Family Day Out over the Big 4 Bridge


Family Fun Day on the Ohio and a walk over the Big 4 Bridge

big 4 bridge

Since the opening of the Big 4 Bridge several years ago, Jeffersonville has really evolved. What is there to do with kids?

My family and I decided to spend the day at the Big 4 Bridge together down by the Ohio River. We parked at the Waterfront playground and splashpad area early enough in the morning so there were still parking spots, and headed over the Big 4 Bridge to Jeffersonville. Be sure to bring some water with you, the kids will get thirsty from so much walking!

Big 4 Bridge

The walk over the Big 4 Bridge is always enjoyable with good views of the boats, wildlife, and construction. At the base of the bridge on the Jeffersonville side, there is a big covered picnic area and a nice playground. They have also created significant field space if you want to fly a kite or throw a frisbee.

There is also a stepped water feature (not always full of water) which my kids enjoyed sitting around and dangling their feet in. There are signs that say no swimming, and I didn’t let my kids walk through it, but I felt it was permitted to sit on the low walls and cool our feet.

Next, we headed to my highlight of the day, Schimpff’s Confectionery. We enjoyed looking around and got some fountain drinks and ice cream before the 11am “tour.” Jill and Warren Schimpff (great grandson of founder 1891) did a great job with an entertaining and educational presentation.

Big 4 Bridge

We learned about the shop, antique stove, candy table, the largest display of publicly viewed candy rollers (no longer used by most), how to make candy, and more while Jill and Warren made a batch of red hots candy. (Did you know they pump the candy and chocolate smells out to sidewalk out front?!) It was fascinating to learn about, and Jill and Warren were very funny. At the end, we all got a piece of fresh red hot to enjoy.

There’s a great restaurant, Union Restaurant & Gameyard that’s really perfect for families. They have really great food – salads, sandwiches, giant pretzels, burgers and more – and a large outdoor spot with games to play together. It’s perfect for outdoor dining and so close to the Big 4 Bridge. My guess is it is very busy on nights and weekends when the weather is lovely, so if you can squeeze in a weekday lunch, you will have that place more to yourself. 


You can also walk up Pearl Street and enjoy coffee and games at Pearl Street Game & Coffee House. Take a drink to go or a quick snack or play a game or two. You can play some checkers on the front porch! We loved the blended lattes. 

If you keep walking up Pearl Street, you will see a large tank painted like a mural. Head that way! There is a neat art area with beautiful murals, great for photo opps. And, there’s a short story trail and a mural with questions like ‘how many eyes do you see in the mural?’ It’s walkable distance from the base of the Big 4 Bridge. You (or your child) can author a story. Read more about it here and maybe your story will be on the trail. Click here to find a map showing where this is located in Jeffersonville. It’s on Michigan Ave between 6th and 7th streets. 
Around the corner from the art area, there is the Vintage Fire Museum. It is just $2 for kiddos and $6 for adults – and you get a great informative tour from a volunteer. You will get to sit in one of the vintage fire trucks and turn the siren mechanism and ring the fire bell. Really cool place! Note, they moved across the street from the building they have been in for years. March – December it is normally opened 10am-4pm. 

We headed back toward the bridge stopping at Pearl Street Treats (closed in winter months) for a quick snack (hot dogs and frozen yogurt). You can get hand-dipped ice cream or Froyo. They do have plenty of space to hang out in the back to eat or right next to the shop at the base of the Big 4 Bridge. 

We had a great day! We all enjoyed the family time, exercise, and fun without electronics.
More ideas for outdoor fun here
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