Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 1, 2013

Skip the vacation, enjoy a ‘Staycation’

Explore the fun side of Kokomo’s local flavor and favorite spots

By Lindsay Eckert
Tribune lifestyle editor

Kokomo — As Kokomo transforms into a week-long ghost town and its residents are excitedly escaping to warmer weather, some residents may be feeling stuck in the City of Firsts. Those dreaming of sneaking into the suitcases of luckier souls should leave those dreams for sleeping and get their days started with a “Staycation” in Kokomo. Although toes sunk in the sand may be a more traditional spring break, there’s plenty of things to keep you on your feet in Kokomo.

Sherry Matlock, Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau’s visitor information specialist, said she knows what to do in the community. Come rain or shine, Matlock said, Kokomo keeps the energy of fun flowing and proves Kokomo isn’t just a spot for a “Staycation,” but it’s also a destination.

“Kokomo offers unique and fun attractions that many may not think about: Kokomo Opalescent Glass is America’s oldest art glass company and the tour is simply fascinating to watch the process of glass making and local glass artisans at work,” Matlock said. “Kokomo has a rich history — locals can learn more about our community at the Elwood Haynes Museum, Seiberling Mansion and Kokomo Automotive Museum. These are all great places. [Plus,] most are free or very inexpensive to visit. [They’re] great for families looking for affordable options close to home.”

Amy Denny, Kokomo Tribune human resources manager, was set for traveling until the spring snowstorm swept away her plans. Denny travels to Florida every year with her two sons and parents and the new swimsuits were already purchased and packed for a place with warmer climate. However, the swimsuits ended up somewhere they never expected.

“We headed to Indianapolis to beat the snow storm and then we found out our flight was canceled. The earliest we could fly to Florida would’ve been Wednesday,” Denny said. “It totally killed the plans and I was heartbroken. We couldn’t even do anything in Indy because everything was closed from the weather.”

It was the wise words of her 10-year-old that transformed the forced staycation into something more than disappointment.

“My son said, ‘Mom, there’s no sense in getting upset over something we can’t change,’” Denny said. “I went to the store — we didn’t have any groceries left because we thought we were leaving for vacation — and got the boy’s favorite snacks and we just had fun with it.”

And as for the swimsuits?

“We got home and the boys were talking about their new swimsuits so I just decided let’s just put our swimsuits on and go outside anyways,” Denny said. “We looked at it as white Indiana sand, not snow.”

Denny said her family made some fun stops along the way during their forced staycation.

“We went to Taku Japanese Steakhouse and they put on an amazing show for the boys and it was delicious,” Denny said about one of their stops. “They found out we were supposed to be in Florida and really went out of their way to give the boys extra special treatment. We also saw ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful’ in 3D. The boys took everything in stride and we ended up having a lot of fun.”

Whether you’re forced to stay home from Florida or the wallet was talking and kept you home there’s plenty to do and see in Kokomo.

It’s time to stop drowning the sorrows about missing ocean sunsets and jump on board with Kokomo Tribune’s daily itinerary of Kokomo hot spots.


• “A Day in the Life of a Glassmaker:” Learn about the history of glass in Howard County at Greentown History Center, 103 E. Main St. Hours: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday through Monday; Free admission; Call 765-628-3800.

• Try the new restaurant, Crave Crepes, that’s crazy about crepes right across the street for a sweet treat or a delicious lunch. For more information, call 765-628-2000.


• See the history of glass in present tense at Opalescent Glass, 1310 S. Market St. Free tours are hosted at the world of glass creations at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Friday. For more information, call 765-457-8136. Kokomo Opalescent Glass is also on the Indiana Glass Trail. Visit www.indianaglasstrail.com for more information.

• Fuel up for a late morning coffee at Main Street Cafe, 233 N. Main St. Since the locally-owned coffee shop typically closes at 5 p.m. on weeknights, you’ll be able to try something out of the norm for a normal work week.

• Rev up the engines and learn about the world of autos in Kokomo. Kokomo Automotive Museum; 1500 N. Reed Road; 765-454-9999; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; Admission $5.  

• Head over to Taku Japanese Steakhouse, 1540 E. Boulevard, for a different kind of show. Watch chefs toss up delicious dishes using fire and spectacular displays. For reservations, call 765-450-4166.


• Tour the lifestyles of the rich and famous from decades ago in the majestic mansion’s elaborate décor and architectural design. Sundays are buy one admission get the second free. Don’t miss the Civil War exhibit. 1200 West Sycamore St.; Tuesday through Sunday; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Admission, Adults $4, Children $3.


• Antique with unique locations in Kokomo. Kokomo is home to several antique shops ranging from Timeless Pieces, 631 S. Reed Road, to Wild Ostrich Antiques, 928 S. Main St. For a full list, visit www.visitkokomo.org.

• Take a break from searching for historical finds with a sweet treat at the Kokomo Area Career Center student-led candy shop, Kokomo Confectioners’ Company, 207 E. Superior St.

• Don’t let the old-timey fun end there, head across the street to City Line Public Transportation for a trolley ride through downtown Kokomo. For a list of routes and maps visit, www.cityofkokomo.org. For more information, call 765-456-7556

Friday, Saturday and Sunday

• Check out Kokomo Tribune’s [friday] section for a full guide of weekend fun in Kokomo and beyond.

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