7 Places Every Nature Lover Should See when Visiting Shipshewana
You can experience these amazing sights during any season while visiting beautiful Amish country. Here are 7 of my personal favorite stops where you can enjoy nature at its finest on your next visit to Shipshewana.
1. Krider World’s Fair Garden
Krider World's Fair Garden, located at 302 Bristol Ave. in Middlebury, Indiana, is only 10 miles west of Shipshewana and is home to one of Indiana’s first garden parks established in a town.
This 2.4-acre park was originally displayed at the 1933-1934 Chicago World’s Fair and helped to start up Krider Nurseries, then one of the largest mail order nursery businesses in the US.
It features 17 different garden features and is a popular location for picnics, weddings and for anyone who wants to enjoy the well-kept plants and water features or have photos taken regardless of the time of year. Parking is available or you can bike or walk to this picture-perfect setting since it sits right on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail... and you can visit this garden on Sunday.
Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park offers visitors an up close and personal experience with a variety of domestic and exotic animals on a safari style wagon ride.
A local Amish Family owns the farm, and they are happy to share and educate visitors about the unique animals that live there. Photos are encouraged on this one-of-a-kind animal encounter.
(Business is seasonal, so be sure to call ahead for hours and dates of operation.) Learn more about Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park.
There are two great local canoeing businesses that you will not want to miss if you love the water along with the nature you can see while floating down the river.
T & L Country Canoe is located right in Shipshewana and gives you a glimpse of the Fawn River and has several different trip lengths for you to select no matter what your skill level. Check out their guest log and discover how far people are coming to enjoy this fun adventure.
Trading Post is only about 20 minutes east in Mongo and there you can choose from several canoe or kayak trips on the Pigeon River.
Any nature lover will agree that the views you get while canoeing these beautiful rivers is breathtaking. Don’t forget to bring the camera along to catch some great nature shots while enjoying these two rivers. Both are also great options for Things to Do on Sunday since they are both open then.
Photo courtesy of : VisitShipshewana.org, Pumpkinvine Nature Trail Listing
The Pumpkinvine Nature Trail truly lives up to its name. While biking or walking along this 25-mile trail from Shipshewana to Elkhart, you can see all kinds of trees, plants, animals and birds.
While biking last spring, my husband had to stop and laugh as he encountered a hen turkey trying to get off the path as it had gotten in a spot where there was a bridge and it ran from one side to the other before it realized it was indeed still a free bird. Wish he had his camera, but he is an avid runner and didn’t catch that shot – maybe next time.
Pine Knob Park has a lot to see with 229 acres of trees, prairie oak savanna, and Meteer lake. The park is located just about 14 miles East of Shipshewana at 2825 E SR 120 in nearby Howe, IN.
When you first enter the park, there is a fishing dock which is easily accessible, as well as, access for boats. I enjoyed seeing the fish swim around the lily pads with the brightest yellow flowers just about to bloom. This park has special facilities for hunters that offer life-sized archery targets throughout the nicely kept walking paths. I saw so many beautiful plants and animals like toads, bullfrogs, birds, chipmunks and fish.
When on your walk in this amazing setting under the trees, don’t forget to take time to stop and look up. You will enjoy the canopy the trees provide and you might even see some other birds and animals you might otherwise miss. (Insider Tip: Don’t forget to pack some bug spray, a bottle of water and maybe some sunscreen. It will make your visit a lot more enjoyable, trust me .)
Want to take a little nature home from your visit? Stop at the Shipshewana Flea Market on a Tuesday or Wednesday to shop the vendors who offer items such as bird houses, bird feeders, bird baths and plants to lawn furniture and yard decor that you can purchase for your own backyard.
My own backyard is a sanctuary to birds common to this area including 4 types of woodpeckers, (downy, pileated, red bellied and red headed), bluebirds, blue jays, cardinals, orioles, hawks, hummingbirds, and I am sure many more that I haven’t identified yet. The flea market is a great place where you can find everything you need to create your own backyard nature preserve.
7. Backroads of Amish Country
Photo Courtesy of: VisitShipshewana.org, Blue Gate Carriage Listing
You can’t truly experience nature in Shipshewana any better than a drive or buggy ride through beautiful Amish Country.
One of my favorite afternoon memories is taking a buggy ride through the countryside with an Amish driver where I had the chance to sit back with my family, relax and just take in the picture-perfect views in my own hometown. On our way to see a less than 24-hour old dairy calf, I was able to enjoy the fields, Amish homesteads, beautiful gardens with vegetables and flowers so well kept and farm animals on about every stretch of the way.
This ride provided me a time to tour an Amish farm and make a few new friends too. Don’t miss the chance to see enjoy Amish Country for yourself on your next visit.