Situated in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions of the United States, Indiana is one of the smallest states in terms of landmass, but has the 17th highest population. Nicknamed 'The Hoosier State', Indiana covers an area of 36,418 square miles, making it the 38th largest state of America. It has an estimated population of 6.66 million people. Indiana has borders with Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio, with a section of the state bordering Lake Michigan too.

Indiana became the 19th state in 1816, but was home to various Native American people in the years before that. The state has several major cities, with its capital being Indianapolis. Indianapolis is also the largest city in Indiana, and the Greater Indianapolis area is the largest metropolitan area in the state. Here are some additional details and statistics regarding some of the largest cities in Indiana. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Indianapolis

Indianapolis
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Indianapolis is by far the largest city in Indiana and is also the state capital. Situated in Marion County in the center of the state, Indianapolis is the third most populous city in the Midwest region and the 16th biggest in the entire United States. The city covers an area of 368.02 square miles and has an estimated population of 863,000, with over 2 million living in the surrounding metropolitan area.

The city's name comes from the name of the state and the Greek word 'polis', meaning 'city'. Indianapolis was founded in 1821 and incorporated in 1832. It became a consolidated city-county in 1970. The city is well known for its strong sporting culture, hosting the world-famous Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, among other events. Many museums, art centers, and historic buildings can be found around Indianapolis, attracting large numbers of tourists to the city each year.

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2.Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne
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Located in Allen County in the northeastern part of the state, Fort Wayne is the second largest city in Indiana. It covers an area of 110.84 square miles and has an estimated population of 264,000, with over 419,000 living in the surrounding metropolitan area. As its name suggests, Fort Wayne began as a military installation, being constructed by the United States Army in 1794, and expanded over the years to become a thriving city.

Fort Wayne has always been seen as a key trade and transport city due to its key location, only short distances from the Ohio and Michigan borders. Fort Wayne also continues to have a strong military presence in the modern era, with the defense industry being a big part of the city's economy.

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3.Evansville

Evansville
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Located in Vanderburgh County in the southwestern part of Indiana, Evansville is the third largest city in the state. It was founded in 1812 and named after General Robert Morgan Evans. Evansville covers an area of 47.84 square miles and has an estimated population of 119,000, with over 314,000 living in the surrounding metropolitan area.

The city of Evansville is the largest city in the southern part of Indiana and is seen as a key tourism destination for the state, with major attractions including the Tropicana casino and Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden.

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4.South Bend

South Bend
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Situated in St Joseph County in the northern part of the state, South Bend is located on the St Joseph River and is the fourth biggest city in Indiana. The city got its name from the fact that it was constructed on the southernmost bend of the St Joseph River. South Bend covers an area of 41.82 square miles and has an estimated population of 101,000, with around 318,000 living in the surrounding metropolitan area.

South Bend was founded as a fur trading settlement and incorporated as a city in 1865, relying on the St Joseph River for trade and growth. Tourism, health care, and education are the major contributors to the economy of South Bend, with the University of Notre Dame being located not far away.

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5.Carmel

Carmel
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Located in Hamilton County in the central part of Indiana, Carmel is the fifth biggest city in the state. It is located in very close proximity to the state capital of Indianapolis and has close ties with the city. Carmel has repeatedly been classed and ranked as one of the best cities in which to live in Indiana, and it is also one of the fastest-growing cities in the state.

Carmel covers an area of 48.54 square miles and has an estimated population of 92,000. The city was originally known as Bethlehem, but the name was changed to Carmel when it was incorporated in 1874.

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5 of the Largest Cities in Indiana


  • Indianapolis, Photo: checubus/stock.adobe.com
  • Fort Wayne, Photo: Nick/stock.adobe.com
  • Evansville, Photo: Richard/stock.adobe.com
  • South Bend, Photo: katy/stock.adobe.com
  • Carmel, Photo: ASP Inc/stock.adobe.com
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com

Attraction Spotlight: Indiana State Museum

Located within the renowned White River State Park in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Indiana State Museum is the perfect location for people who are interested in learning about Indiana’s historical and cultural significance throughout the ages.

