The Parent's Guide to Spring Break at French Lick Resort

We survived January! Which means it’s February … which means it’s time for the kids to start asking about spring break plans every 18 minutes.

Fortunately, we’ve got plenty of solutions.

If you’re already planning a spring break getaway here to French Lick Resort — or if you’re just now starting to scramble for spring break plans — we’ve got you covered with spring break programming here at the resort as well as a host of other things to do here in town and the surrounding area. Get started with our basic lowdown on spring break as well as everything you need to know about KidsFest and their “Spring Into the Wild” activities running March 8 to April 7. And here’s our Parent’s Guide to Spring Break with a little more info to make your planning a breeze.

At the resort
If it coincides with the timing of your visit, be sure to hit up Cupcake Decorating (March 26 and April 2), Mommy & Me Tea (March 27 and April 3), the Spring Into Action acrobat shows (March 30) or Cookies & Canvas (March 30).

If your kids are the type that are still teasing to open the pool the second the temperature cracks 60 in the spring, you’ll be happy to know our outdoor pool opens March 1 and is heated to 92-96 degrees. Of course, this is barring another late-season polar vortex in March — and in the event of that, it’s always sunny and 70 at our indoor pool.

You can spend a whole afternoon down in the bowling alley, arcade and Pluto’s Pizzeria. If you’ve got a whole crew of children, the bowling alley has a group rate of $40 per lane per hour for unlimited people, which includes shoe rental.

FootGolf at the Valley Links Course is also ideal for all age ranges — even teenagers who might think they’re too cool for it until they actually do it and see how fun it is.

Where to eat?
At the resort, the Power Plant Bar & Grill, Spring 8 Deli and Hagen’s Club House Restaurant all have children’s menus. (Spring 8 and Hagen’s are both slated to open for the season on March 15.) If you’ve got extremely hungry and/or antsy kids, Spring 8 is always a good bet for getting in and out pretty quickly. And, it’s conveniently located adjacent to the indoor/outdoor pools and hot tub.

What kid doesn’t go nuts over a buffet? The Grand Colonnade Restaurant’s breakfast buffet (Monday-Saturday) and Sunday brunch buffet are perfect for letting the kids splurge a little and build their own plates with pastries, bacon, fruit, smoothies, and omelet and waffle bars. For resort guests, kids 5 and under always eat free and children 6-12 eat for half price. The breakfast buffet is served until 11 a.m., so you could always try (if you dare) to eat a late breakfast, ride out the afternoon with a snack or two, and do an early dinner.

Out in town, Denny’s (across the highway from French Lick Springs Hotel) lets kids eat free on Tuesdays. And 33 Brick Street in downtown French Lick has a fun atmosphere and good kid-friendly menu. Kids will love seeing the sports trophies and memorabilia there, and if you ask, they’ll even get Larry Bird’s Olympic jacket out of the display case to let the kids try on.

Don’t forget about…
People always seem to forget about the area’s caves when they drive in to visit. This is a great activity for kids of any age, since the caves offer everything from gemstone mining for the littler ones, as well as more interactive adventures for the older crowd. It also makes for a good day trip on a rainy day.

Within the resort, The Stables sometimes get overlooked, since they’re off the beaten path, up the winding gravel road from West Baden Springs Hotel. The kids can saddle up for a horse or pony ride, and we match each child up on whichever of our 27 horses is the best fit for them. If you’re just interested in taking a quick peek at the Stables, asking questions and petting the animals, our $5 Stables Tours last until March 14. If you’ve got a late spring break, our Horse Sense classes start in April and last all the way through October.

The best things are free
Perfect for getting a little exercise (or burning some of the kids’ excess energy), there are 11 miles of hiking trails skirting the Hoosier National Forest; all within walking distance of French Lick Springs Hotel. If you want, you can also check in at the Valley Links golf shop beforehand to let someone know you’ll be out on the trails.

The restored 1903 rail trolley makes 60 trips between French Lick and West Baden Springs Hotels every day — and they’re all totally free to jump on, take a ride and enjoy the scenery. Always a hit with the littler kids.

And just a little bit down the brick road from the West Baden trolley station, the West Baden Bagel Bistro features a huge shelf of board games. Grab some lunch and a coffee, and stick around for a couple hours for a free afternoon of games.

For the adults
You can still visit the French Lick Winery with the little ones. It’s kid-friendly, and you can eat with them at the Vintage CafĂ© inside the winery which has amazing pizza and some other good kids’ options, too.

French Lick Scenic Railway gets chugging again for the season in March, with the Chocolate Tasting Train and Bourbon Tasting Train the featured themed rides. Those are both adult-only rides, but you could always keep the little ones occupied at KidsFest and sneak off for a few hours of fun. The scenic rides at French Lick Scenic Railway start March 12 on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays — these are kid-friendly, but it’s a 1-hour, 45-minute ride and the older ones might have more of an attention span for this.

Out and about
It goes without saying, but go-karts, mini golf and laser tag, and the water park are major hits with the kids — and they’re all located right here in town. The indoor karting has tracks for all ages (starting with tracks for age 4 and up). From March 8 to April 14, Big Splash has expanded hours from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. every day, with a range of options from a half-day pass to full-day or two-day passes.

At nearby Wilstem, the herd of African elephants will be returning to town from their winter home on March 9, just in time for spring break. If you’re able, it’s worth spending a few extra bucks for Wilstem’s VIP animal encounters. After all, when else in life are you gonna get the chance to get a few feet away from a grizzly bear and prepare his breakfast?

Kids might turn up their nose at the thought of spending spring break at a museum, but the French Lick West Baden Museum features an 1,100 square-foot circus diorama that’ll keep their attention. (The diorama is a nod to the once-popular Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus that was headquartered in French Lick.) Bear Hollow Wood Carvers is located right next to the museum and is full of unique items to browse. French Licks ice cream is located right next door to both, so you can negotiate an ice cream reward for an hour or two of good behavior at the museum or Bear Hollow.

On your way into town, drop by the Visit French Lick West Baden visitors center and pick up coupons for go-karting, local restaurants and the town museum. You can also tackle their free scavenger hunt that’ll take you you through points of interest throughout the county with a chance to win prizes.

There are endless options here in the heart of southern Indiana to create a spring break adventure, and during your stay be sure to show off your spring break pics and tag them with #frenchlickresort!


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