat rentals. It’s a perfect place to spend a sunny day enjoying the great outdoors with your family. My dog loves this park also! https://sbvpa.org/places/pinhook-park/


11. Potato Creek State Park

A short drive from South Bend, Potato Creek State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers hiking and biking trails, a beautiful lake for swimming and fishing, and picnic areas perfect for a family outing. The nature center hosts educational programs and events throughout the summer, providing fun and learning opportunities for kids. We have a season pass mainly because I have a lot of photos here, but my kids love going bike riding here. My friend also rents a cabin out here once a year. https://www.in.gov/dnr/state-parks/parks-lakes/potato-creek-state-park/


12. South Bend Parks & Arts Summer Programs

South Bend Parks & Arts puts together an array of summer programs and events for families. From outdoor concerts and movies in the park to art classes and recreational sports leagues, there’s something for everyone. Check out their schedule to find family-friendly events and activities that will keep your kids entertained all summer long. https://sbvpa.org/things-to-do/


13. Silver Beach

Located in St. Joseph, Michigan, Silver Beach is a fantastic day trip destination. The beach offers pristine sand, clear waters for swimming, and a picturesque pier. The Silver Beach Carousel and Whirlpool Compass Fountain provide additional fun activities for kids. It’s a perfect spot for a sunny beach day with the family. And the pizza place right next to it is the best! https://www.berriencounty.org/1295/Silver-Beach-County-Park


14. Downtown South Bend Library

The downtown branch of the St. Joseph County Public Library is a treasure trove of resources and activities for kids. With summer reading programs, storytimes, and various workshops, the library is a great place to encourage your children’s love of reading and learning. Plus, it’s a cool, quiet spot to escape the summer heat. https://sjcpl.org/


Our Summer Plans

As a mom of three boys, I have them engaged in several summer activities to keep them active and learning. Here’s what we’re up to:

Summer is a wonderful time to explore, learn, and create lasting memories with your kids. Whether you’re discovering new places or enjoying local favorites, South Bend and the surrounding areas offer a wealth of activities to make your summer special. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture all the smiles, laughter, and joy of these family adventures!

Happy summer!

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