Best of Indy: Fun & Games
To counter the national PR disaster that was the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Visit Indy encouraged residents to show some pride by posing as the “I” in the newly iconic NDY sculptures. A huge hit.
A kind of little sibling to the Indianapolis Zoo’s big-ticket annual fundraiser, Zoobilation, Zoolala gives young professionals an opportunity to dress up and party down at the Zoo for nearly half the price. The $150 ticket includes food and drinks from local chefs and bartenders, along with live music and dancing. “You put everyone that age in one setting, and it just creates a fun night where you’re bouncing from person to person and room to room,” says Amanda Dorman, a 2015 attendee helping to plan the next “Amazing Africa” edition. Last year’s event sold out, so you might want to run like an antelope for tickets to the February 6 gala. 1200 W. Washington St., 630-2001
Place to Embrace Your Inner Katniss
If you think children (or adults, for that matter) wielding bows and arrows seems like a bad idea, the new Koteewi Archery range in rural Hamilton County might change your mind. For $15, novice archers (including kids as young as 5) can pick out equipment in the adjoining pro shop, listen to simple directions from an instructor, and then spend an hour in a covered lane outside trying to hit the bull’s-eye on bag-style targets. Worried about getting nipped by a wayward shot? Safety rules prohibit anyone from retrieving arrows from the range until their entire section is ready to clean up. For another $12, you can mosey over to the forest and try to put one right between the eyes of 3D deer and wolves, just like your very own rendition of The Hunger Games. 22735 Essig Ave., Noblesville, 776-8472
New Hangout for Kids
The Urban Chalkboard bills itself as a “play cafe,” which is short for “happy place between daycare and coffee shop.” Marble runs, teepees, and train tables abound for the kids, while grown-ups get excellent local coffee, WiFi, and small plates. Just three rules: socks required, no outside food, and the baby space is reserved for—you guessed it—babies. The best part might be the quizzically low rates: Day passes run just $7 for kids under the age of 8; everyone else is free. 452 E. Carmel Dr., Carmel, 815-5711
New Hangout for Adults
Much like its popular annual Adult Swim party, the Children’s Museum’s monthly After Dark events allow grownups to climb on exhibits and assemble jumbo puzzles without having to push some poor, outmatched kid out of the way. At these 21-and-over events, the young at heart can grab some booze and, say, assemble an Egyptian coffin or ride the carousel. Just try not to roughhouse your way into getting a timeout. Check website for dates. 3000 N. Meridian St., 334-3322
Under-the-Radar Dance Party
A series of pre-weekend bashes with a killer view, Rooftop Thursdays give Indy’s trendsetters one more reason to celebrate #ThirstyThursday all summer long. Starting at 5:30 p.m. on the terrace of the Regions Bank building, partygoers unwind with live music. Feeling lucky? Indiana Grand Racing and Casino always brings a few games to the table. And while there’s no cover charge until 8 p.m., there is a detailed dress code (basically, classy not trashy), which is listed on the website. June to September, 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., 211 N. Pennsylvania St.
Not-So-Under-the-Radar Dance Party
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway already held the distinction of throwing the city’s biggest annual beer-and-cutoffs party, but in recent years, it has hosted Indy’s prime glam shindig as well. At Rev, the official start of the Month of May in IMS’s sleek Pagoda Plaza, revelers kick up their well-heeled shoes on the yard of bricks. When the event rolls around again on May 7, be on the lookout for high-profile CEOs, Colts, IndyCar drivers, and their fashion-model wives. $300. 4790 W. 16th St., 492-8500,
New Tailgating Spot
Owned by Colts long snapper Matt Overton and opened just in time for this NFL season, The Blockhouse Indianapolis provides club-level amenities for fans with disposable income and tailgating habits that have migrated away from gravel parking lots and unwashed rabble. Located a short walk from the south end of Lucas Oil Stadium, the private club treats members to an open-air hangout area, HD projectors, catered cuisine, and local craft beer. All of the Blockhouse’s initial 40 memberships (starting at $1,200 for the season) sold out in 48 hours, but you can still get on the waiting list—or suck up to your boss in the hope that he’ll let you join him for the next game. 823 Chadwick St.
New Bike Share
Carmel rolled out a bike share in April, and taking a cue from snafus suffered by some other bike shares—confounding terminals, complicated price rates—the city has given users an easy ride. With the program’s app, Zagster, you can rent either a loaded cruiser or stable trike for $3 per hour with a $24 cap. It really is that simple. (Just make sure your phone is charged, since you need it both to unlock your bike and end your rental session.) With eight stations, including stops along the Monon Greenway and in Carmel City Center, Central Park, and the Arts & Design District, you can always hop off close to the action.
Way to Meet the Neighbors
Already longing for warm summer evenings? Maybe getting an early start on planning a Porch Party will make you feel better. Organized by the Harrison Center for the Arts, the citywide initiative encourages Indy residents to sign up as hosts and then invite over friends and neighbors to hang out on June 12, 2016. Take a picture and write up a short blog post about your shindig, and you could win a $250 gift card. 396-3886
Wine and Paint Nights
Imagine a Venn diagram of people who like to paint and people who like wine. The area where the circles overlap? That’s the crowd at The Paint Cellar, which provides everything you need to complete a painting in a single session. Well, almost everything—you supply the Merlot. Don’t worry if you’re no Bob Ross: Instructors assist you through each stroke. 581 S. Range Line Rd., Carmel, 759-4278