What Is Indianapolis Famous For
Indianapolis is best known for hosting the largest single-day sporting event in the world, the Indy 500. The 500-mile automobile race has turned into quite the spectacle, with speeds topping 220 miles per hour. People travel from all over the world to experience the tradition, which kicked off back in 1911.
The Skywalk To The Childrens Museum
After you park, head to the skywalkaccess to the skywalk is on the second floor of the garage. There is a ramp from the top to the bottom of the garage along with a couple elevators to get you there. Take the ramp if you can. You will want an up-close look at the statueits a massive 26-foot tall statue of the ancient Egyptian god Anubis. It can be a bit intimidating for little ones but its really cool.
Enter the skywalk and check out the traffic below. To the north you can scope out all the awesome outdoor sport options at the Riley Childrens Health Sports Legends Experience. To the south, grab a closer view of those sneaky dinos entering the lobby windows.
There is a street-level crosswalk but for safety concernsand for the really cool viewwe recommend entering the museum from the skywalk. If the parking garage is full, or if you prefer, there is a surface lot just to the north of the garage entrance and exit, also on Illinois Street. If both the garage and Water Clock surface lot are full, attendants will guide you to the overflow parking lot. There will likely be an attendant to help you cross the busy street if the surface lot is being used for overflow parking.
Riley Childrens Health Sports Legends Experience
Editors note: This section was written by Deb Steenhagen
When my kids were small, we chose to put them in soccer. Mainly because I had played soccer myself, and knew how the game worked. As they grew older, my oldest tried softball, and my middle daughter played middle and high school tennis. But by that age, she was competing against kids who had played the sport for years.
What we really needed was the outdoor sports experience available at the Indianapolis Childrens Museum.
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Reimagined Dinosphere At The Childrens Museum Of Indianapolis
The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis is famous for its dinosaurs. In fact, the first thing you see as you drive up to the museum are the dinos crashing out of the building while others are breaking in.
The Dinosphere has been refreshed and expanded to include the Giants of the Jurassic, Creatures of the Cretaceous and Monsters of the Mesozoic Seas. From the small bird-like Bambiraptor to the fearsome Gorgosaur and, of course, the world-famous Tyrannosaurus rex, each section features impressive dino skeletons with cool plaques showing which of the bones are real fossils and which are cast reproductions.
The space is dotted with interactive opportunities I was particularly taken with the Fred Flintstone-style information kiosks where families can learn more about these majestic creatures. Or you can ask one of the docents who revel in sharing all they know about the dinosaurs who once walked the Earth. At the media preview, the docents were at least as excited to have the dinos back as the kids were!
Keep wandering and youll find a kid favorite: a video showing how dinosaurs digested plants that ends where you would expect, with a big brown poop.
The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site
Explore the former residence of President Benjamin Harrison. The national historic landmark, built in 1874, was where Harrison lived until his death in 1901 .
Harrison’s family continued to live at the residence in the years that followed until they eventually decided to use the home as a rental property. Fast forward to 1966, and a foundation was established to run the home as a historic site, opening it up to the public.
The house itself is full of art collections once owned by the Harrison family, along with made-to-order pieces of furniture, 20th-century garments, and more.
Today, individuals can embark on guided tours of the property, learning more about the country’s only elected president from Indiana. Visitors will enjoy rotating exhibits of anything from historic fashion to presidential pets in addition to a variety of events hosted on the property. There’s even a theater group that regularly uses the home as a performance stage!
Address: 6000 N Post Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46216, United States
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Where To Stay In Indianapolis
The only thing we had to see in town was The Children’s Museum so I started by plotting it’s location on our map. Knowing that this was the last stop on our Epic Road Trip and that it was coming at the tail end of three weeks of TOGETHERNESS, I was eager to find a hotel that would provide a little extra space and privacy in our room. I spotted the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Indianapolis Downtown near to the museum and immediately knew I found the winning location.
