The holiday season is a great time for friends and family to gather. After awhile, though -- especially if you have guests in from out of town -- everyone starts looking for something to do.

Fortunately, Hendricks County, Indiana, offers a great variety of places to visit to get everyone out of the house while still enjoying the holiday season together.

The new Penguin Park in Avon is open from Nov. 30 through Feb. 14. (Photo courtesy of Washington Township Parks & Recreation Department Facebook page)Penguin Park

A brand new attraction in Hendricks County is Penguin Park located within Washington Township Park in Avon. Its Grand Opening is Nov. 30 from 4 to 8 p.m., and then it will remain open through Valentine's Day.

This outdoor ice-less skating rink provides a fun ice skating experience for the whole group, regardless of the weather. In addition to skating, Penguin Park will feature Market Saturdays in December from 4 to 8 p.m., festive food and drinks, a Santa's Village, family programs, craft vendors and more.

(Insider tip: Got a loved one with a winter birthday? How about a birthday party at Penguin Park inside a heated igloo that's available to rent!)

For more information about this new attraction in Hendricks County, click here.

Do Some Shopping

Need to finish up some holiday shopping? Looking for those items that Santa Claus didn't bring you? Do you simply enjoy shopping? We have a bunch of great places to do some holiday shopping in Hendricks County!

The Shops at Perry Crossing in Plainfield is a shopper's paradise. Multiple stores, restaurants, and a large multi-screen theater make this outdoor shopping mall a very popular location all year round, but especially during the holidays.

For your complete Hendricks County Holiday Shopping Guide, click here.. And for unique gift ideas for anyone on your holiday shopping list, click here.

Make your own tie dye creation at The Tie Dye Lab in AvonDIY Arts & Crafts

Hendricks County boasts several do-it-yourself studios that offer a variety of special workshops throughout the holiday season, as well as their normal business hours for painting, pottery, wood decor, glasswork and much more.

For a great list of DIY studios in Hendricks County, click here.

Enjoy a Park

When you reach the bottom of this post and see my bio, you'll see that I'm a parks guy -- so I'll admit to being terribly biased with this suggestion. But we really have a lot of nice parks in Hendricks County that allow for a variety of enjoyable outdoor experiences, whether you and your group enjoy hiking, running, walking, biking, bird watching, wildlife or just letting the kids loose somewhere that they can burn off some energy.

Start by clicking here to go to the Hendricks County Parks & Recreation website. This is where I work, but I'm sending you there because if you scroll down our main page, you'll find a really cool interactive map of every single park in Hendricks County, whether we operate it or not.

Pick one that's close to you and enjoy. There is not a single park in Hendricks County that charges an entry fee, and they're all open daily from dawn to dusk.

Want some real quick suggestions?

Hot Skates Roller Skating Center, AvonHot Skates

Another fun place that my kids enjoy throughout the winter and year-round is Hot Skates in Avon. Strap on some roller skates and burn off some energy!

They also have a bunch of video games, food and beverages available for purchase, and cool little contraptions available to rent for the little ones who need some help with balance on wheels.

To learn more about Hot Skates, click here.

Xtreme Lazer Tag

Lazer tag is a blast! Run around and blast each other at Xtreme Lazer Tag in Avon in their 4,000-square-foot, multi-level facility that also has a bunch of video games and concessions available for purchase.

For more information about Xtreme Lazer Tag, click here.

Winterland Holiday Light Show

You'll definitely want to pack the car full of your guests and head to Ellis Park in Danville for the Winterland Holiday Light Show. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of lights adorn displays throughout the park, and once you pay the nominal admission fee, you can drive as many laps around the park as you'd like. The lights are synchronized to Christmas music that you can tune in on your vehicle's radio, 

Winterland is open every day, except for Christmas Day, from Nov. 29 through Dec. 30. It opens at 6 p.m. every day, closing at 9 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays, and at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Additionally, Santa Claus is in the Train Station at Ellis Park on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays!

Admission to Winterland is just $10 per vehicle on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It's even cheaper -- just $5 per vehicle -- on Mondays through Thursdays. For more information, click here.

Enjoy the Symphony

Did you know that we have a symphony here in Hendricks County? The Hendricks Symphony has a couple of busy months in December and January, providing multiple opportunities to put some sound into your soul:

  • Hendricks Symphony Presents HSO Brass Quintet - Sunday, Dec. 1 at 3 p.m.; FREE to attend!
  • Hendricks Symphony Presents 'Sounds of the Season' - Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Hendricks Symphony Presents 'Sounds of the Season' - Sunday, Dec. 15 at 3 p.m.
  • Hendricks Symphony Presents 'Chamber Music XIII' - Sunday, Jan. 26 at 3 p.m.; FREE to attend!

The two free concerts are being held at Bartlett Chapel United Methodist Church in Avon.

The two "Sounds of the Season" concerts are being held at Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg. For more information about these concerts, including how to purchase tickets, click here.

We love seeing movies at the Royal Theater!See a Movie

There are movie theaters in Plainfield, Avon and Brownsburg, but my personal favorite is the Royal Theater, located on the historic Hendricks County Courthouse Square in Danville.

I like the Royal Theater for a number of reasons. It first opened in the 1920s, so there is a lot of history in the building. The ticket prices for first-run movies cost less than typical movie theaters, and they frequently show classic movies for dirt-cheap ticket prices -- or even for free.

Their concessions are also quite reasonable -- a kids' pack that includes refillable popcorn, a bag of candy, and a drink is just $5. You can actually take the whole family to the movies without applying for a second mortgage on your home before you go.

And during the month of December, the Royal Theater -- along with all of the other great shops and restaurants around the Courthouse Square -- is enveloped by the Town of Danville's beautiful canopy of holiday lights.

For more information, click here.

Pick an Event -- Any Event

There are a ton of events taking place in Hendricks County throughout the holiday season. To find something that will interest you and your guests, simply click here to access our Events Calendar.

Enjoy Your Family and Friends in Hendricks County

This list will get you started, but be sure to check out the entire Visit Hendricks County website for even more great ideas of things to do with family and friends over the holiday season.