Pros: Roller coasters, water fun, junk food
Cons: crowded, saw very few staff members, beach was unappealing, can't picnic by the car
Or, maybe there were just too many people on it (the "beach"). Our group of four headed to Indiana Beach one Saturday morning after being turned away from the 15-mile canoe trip...no available canoes. Well, we were in Indiana and already had the kids at a sitter, so why not head up to Monticello, Indiana and check out Indiana Beach.
I have heard about this magnificent place since I was a kid. I always tried to con my parents into taking us, but they never did. They always said they heard it was expensive and crowded. I knew there were rides and I knew there was a beach. I had no idea that it was classified as an amusement park. I thought it was a beach.
Indiana Beach is Indiana's largest amusement resort. Besides the Water Park, rides and entertainment, they also offer cottages, rooms, cabins, and camping to vacationers. Located on Lake Shafer, there are many other places to stay as well as many other things to do. So, a mini-vacation to such a place may be worthwhile.
Outside of Indiana Beach gates are shops and stores to visit. A thriving tourist trap. There is free parking at the gate, though it isn't the easiest to get into. Paid parking will get you closer to the action, but is not any better in the way of safety. There are guards that walk the parking lot, but they don't really pay too close of attention unless you are getting in your trunk.
The four coasters at Indiana Beach include The Hoosier Hurricane, Tig'rr Coaster, Galaxie and the new in 2001 CornBall Express. None of the rides were lame; I would have ridden them a few times apiece. (I'm lucky my husband lets me on them in the first place.) My favorite would have to have been The Hoosier Hurricane, if I had to choose.
There are several souvenir/gift shops throughout Indiana Beach. One carries collectibles, candles etc., another carries clothing items and sundries. One carries swimwear for the entire family. You can watch a glass blower at work, or record yourself singing your favorite song.
Of course they have the usual attractions, merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, carnival rides, the old-fashioned cars, and the train. Our group really enjoyed the haunted house.
For dining and entertainment, visit the Skyroom. It overlooks Lake Shafer and the boardwalk and serves all three meals 7 days a week. Weekly and weekend entertainment is provided during peak season. Alcoholic beverages are served here as well as in the Beach Bar. I believe that Indiana Beach also hosts a teen dance on a couple nights a week in this same restaurant.
I suggest you take plenty of money for food if you plan on spending your whole day at Indiana Beach. They allow no picnicking in their parking lot or anywhere else on the premises.
The paddle wheel steamer that took passengers at set intervals on a sightseeing tour of Lake Shafer looked interesting, but not in our time schedule. There were water shows every 30 minutes or so, while we were there. The skiers did daring acts and a speedboat always interfered to crash their applause (this was part of the show.) Fun to watch once.
Did I mention that the place was crowded? I won't even try to guess how many people are allowed in their park, but it is a lot. For the number of people that were walking around and the number of juvenile delinquents that were running around unattended, I would think there would have been more patrolling done by park employees. Good luck finding someone pleasant to help you find the John, or to turn in the little rats that keep cutting in line!
If you are satisfied riding the same four roller coasters over and over again, and going down the same 5 water slides, you won't mind the price of entry.
Family Value General Admission --$3
One nice thing about Indiana Beach is that not each person has to pay the high admission rates. If you don't think you or any member of your party will be riding many rides, you can pay only a $3.00 fee for admission. They can then purchase tickets to ride individually, if they please. Children ages 3 and under pay no admission fee. *If you are staying at one of their places of lodging, park admission is free.
Water Park Only--$13
This includes admission to the beach (which in my opinion is very small and not very well maintained), the 6 water slides, Action River, and the use of their very small bath house.
In the bathhouse are benches and lockers, as well as male and female dressing rooms. Fifty cents will get you the key to a locker, and once you open it, fork over another .50. Don't worry, there are change machines nearby...just don't forget which locker number your stuff is in.
You can also pay to be admitted to the beach only, for $2, or Action River only for $8.
POP or Pay One Price
48" tall and over-- $15
44" to 48" $10
There are 26 rides in Indiana Beach. This price package allows you unlimited access to these rides for 7 hours. There are two sessions for this package during peak season: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. or from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Combo--Water park and Ride package
$24 per person 48" and over
$19 per person 44" to under 48"
Purchasing one of these pays for all ride prices, and water recreation prices in the park. If you plan to spend a day here, and know you will ride the rides, it is well worth it to pay this fee up front.
Will we go again?
Most definitely! The prices were very acceptable for a family the size of ours. There was plenty to do for all of us, though I won't let my children wander away. There weren't many lost parent stations that I noticed. Indiana Beach can entertain my family for a day any day!