Indiana was the 19th state to join the union in 1816. As America expanded westward throughout the 1800s, Indiana became a major crossroads due to its location along the roads and trails people used to travel west. If you look at Indiana’s state quarter you will discover what is important to the state. Their quarter was released in 2002, and when you look at it you’ll first notice the state’s shape and 19 stars in an arc, representing Indiana being the 19th state. In the center of the quarter is an “Indy” car, that is modeled after the current cars that are raced in the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most famous car racing events in America and draws over 300,000 people every year. The words CROSSROADS OF AMERICA appear across the quarter, as Indiana still considers this name to be relevant. When you come to Indiana, you can drive on its roads to explore their one-of-a-kind destinations.
The Exotic Feline Rescue Center is about one hour from Indianapolis, the capital of the state. At the rescue center are approximately 200 rescued large cats, including lions, tigers, leopards, and bob cats. Donations are requested to help keep the center in operation. The accommodations for the animals are somewhat meager and small, but these animals were not raised in the wild and therefore they are not able to survive in the wild on their own either. The animals are well taken care of and the rescue center’s goal is to help educate visitors that large wild animals do not make good pets.
Hoosier National Forest
Hoosier National Forest is a large national forest that covers over 200,000 acres. Located close to the Kentucky border in south central Indiana, the area is lush and green, covered in forests and rolling hills. Outdoor activities are abundant with over 200 miles of hiking trails. Located within the borders of the national forest is the only recognized wilderness area in the state, the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area. This area is prohibited to horses and pedestrians only, as no motor vehicles are allowed. When you visit the area, climb the Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower, near Bloomington, to see amazing views of the surrounding area.
The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is located at the northern end of the state of Indiana along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. These sand dunes are unique to this area alone. The special sand dunes were formed from continual drifts of water, called the Longshore Drift, that moved southwards and piled sand in huge piles. Some of the tallest dunes stand at 123 feet, or 37 meters, high. Activities include hiking, swimming, and catching a few sun rays.
America’s states all have something remarkable to discover. Drive on America’s great interstate highway system to explore it all!