In the tradition of Indy champions, you can kiss the bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
How did the tradition start? Dale Jarrett won! In celebration, he and his crew chief knelt and kissed the bricks that mark the start/finish line of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. Since Jarrett’s 1996 Brickyard 400 win, champions of the Brickyard, Indy 500, and most other races at the speedway all kiss the bricks. You, too, can kiss the bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when you take the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Kiss the Bricks tour.
Twelve miles off the Mississippi Gulf Coast and accessible only by private boat or ferry, Ship Island was a tourist destination for years. And then, in 1969, Hurricane Camille hit. She split the island in half, creating West Ship Island and East Ship Island. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina did even more damage.
Thanks to an Army Corps of Engineers project, the two halves were reconnected in 2019, making the entire island available again via a single ferry ride.
Spend the day exploring Ship Island—or sunbathe all day. The choice is yours. Either way, a Ship Island visit is a highlight on a Gulf Coast itinerary.
Due to Covid-19, many of the free or inexpensive outdoor New Year’s Eve celebrations have been cancelled. A few have come back, though, in 2021. (Updated for New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2021.)Read more
Christmas festivals at zoos have become huge holiday attractions. In the Midwest alone, at least eighteen zoos celebrate with holiday lights, carols, animal shows, and even ice skating rinks. Brookfield Zoo, Chicago’s oldest holiday zoo event, is celebrating its 40th year in 2021. But the very first zoo holiday lights event in the nation was Indianapolis Zoo’s Christmas at the Zoo, which dates back to 1967!
Many other zoos have hopped aboard the holiday festival train over the years. Here are a few highlights of eighteen Midwest zoo holiday lights events for 2021, listed by state: Read more
When I was a kid, we had a family tradition of piling into the station wagon during the Christmas season and driving around town, oohing and aahing at houses decked out in lights. We’ve continued the Christmas lights tradition as adults, only now we don’t drive around neighborhoods looking for homes decorated Griswold style. Instead we find one or two big displays put on by zoos, towns or civic organizations. This year we discovered a winner with the Du Quoin Holiday Lights Fair in southern Illinois. Not only does Du Quoin display an awesome drive-through lights show; they include a big indoor fair, as well. Read more