Planning for spring break doesn’t have to mean mapping out a trip to the beach.

Sometimes you want to slow things down for a few days, stay close to home and have fun as a family. If you're looking for those simple pleasures, let us show you how to put together a spring break adventure in The Bend.

Take it Outside

There are few better ways to bring in spring than by seeking out open spaces and fresh air amid warm temperatures. Hiking and biking trails await at St. Patrick's County Park and Potato Creek State Park. You can walk along the St. Joseph River and explore the massive, ADA-accessible playground at Howard Park in South Bend surrounded by beautiful murals. There are dozens of play options at the parks in downtown Mishawaka, especially Central Park with its jungle gyms and other equipment, and you can walk along the Mishawaka River Walk.

Potawatomi Zoo

Indiana’s first zoo reopens for the season April 2, just in time for spring break (there are also scheduled Winter Days on March 6 and March 20). Talk about a great time to reconnect with your favorite animals – whether it’s the lions, tigers, okapi, snow leopard, red panda or any of the other 400-some zoo inhabitants. Don’t forget to hitch a ride on the Zoo Train and grab a snack during your visit.

Indoor Fun and Games

Although outdoors might be preferred when the weather breaks, there's plenty to do inside.

Bendix LAN Center: Have a gamer in your life? The Bendix LAN Center inside Century Center in downtown South Bend is the place to be. This newly opened facility is decked out with computers and ready for open play Wednesday through Sunday.

Generations AdventurePlex: A new addition to Mishawaka, Generations AdventurePlex has activities for all ages. Laser tag, bowling, a drop tower and the arcade are great for kids. There's also axe throwing and bocce ball.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park: A family favorite, Sky Zone in Mishawaka is like the best bounce house of all time. There’s are several different ways to enjoy it, from a free climb area to a toddler zone exclusively for younger children.

Strikes and Spares Entertainment Center: Bowling, mini bowling, black light mini golf, go-karts, arcade, bumper cars — those are just some of the options at this popular Mishawaka family fun destination.

The Waypoint VRcade: If virtual reality is your thing, Waypoint VRcade in Mishawaka is your kind of place. The massive space has free roam virtual reality and video games galore.

Family Friendly Food

When it's time to take a break and grab a bite to eat, is there anything more family friendly than pizza? What about tacos? Maybe you want an epic shake for dessert? We know where to find all this. Start exploring your options.

First Friday in Downtown South Bend

Downtown South Bend bustles with activity on the first Friday of every month, each with a different theme. “Tap into Spring” is scheduled for April 2. More details to come!

Visit the Museum District

Perfect for the young car lover, Studebaker National Museum is a wonderful showcase of local history and classic cars. You can also take a step back in time with The History Museum’s exhibits on regional history. Just down the street, the Civil Rights Heritage Center takes a look at local civil rights history.

South Bend Chocolate Factory Tours

Satisfy your sweet tooth by heading to the South Bend Chocolate Factory for a behind-the-scenes tour. You'll get a closer look at at how the treats are made then grab a box to take home. If you’re in downtown South Bend, visit the café for a bit to eat and the kids play area.

Explore the University of Notre Dame

We always recommend taking a walk through one of the world's iconic campuses, no matter the season. Spring is particularly beautiful as flowers bloom around the popular landmarks. Instagrammable moments await near the Golden Dome, Touchdown Jesus, the Basilica and the Grotto.

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