Have you tried an Embassy Suites hotel before? Just as the name implies, each room offers a bedroom suite with a DOOR that separates you from the living room equipped with a pull out couch. One of my very favorite memories from our trip was the evening we tucked the kids into that pull out couch, shut the door, and Tim and I stayed up late into the evening drinking wine, eating restaurant take-out, and watching the Olympics together on the television. When you’ve been together as a family as much as we were, that little taste of adult-only privacy is pure heaven.
Though the hotel room was one of the more comfortable we stayed in that month, what we really loved was the location! After weeks of sunshine, our visit to Indianapolis was filled with heavy rainstorms. The lighting and rain completely squashed my vision of strolling downtown in the evening. We were so thankful that the beautiful hotel lobby links up to an inside walk way connecting to several dining options.
The Childrens Museum Is Fun For The Whole Family
What sets the Childrens Museum of Indianapolis apart from so many other places is that its truly designed to bring your family together. While kids are given the freedom to explore and discover the world in a way thats made uniquely for them, you are there learning, growing, and making memories right alongside them. With a wide variety of different interactive and sensory activities throughout the museum, you and your kids will never get bored.
How can I plan my visit to the Childrens Museum of Indianapolis?
The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis is located on the northside of downtown Indy. Visitors can use public transport or take advantage of the plentiful on-site parking. Youll know you made it when you see the dinosaurs bursting out of the building!
You can plan ahead and book your tickets online or over the phone, saving your family money by ordering before you visit. But visitors are always welcome to purchase admission on the day of your visit. General Admission includes access to the museum as well as the Riley Childrens Health Sports Legends Experience when its in season.
Remember that admission is free for children under 2-years-old, and keep an eye out for special free and discounted admission days throughout the year!
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Things To Do At The Sports Legend Experience
This family-friendly sportsplex highlights 12 different sports. This gives kids of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to try out any or all of them at their own pace and comfort level.
Have a little one who loves football? The football experience offers a miniature grid iron with goalposts of varying sizes so even younger kids can feel the thrill of kicking a field goal.
Each sports area works that way, from basketball hoops of all different heights to a pedal car racetrack. Explore football, soccer, baseball, drag racing, fitness, basketball, golf, track racing, tennis, hockey and more.
A short fitness track winds through the outdoor area and provides several fitness stations where kids can stretch and exercise different muscle groups.
There is also a Tree of Sports that kids can climb up and slide down.
The crown jewel is the Pete and Alice Dye Golf Experience, a unique, 9-hole putting golf course you play with special putters. The golf legends designed the course to replicate some of the most famous holes in the world, including water hazards and varying turf heights.
The Museum Hosts Historic Exhibits And Artifacts
Founded in 1925, the Childrens Museum of Indianapolis is consistently ranked as one of the top childrens museums in the United States. With a 482,950 square-foot facility on about 30 acres of land, its the largest childrens museum in the world and draws over a million visitors each year.
Over the years, the museum has hosted a diverse variety of exhibits to engage every child who comes to visit. In addition to its more permanent galleries, the museum curates temporary features and welcomes international traveling exhibits.
In 2009, the Childrens Museum hosted the traveling exhibit Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs, which featured more than 100 artifacts from tombs of Egyptian pharaohs. Then in 2014, they welcomed Terra Cotta Warriors: The Emperors Painted Army, the only U.S. appearance of Chinas life-size warriors.
And the centerpiece of the museum is a permanent glass sculpture, one of the largest of its kind. Artist Dale Chihulys Fireworks of Glass sculpture is a 43-foot tower of blown glass, featuring over 3,200 unique pieces. So, you can learn about glassblowing while admiring the installation from below, looking up at a brilliant glass ceiling.
Photo courtesy of Visit Indy
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Whats On Level Two Of The Childrens Museum
The second level is home to the rotating exhibits. With the Dinosphere temporarily closed, the museum has invited a few prehistoric friends to hang out for a bit. Patrons can get their dinosaur fix by checking out Bucky the teenage t-rex and Dracorex hogwartsia.
