Farewell, Indiana Beach

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Beaches are probably not the first thing you think of when you think of Indiana (we do have them at Lake Michigan though!). Neither are amusement parks.

But for 94 years, Indiana has had Indiana Beach, a classic amusement park and boardwalk on Lake Shafer in Monticello. And it was announced today that it won't be reopening.

photo from Trip Advisor

Not only was Indiana Beach the first amusement park I'd ever been to, it was my first vacation, period. It was also the only time we had gone on a trip as a family with my older sister, since she was in college for our other trips and had other commitments.

The first time we went, it was the summer between 1st and 2nd grade, and I had just turned 7. We camped at the campground, and it was the first time I remember camping. That trip changed so many things for me. It showed me that there was more than just the tri-county area I was used to. It began my love of camping. It was the first time I had (sort of) faced my fear of heights by riding the giant water slides at the water park.

I was scared of Frankenstein’s castle (at least the first time), but I loved the log flume. When we returned when I was 12, I rode my first rollercoaster, the Cornball Express (it is Indiana, after all); I faced my fears some more and proceeded to ride the other three coasters they had at the time as well (and I loved it!).

photo from The Indianapolis Star
We only live about 40 minutes away now, but we had never taken the kids. I took for granted that it would always be there and we would always have the chance for them to experience it as well. It's a good reminder to seize the day and live in the moment, because you never know what the future holds.

I'll always hold my memories of Indiana Beach fondly in my heart. And in some ways, maybe it's better that I haven't been back as an adult, because those memories won't be tainted by seeing it through the jaded lens of an adult. I'm just sorry future generations won't get the chance to make their own memories there as well.

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