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Culture & Science

The South Shore is home to one of the most diverse ethnic populations in the United States, welcoming people from around the world who immigrated to the South Shore during the early part of the 20th century. This regional melting pot is home to more than 40 nationalities and dozens of religions. The region's churches, mosques and temples hold regular services in Spanish, Croatian, Hungarian, Polish, Greek, Russian, Serbian and countless other languages. Eastern Europeans have long stamped their mark on the Calumet Region like no other group.

The waves of immigrants from the Eastern Block thrive in quiet neighborhoods and honor their heritage with summer festivals and celebrations steeped in tradition and history. One such festival is Whiting's annual Pierogi Fest®. The event, which is debatable as the wackiest event of its kind, is kicked off with a parade on Whiting's downtown corridor historic 119th Street. The parade includes the festival mascot Mr. Pierogi and the hilarious Babushka Brigade, a precision drill team of cleaning women. This once small festival held each summer on the last weekend of July has grown to garner national attention and has been featured on The Food Network and The Travel Channel.

The universe is at your fingertips at Northwest Indiana's educational space and science center. Challenger Learning Center focuses on teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills through hands-on, interactive activities that will fully immerse people of all ages in space! With space simulation programs, a planetarium and missions, Challenger Learning Center aims to make learning STEM skills fun and exciting.

Spanning miles from the Miller Beach area of the South Shore east to the Michigan border are the rolling sand-scapes one of Indiana's most visited attractions, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The National Lakeshore and State Park welcome nearly 4 million people each year and provide nearly 30 miles of sandy dunes and beaches. The dunes serve as protector for a unique bio-diverse plant and animal population inhabiting shorelines and inter-dune ecologies. Professor Henry Chandler Cowles of the University of Chicago used the region as his outdoor laboratory and research model in his development of his now proven theories on the subject of Ecology.

What was once a beacon to guide sailors along Lake Michigan, the Old Lighthouse now remains as one of the oldest lighthouses in Indiana. Transformed into a museum, visitors can learn the history of the lighthouse, its keepers as well as other exhibits. The museum is open from 1pm to 4pm Tuesdays through Sundays from April through October. Tours can be self-guided, led by audio or docent-led.

A little known scientific research project that took place on these same dunes was Octave Chanute's Glider Experiments, which took place just outside of present day Gary, IN at Marquette Park. The Chanute Glider is credited with being a key element to the Wright brother's successful quest for propelled flight and one of only a few exact replicas of the glider can be found at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.


South Shore CVA Blog

Spotlight South Shore




Uniquely South Shore
Northwest Indiana’s very own candy factory boasts the world’s best gummies! Tour the factory and experience your favorites being made, see the world’s tallest chocolate waterfall and sample some of the best candies around!…more
What began as a local newspaper’s effort to tell the compelling stories of Northwest Indiana men and women who sacrificed during the Civil War has evolved into a large-scale historical preservation effort. The joint partnership of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority and the Calumet Region Civil War Preservation Project seeks to carry forward on hundreds of hours of community service that already have taken place. …more
Conveniently located between Chicago and Indianapolis, Fair Oaks Farms offers a fun family playground that everyone will enjoy! From the Dairy Adventure and Birthday Barn, to the Cheese Factory and Mooville, Fair Oaks Farms will keep the family entertained, and well-fed, for a full day of education and fun!…more
Experience the journey of the Passion of Christ as never before in this interactive trail featuring 40 life-sized bronze statues. Experience the various Stations of the Cross with audio descriptions as you walk the winding pathway.…more
With five different casinos, Northwest Indiana offers much excitement and action along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan! With decadent restaurants, world class entertainment and floors (and floors) of slots and table games, your night is just getting started when you test your luck at one of our casinos.…more
A breathtaking adventure awaits at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, home to a plethora of diverse natural resources. The National Park is comprised of more than 15,000 acres of sand dunes, bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, prairies, rivers, oak savannas, and woodland forests. It provides visitors with opportunities for bird watching, camping, 45 miles of hiking, fishing, swimming, horseback riding and cross-country skiing.…more
Pierogi Fest, the pride of Whiting, is an opportunity for the residents to celebrate their heritage while poking a little fun at themselves at the same time. The one of a kind parade and festival have received countrywide recognition having been featured on the Food Network and the Travel Channel.…more
This holiday season, The Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond will feature 6 animated displays featuring scenes from "A Christmas Story". The displays include: Higbee’s Department Store Window, Flick’s Tongue and the Triple Dog Dare, It’s a Major Award, Santa’s Mountain at Higbee’s, the Bumpus Hounds, and the Parker Living Room. The displays were first showcased in 2003 in the windows of the Herald Square Macy’s in New York City. …more
Heavy industry carried the South Shore economy for decades. Now, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority tells a story about a community: it’s been built by steel but changing from tourism. Northwest Indiana’s appeal is its devotion to ensure new & already existing businesses succeed. Area leaders have teamed together to revitalize the mill towns and make Northwest Indiana the place people want to live & work. …more
When a guest visits a hotel, restaurant, bank, or gas station, they rarely meet the manager or owner of the establishment. It's up to the front-line employee to make the customer's visit enjoyable.The R.O.S.E. Awards were created to recognize these "directors of first impression" who consistently work hard to make our lives easier. Guests & managers are able to nominate an employee who consistently "goes the extra mile."…more
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