Accessibility Stories

Joyce & Sharon’s Top 5

BY JOYCE AND SHARON POWELL

We were asked to recommend five experiences in Indy that we ourselves enjoy. Selecting just five is somewhat difficult because there is so much to do in our city. We’re pretty much regular folks, who first and foremost like to be with each other, as well as with other family members and friends. While Sharon has a developmental disability, it does not stop us at all from exploring lots of cool places in our great city. The choices we’ve suggested are easy to do, affordable, and fun. One tip we have for visitors that works so well for us: build an itinerary that plans out your activities, routes, and times to get from place to place. Indy is very easy to get around and having your plan set in advance helps create maximum time for fun.

Number 1: Bowling!

Bowling allows you to have fun with friends and/or family, with easygoing competition. Sharon fully participates in bowling with only a little assistance from me on fitting balls to her hand. We like that Indy’s bowling alleys have appropriately sized bowling balls and even kid sizes. They have cafés if you get hungry serving up pizza, burgers and chicken tenders, and drinks. Some offer other activities in addition to bowling from mini-golf and arcade games to laser tag. You may want to check out Royal Pin Entertainment and one of its four Indy locations – Expo, Southern, Western, and Woodland Bowl. They do a great job.

Number 2: Indy Museums

Every Thursday, Sharon participates in a group outing through the company I work for, LEL Home Services. Museums are often the featured activity of the weekly excursion. The group discovered The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (it’s the world’s largest!) as a vast wonderland where everyone can engage in activities, ride a historic carousel, and be entertained in the Lilly Theatre. It’s not just for the kids, adults will have fun walking through the different exhibits and educational rooms. The Eiteljorg Museum houses a large collection of American Indian and Western art. You will understand more about the history and culture of Native Americans through paintings and sculptures. For Sharon and me, there is also a gift shop with lots of jewelry, which we just love!

Number 3: The Indiana State Fair

The Indiana State Fair is a must go to if you are visiting Indy in early to mid-August. We love it so much, we visit at least twice each year. Of special interest to both of us – the animals. Going to see the horses, cattle, chickens, goats is just good fun for city gals. And, the food! Sharon loves the variety and will try just about anything. My favorite is a classic – Elephant Ears. Then, of course, there are the displays, exhibits, concerts, competitions, and shows that make every day different. Watch for special days, such as $2 Tuesdays, where a few dollars really stretch: $2 for admission, $2 midway rides, and $2 for selected food items.

Number 4: Water Parks

Water parks are located around the city and suburbs, and some even allow you to bring your own picnic foods in. We enjoy going to the water parks, especially when it’s hot outside. In fact, many of the city-owned parks have pools and spray grounds (Sharon’s favorite spot.) They have lifeguards on site and are reasonably priced. If you are visiting the south side of Indy, check out Freedom Springs Aquatic Park in Greenwood, or if you are on the north side, Carmel’s Monon Center is amazing.

Number 5: Hmmm, Food!

Sharon and I love to eat out, when funds are available and if I’m not cooking at home. Some of our favorite places are The Cheesecake Factory, Applebee’s, and Culvers. They are customer service oriented to people of all abilities, their perfectly kid-friendly, and their food tastes great. The Cheesecake Factory may be a little pricey, but sometimes you just want to spurge. Especially for the cheesecake! Wherever your taste buds take you, from favorites like these to local chefs serving up their own surprises, your tummies will be satisfied.

Thanks so much for visiting our hometown. We hope you enjoy every moment and come back often.


ABOUT JOYCE AND SHARON

We are sisters who have lived in Indianapolis for more than 60 years. Raised in foster care, Sharon and I eventually reconnected with our siblings, and now we two live together. Sharon is diagnosed with MMR (mild mental retardation) and needs learning and life skills assistance. She is retired from Pizza Hut where she was a hard worker, liked by all, and loved servicing and busing tables. I am a 30-year veteran of the banking industry, but today, after receiving my Culinary Arts Certificate from the Art Institute, I am proud owner of my own company, Joyce’s Catering. I am also employed by LEL Home Services, which gives me the opportunity to work directly with Sharon and provide her at-home assistance and caregiver support.

Fun facts about us:

  1. No matter how many times we watch “I Love Lucy,” we laugh out loud.
  2. Smiles are also abundant when cheesecake or banana pudding are served for dessert.
  3. While we love Indy, we head to Chicago, Disney World, or Mississippi for vacations.

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We were asked to recommend five experiences in Indy that we ourselves enjoy. Selecting just five is somewhat difficult because there is so much to do in our city.

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