When the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits open in Indianapolis, IN, on April 26, tens of thousands of members, gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment will be treated to 15 acres of guns and gear, seminars, appearances by celebrities and much more. Until the show closes the evening of April 28, there’s no doubt it will remain the primary attraction for firearm enthusiasts, but there’s a lot more to do and see while you’re there.
The Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District, located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, contains a 30,000-square-foot museum complete with military equipment and artifacts. The plaza includes 25 acres of monuments, statues and sculptures, plus three parks and four fountains. The only place in the nation where you will find more monuments and statues dedicated to who served this nation in uniform is Washington, DC. The American Legion—the world’s largest veteran’s organization—has its headquarters in the city. It’s a fitting location for the NRA Annual Meetings.
Sights Indianapolis Motor Speedway is America’s mecca for racing enthusiasts and next month more than 300,000 high-speed fans will be on hand to watch the Indianapolis 500. If extending your visit for nearly three weeks is out of the question, you can still pay a visit by taking a tour bus around the 2.5-mile circuit, continue the winning tradition of kissing original “Brickyard” bricks or even assume the role of “poser” in winner’s circle.
Fast cars may get the headlines, but the city is also home to the largest children’s museum on the planet. Its interactive exhibits include a variety dedicated to history, science, art and culture. There are five levels to the “playground” for kids of all ages and it includes a Dinosphere, planetarium and antique carousel that can still be ridden. More than a million visit the facility each year,
Food Bluebeard is one of the best eateries in Indianapolis, and it’s named after a novel by one of the city’s own, Kurt Vonnegut. The atmosphere in the renovated, nearly 100-year-old factory, resembles that of an old library, complete with books and old-school typewriter. The fare is unmistakably contemporary, though, and the menu is American cuisine featuring locally grown meat and produce. When you’re ready to wind down an after-meal adult beverage, consider Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery. It’s named for the militarily phonetic first letters in the owning couple’s first names and, according to Visit Indy, is the nation’s first service-disabled, veteran-owned distillery in the nation. It’s located in the Fletcher Place neighborhood of downtown and offers craft cocktails with the company’s spirits, a tasting room, patio and fireplace if there’s an unexpected spring chill.
Ranges Indy Arms Company features 12 climate-controlled, state-of-the-art indoor firing lanes—split equally for handgun and rifle. Membership is not required to send a few downrange, and firearm rentals are available. Best of all, if you spot something at the annual meetings they have in inventory, you can take it for a test drive. If you decide to buy, the rental fee is credited toward the purchase. The retail store features guns, accessories, gunsmithing services and training sessions throughout the year.