The Indiana State Museum’s history dates back to 1862. R. Deloss Brown, Indiana’s State Librarian, found an interest within collecting geographic sentiments of Indiana, such as minerals. Brown kept this collection within his cabinet. A few years late, in 1869, an official preservation law of geological and mineralogical collections as created by the Indiana General Assembly. An unnamed state geologist became the Indiana State Museum’s first employee during that year, and organized Brown’s extensive collection.

Although the Indiana State Museum’s permanent collection was initially displayed within a room in the State Capitol Building, it frequently moved locations. This was largely due to the museum’s extensive collection. It wasn’t until 1945, when newly elected governor, Ralph H. Gates, decided to establish a plan that would create an innovative and modern museum for the current collection and collections to come.

Although Gates was instrumental in creating a plan for a new museum site, his plan was never carried out. This was partially due to the fact that Gates could not find an adequate site for the museum he had in mind. When he found an adequate site, the price tag rung high at approximately $3 million. Gates’ successors battled the same conflicts. But, in 1962 Governor Matthew E. Welsh found the perfect location within the Indianapolis City Hall. After renovating the location, the Indiana State Museum officially opened its first real location in 1967.

But, the Indiana State Museum faced the same space issues it did within its early years. And soon enough, its location proved to be too small. So, the Indiana State Museum began renovating its current location in White River State Park during the end of the summer of 1999. The museum officially opened its doors on May 22, 2002. Since then, the Indiana State Museum continues to actively search for ways it can expand the use of its space and collections.

The Indiana State Museum has a variety of core galleries that are spread out among two levels.

Level 1 features a concentration of Indiana’s natural history. A combination of prized artifacts and fun and interactive activities enables visitors to explore Indiana’s history within archaeology, geography, and paleontology.

Level 2 showcases the cultural history of Indiana throughout the ages. Some of the highlighted areas of concentration within this permanent attraction includes; a history about Abraham Lincoln, Stutz automobiles, RCA televisions, and Indiana’s significance within the Civil War.

The Indiana State Museum provides visitors with a new experience each time they visit through their extensive collection of special attractions. Like any other renowned museum, check out Indiana State Museum’s website for an updated list of current special attractions.

The Indiana State Museum has various educational opportunities for people of all ages. While the Indiana State Museum offers adult programs, most of their educational opportunities ae geared towards children. One of their programs is called the Educational Trunk. Teachers have the opportunity of renting a trunk that includes a variety of artifacts, books, and activities that are relevant to Indiana for up to two weeks. Thus, this is the perfect educational initiative for schools who do not have the opportunity of visiting the Indiana State Museum.

Aside from school based educational opportunities, the Indiana State Museum offers workshops, performances, and even theater productions to the general community.

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650 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, Phone: 317-232-1637

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Attraction Spotlight: Indianapolis Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo is located within the White River State Park in Indianapolis. This zoo has a variety of exhibits that explore a variety of animals and ecosystems, such as those in oceans and forests.

The Indianapolis Zoo was founded on April 18, 1964 by the Indianapolis Zoological Society. It was originally located on East 30th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana, but moved to its current location in 1987. A distinctive historical fact about the Indianapolis Zoo is it was the first zoo to be officially labeled as a zoo, botanical garden, and aquarium by the American Association of Museums and Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Today, the Indianapolis Zoo strives to provide the overall Indianapolis community with an animal conservation that is advanced in the local and global sense. The Indianapolis Zoo’s current president and CEO, Mike Crowther created a conservation plan that included the zoo’s commitment to providing sustainability for animals, ecosystems, and the overall environment.

The Indianapolis Zoo has five distinctive areas that provide visitors with the unique experience of exploring and interacting with over 230 different animal species and 2,000 types of plants.

Oceans explores the diversity of the world’s oceans. The first thing that visitors see when they enter the Oceans building is the OneAmerica Foundation Entry Gallery. This gallery has a breathtakingly gorgeous reflecting pool that glistens in even the smallest amount of light. The other exhibit is the Efroymson Gallery, which shows a variety of animals and plants within oceans. The first section of this exhibit is a large tank that showcases large fish, such as woobegong sharks. Another highlight of this exhibit is the large coral reef, which is home to a family of green moray eels.

