How Indiana came to be known as the Hoosier State is largely due to the work of John Finley. His poem, "The Hoosierís Nest", helped a small town become the most populated city in the Midwest. The abundance of corn, soy beans, and hogs has helped many earn an honest living in the great state and also helped build its capital, Indianapolis, along with the Great Lakes Plains, Till Plains, and Southern Hills and Lowlands. The Great Lakes Plains rest along the Great Lake shorelines. It is a fertile section of small lakes and low hills of earth and rock called moraines.
The east-west divide, which separates the Mississippi and St Lawrence rivers, stretches across North America and runs straight through Indiana. Central Indiana houses the Till Plains, where rich and fertile soil are perfect for growing the corn and grain crops as well as grazing livestock. It is also home to Wayne County of the Till Plains. At 1,257 feet above sea level, itís the highest point in Indiana. The south-central part of Indiana is the only part of the state to escape glaciers during the last ice age. As a result, it has the most hills in the entire state along with numerous caverns formed from underground streams. Indiana draws most of its coal and petroleum from this section of the state.
The lowest part of the state (320 feet above sea level) is in Posey County where the Wabash Rivers flows into the Ohio River. The major cities of Indiana are Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, Gary, and South Bend. Indianapolis is the home of the world-famous Indianapolis 500 car race. The Indianapolis 500 is held Memorial Weekend every year in the city of Speedway. South Bend is the home of the University of Notre Dame. The home of the Fighting Irish is among the biggest Catholic football schools in America. Other cities of note are Bloomington, the home of Indiana University, and Lafayette - home of Purdue University. It is interesting that the state has two major top 10 universities as well as a huge football college. No other state can make that claim. Indiana also has a large Amish country in Shipshewana, northern Indiana. The Amish have the largest restaurant in Indiana, where visitors and locals can dine on homemade meals.
If you like football, the RCA dome in Indianapolis is home to future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. A Fighting Irish game in Notre Dame is also a once of a lifetime experience Ė if you can get tickets. Among the many unique sites in Indianapolis is its Childrenís Museum. Adults will tell you itís not just for the kids and often drag their kids back for another tour. Thatís if the Indianapolis Zoo and Botanical Gardens didnít catch their eye first. The setup is a little different as many animals are kept in habitat-like areas with other compatible animals. This offers visitors a number of different vantage points to view the animals.
Close Destinations Four states (Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan) border Indiana. Each has its own charm and sites worth visiting if time allows. Ohio has Oberlin College, the first higher education school that allowed blacks and whites to learn together. Itís no coincidence Illinois is the home of President Lincoln.
Quick Facts Until 2005, Indiana had its own rules about Daylight Savings Time. The state for the most part, didnít follow DST and thus would be on one time zone during the winter and another during summer. It is even odder that some parts of the state did change their clocks, while others did not. Of course this was confusing for people because counties near Illinois would be on central time, while those close to Ohio were on Easter Standard Time. In April of 2005, Indiana past a law to follow the eastern states in Daylight Savings Time.
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Camping at the state parks can be fun and interesting. There are different accommodations at the different locations, depending on what youíre looking for. Most Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts offer everything from cable TV to air conditioning while some are also equipped with free high speed Internet access and a kitchen.
Hotel rates and charges
Staying at a state park Indiana can range from $5 to $50 per night, depending on location and their rules. Staying in Indianapolis can cost you anywhere from $89-$189 per night. Other places are cheaper, such as South Bend where hotels range from $39-160. Prices vary from depending on size of the city and location.
Weather conditions Like many northern states, Indiana is humid with cool winters and warm summers. There are exceptions: the water around the Great Lakes area helps warm the winters and cool the summers.
Rainfall averages about 36 inches per year in Northern Indiana and 43 inches in the south.