By Christine Schaefer

Daily Reporter Arts Editor

Believe it or not, we are heading into Labor Day weekend. Before you know it, it will be sweater weather, time for frost on the pumpkin and fall festivals. But in the waning days of summer, there is still time to squeeze in one last-minute day trip during the upcoming three-day weekend. Here are some ideas:

Andy Griffith fans find fun in Danville

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If you’re the kind of person who will go out of your way for a good meal, you can’t miss the Mayberry Cafe, 78 W. Main St., Danville, because a replica of Barney Fife’s police car sits right out front. It’s clear that a lot of love went into this clean, charming, homey place where you can order food just like Aunt Bea might have fixed for Andy and Opie on “The Andy Griffith Show.” In fact, Sunday’s special is Aunt Bea’s Fried Chicken Dinner.

Tuesday is Goober Hat Night, where wearing a goofy hat just might get you a free dinner. Friday and Saturday, you can get Sheriff Taylor’s favorite, prime rib. In addition to the food, “The Andy Griffith Show” plays on a number of TVs throughout the restaurant, which adds to the atmosphere. This is a fun little restaurant that is worth the drive. Visit for a complete menu and hours.

Fort Wayne zoo has kids at heart

Although we have a world class zoo in Indianapolis, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo’s middle name is “children.” The featured areas of the zoo are the African Adventure, the Australian Adventure and the Indonesian Rain Forest, and there is also a barnyard where visitors can interact with baby animals and feed the goats.

There are a number of rides including the ubiquitous train ride, pony rides, the endangered species carousel and the sky safari ride that offers an aerial view of the African Adventure area. Also available, though somewhat pricey, are VIP experiences: up close and personal interactions with penguins, giraffes and (ew!) jellyfish. One of the most charming aspects of the zoo (from its early days as the Franke Park Zoo and still continuing today) are the free-roaming peacocks, as exotic as ever with their eerie cries and fanned tails. The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is located at 3411 Sherman Blvd., Fort Wayne. Visit for more information.

Lincoln’s boyhood home a historic treasure

Everybody knows Illinois is the Land of Lincoln, but did you know Lincoln spent most of his boyhood in southern Indiana near what is now called Lincoln City? The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Living Historical Farm, just 20 miles south of Jasper, features a re-creation of the Lincolns’ 1820s homestead and a living history farm with farm animals, vegetable and herb gardens, crops, split-rail fences and outbuildings.

Visitors can start with the 15-minute site orientation and then walk the paths and trails Lincoln walked as a boy. The home site is where Lincoln’s mother grew ill from milk sickness, died and was buried, and where Lincoln lived until he was 21 years old. Visit for more information.

Red Skelton left legacy of laughter

A tour through the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy, 20 Red Skelton Blvd., Vincennes, should most likely begin with an introduction (or a refresher) of Hoosier comedian Red Skelton’s life in entertainment.

Recordings and film of Skelton’s more memorable characters, including Freddy the Freeloader and Clem Kadiddlehopper, are as funny now as they were during the 30s when he got his start. This interactive museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of laughter of a man who entertained millions both on the radio and for 20 years of “The Red Skelton Show” on television. Visit for hours and admission information.

For more ideas for Indiana travel and day trips, go online to

Christine Schaefer is arts editor of the Daily Reporter. She can be reached at

About this series

This is the fifth in an occasional series about travel destinations across Indiana.

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Christine Schaefer is arts editor and editorial assistant at the Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3222 or