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Free admission to state parks on May 9 highlights Visit Indiana Week

Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and Visit Indiana are kicking off the summer travel season with Visit Indiana Week May 2-10. In celebration of Visit Indiana Week, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is once again teaming up with Visit Indiana to offer a day of free admission to all state parks. This year’s free admission date is Saturday, May 9.

“From our beautiful state parks and historic sites to our festivals, museums and sporting venues, Indiana has terrific options for fun family roadtrips,” said Lt. Governor Ellspermann. “This entire week is an excellent time to explore all corners of Indiana and with no admission fees on Saturday, May 9, Hoosier families can enjoy a great day outdoors at one of our beautiful DNR properties free of charge.”

On Wednesday, May 7, Lt. Governor Ellspermann will deliver the keynote address at the Porter and LaPorte Counties ROSE Awards Ceremony in Valparaiso.  Additionally, each morning during Visit Indiana Week, Mark Newman, Visit Indiana’s executive director, will appear on Fox 59 to promote a unique summer roadtrip idea. During these segments, Visit Indiana and Fox 59 are giving away prizes related to the day’s roadtrip theme. Viewers can tune in to Fox 59 at around 9:00 each morning for a chance to win prizes from the Blue Gate Restaurant and Theater in Shipshewana, RiverRoots Folk Arts & Music Festival in Madison, Joseph Decuis Restaurant in Roanoke, The Pete Dye Golf Trail and Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus.

“Visit Indiana Week is an opportunity to not only tout the beauty and allure of our state, but also to showcase Indiana’s well-earned reputation for Hoosier Hospitality,” said Newman. “The welcoming and hospitable nature of our people is one of Indiana’s greatest assets.”

A highlight for Indiana this summer is the all-new Thunderbird at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari. Thunderbird is the nation’s first launched wing coaster. The 14-story steel roller coaster joins Holiday World’s trio of highly ranked wooden coasters. Thunderbird opened last week to rave reviews and remains the focus of roller coaster enthusiasts worldwide. Thunderbird launches riders from 0-60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. The ride first soars and loops high in the air and then hugs the ground surprising riders with rapid-fire “near misses” such as keyholes, themed elements, other rides, trees and even the ground.

Travelers looking for Honest-to-Goodness Indiana destinations throughout the state will find over 250 trip ideas at Indiana’s official tourism website, In addition to the online tools available, free copies of the 2015 Indiana Travel Guide and other travel publications can be ordered at or by calling 800.677.9800.

Tourism is big business in Indiana. An economic impact report released earlier this year, shows the travel, tourism and hospitality industry is the sixth largest industry in the state, is directly responsible for over 140,500 jobs and contributes $10 billion in revenue to Indiana businesses. Tourism saves every Hoosier household $478 in state and local taxes.


Media Contact: 

Jake Oakman
Indiana Office of Tourism Development
317.232.8897- office