I know, I know, not Ohio, but the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is awesome – plain and simple. From the incredible hands-on exhibits to the amount of play that can be done in one visit, this is truly worthy of a day trip or part of a weekend get-away. My husband had a conference in Indianapolis, and the kids and I drove out to meet him specifically to visit this museum. I was beyond impressed. Mainly, because I felt as if they truly cared about their patrons. The attention to detail, the cleanliness, the friendly staff, and their desire to create a fun educational experience for the whole family left me wanting to spend time there again and again. The drive to Indy was about three hours and a breeze, the museum had a covered garage offering free parking, there was cafeteria with great food options, and my children played for hours and hours and we still did not see everything.
One of our favorites was the dinosaur exhibit, which kind of started the minute we drove up to the building. We knew there were dinos coming out of the building, but had no idea they were life-sized and life-like! Inside, the Dinosphere exhibit was terrific, too – live-sized dinos, a fossil dig, pretend play, and many other hands-on and educational activities for kids. Admission into the museum was $16.50 for adults and $11.50 for children, and be sure to check their admissions page for discounts and specials. The museum participates in Project SafePlace, which means kids can find any staff member and get the assistance they need, and the food staff is ready with nutritional information for children with special food needs. Check out their Visit Tips page for information on lockers, coat check, nursing stations, etc.: Visit Tips page.
The museum is spacious and very easy to navigate through with a stroller or wheelchair, and there are a plethora of various fascinating fun exhibits. Besides Dinosphere, we spent most of our time in Playscape playing with trains, the water table, and planting wooden vegetables in the garden in the pretend play area. If your child loves trains, they will be enamored by All Aboard!. Kids can explore the Reuben Wells, a 35-foot-long, 55-ton steam engine built to conquer Indiana’s Madison Hill, the steepest railroad grade in the United States. The museum also has live theater performances and a planetarium show. Theater tickets are free with a museum admission, are on a first come first serve basis, and can can be reserved 48 hours in advance.
If your kids travel well and have a desire to branch out a little this summer, take a day trip. It is definitely worth your time. I would suggest a weekday rather than a weekend – the place is huge, but it is nicer to spend time exploring when crowds aren’t crazy.
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
3000 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208
If you want to plan a trip, the website is packed with just about all of the information you need to know – including area accommodations. Advice: Indianapolis hosts some big conferences and sporting events; plan around them because it can be difficult to get a room if you plan to stay over night. Check out Visit Indy for other area attractions if planning more than a day trip.