Deserts is located within a dome. This attraction has a combination of animals that one would find in a typical desert. The types of animals in the Deserts attraction range from mammals to reptiles. One of the specific highlighted animals in the Desert Dome is meerkats, which are often regarded as small animals that have a hint of sass.

Forests showcases the temperate and tropical ecosystems of various forests throughout the world. A dense tree canopy allows the perfect amount of filtered sunlight to shine down upon the plants and animals within the Forests exhibit. Some of the highlighted animals include red pandas, Asian small-clawed otters, and Amur tigers.

Plains features some of the most diverse amount of animals that one could find within popular plains, such as those in Africa. A combination of fierce animals, such as cheetahs, rhinos, and elephants coexist with calmer animals, such as giraffes and zebras within the Plains attraction.

White River Gardens is the last distinct attraction of the Indianapolis Zoo. The White River Gardens comprises approximately 3 acres of land. Various flora and fauna are spread across the White Rive Gardens. Various informational posts are spread out among this attraction. These posts include information such as, which types of plants are the best for home gardening, and general information about some of the attractions most popular plants.

Education is extremely important to the Indianapolis Zoo. As part of its global educational and conservation efforts, the Indianapolis Zoo takes part in globally recognized educational programs, such as the Hix Institute for Research and Conservation. The Hix Institute for Research and Conservation provides the general public with an extensive amount of educational programs and opportunities that teach fundamentals of conservation through fun and interactive programs.

Aside from the Indianapolis Zoo’s participation in renowned global educational efforts, the zoo has many on-site educational opportunities. In order to ensure that everyone has the chance to receive adequate and relevant information, the Indianapolis Zoo divides its programs among family and youth experiences and adult programs.

Two of the Indianapolis Zoo’s most popular family and youth educational programs are the Animal Art Adventure and the Dolphin In-Water Adventure. The Animal Art Adventure gives families and youth the opportunity to explore a certain animal behind the scenes. During this program, participants have the chance to interact with animals in a similar way that zoo employees do. To top off the experience, the animal paints a picture for the participants, which they get to take home. Participants get to choose to interact with one of the following animals; elephant, penguin, pinniped, reptile, dolphin, or rhino.

As for Dolphin In-Water Adventure, participants have the opportunity to swim with dolphins in the Indianapolis Zoo’s specialized dolphin pod and learn an array of information about these majestic animals.

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1200 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46222, Phone: 317-630-2001

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Attraction Spotlight: NCAA Hall of Champions

Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, the NCAA Hall of Champions aims to provide a greater understanding of the organization and its more than 400,000 student-athletes. Visitors will experience educational and interactive exhibits meant to increase their understanding of what it takes to become a NCAA champion athlete.

History:

The NCAA Hall of Champions was opened in March 2000 after the NCAA relocated to Indianapolis. In 2007, the Hall of Champions was struck by an electrical fire that destroyed a portion of the displays; it was temporarily closed until it reopened in 2009.

Permanent Exhibits:

Arena: Located on the first floor, the Arena represents all 24 of the NCAA sports and some of the best athletes to ever play those sports. There is also a trivia challenge that even novices can participate in, updated and current team rankings, video highlights, and hundreds of objects donated from colleges and universities around the United States.

The Arena is colorfully decorated and allows visitors to learn anything and everything about all 24 sports represented by the NCAA. There are tons of fun facts, sports memorabilia, and championship banners for visitors to enjoy – whether they are sports fans or not.

This area also features the amazing stories of minorities in the sporting world. The History of Women in Intercollegiate Athletics exhibit features the contributions of brave and intelligent women in sports, some of whom have received the highest honors and awards the NCAA has to offer.

Play: Located on the second floor, Play is a full interactive exhibition area where visitors can participate in virtual sports simulators, including scenarios set in a 1930s gymnasium, ski slopes, and much more.

This area truly allows visitors to feel what it’s like to be a NCAA athlete. Visitors can stand in a cage and experience the feeling of having a tennis ball coming right at them at speeds of 100 miles an hour. Visitors can stand on top of a swimmer’s block and test their skills in soccer, basketball, football, or baseball. They can even try various gymnastic events, like trying to find their balance on a beam.

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NCAA Hall of Champions, 700 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, Indiana 46204, Phone: 317-916 - 4255

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