Also, on the second floor youll find seasonal exhibits. In years past you could find themes like DC Superheroes, a circus big top, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pirates & Princesses, a Weather themed exhibit and more. There is usually an exhibit for the toddler-preschool set like Dora the Explorer, author and artist Mo Williams, and Paw Patrol. In the fall and winter these rotating exhibits leave to make way for the Haunted House and Jolly Days, and then new exhibits are installed after the New Year.
White River State Park
White River State Park spans over 250 acres of green space, trails, trees, and waterways. It also contains some world-class attractions and destinations, including an IMAX theater, music venue, and state museum.
It’s even home to Victory Field, the official venue for the Indianapolis Indians baseball team.
While the state park is easy to navigate on foot, it’s also intersected by the Central Canal, opening tons of opportunities for on-water sightseeing. Visitors can enjoy picturesque skyline views from a pedal boat, kayak, or gondolier.
Address: 801 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, United States
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Lilly House And Gardens
Located on the Newfields campus, the Lilly House and Gardens span over 26 acres. The 20th-century country estate was originally founded by the prominent Landon family back in 1907 and bought by the Lilly family in 1932. The French-inspired home also contains greenhouses and other support buildings.
The majority of furnishings and decorative arts objects found in the home belonged to the Lilly family and were regularly used during their time at the residence. Today, the building is often used to host a variety of events and public programs.
Visitors can enjoy an impressive view of the landscape and gardens from the upper level. The grounds were originally designed by the reputable landscape architectural firm Olmsted Brothers.
The lower level contains a garage, which features an early 20th century-era car on loan from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
Address: 4000 N Michigan Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46208, United States
Indiana War Memorial Plaza
The Indiana War Memorial Plaza operates as an urban feature originally built to honor the veterans of WWI. The area spans five city blocks, with Meridian Street on its west, the primary north-south route running through the center of the city.
The area also contains the Indiana War Memorial Museum. The building itself was inspired by Greek architecture of the fifth century, complete with a pyramidal dome and Ionic columns.
Inside, you’ll find three main floors. The upper level contains the famous Shrine Room, which was made using materials from all over the world as a way to symbolize peace and unity. Standing 110 feet tall and spanning 60 feet square, the room also contains 24 blood-red pillars made of Vermont marble that support the vast ceiling. In the center, you’ll find the Star of Destiny, which is made entirely of Swedish crystal.
The main floor contains exhibit space, administrative offices, two meeting rooms, and the Pershing Auditorium.
Visitors will also find a free military museum dedicated to Indiana’s veterans. Items on display include the USS Indianapolis Gallery, numerous military firearms and uniforms, an AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter, and hundreds of other artifacts, photos, and documents.
Address: 55 Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, United States
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The Childrens Museum Of Indianapolis Is The Worlds Largest Childrens Museum
Curt has over 20 years of experience working and living in the Indianapolis region. Curt attended Butler University for both his undergrad and his Masters education, earning his MBA in Marketing. Hes still an avid Butler basketball fan and enjoys attending as many games as he can. In his free time, Curt enjoys running, listening to music performances and concerts, and spending time with his family.
Accessibility At The Childrens Museum
Restrooms can be found throughout the museum. They are complete with changing tables and many are family style. Water bottle fill stations are nearby.
Throughout the museum you will find special, interactive shows scheduled throughout the day. For example in Take Me There: Greece, visitors can learn traditional Greek dances. Refer to the handy schedule you were given upon your entrance and plan your museum route accordingly as there is limited room and it is first come first served. Daily schedules are also posted within each exhibit.
All levels of the museum are available by ramps or elevators. Most of the exhibits are accessible to everyone. Care providers are offered a complimentary ticket to assist their paying guest. Service dogs are allowed per the ADA policies. Check the website for up to date policies on masks and COVID restrictions.
Sensory maps are available for download prior to your arrival or you can pick one up at the concierge desk. The maps provide info about the upcoming exhibits including which may be sensory heavy or less stimulating. Check your map for indicators of loud noises, strong smells, bright or low light and various tactile opportunities LINK from their website. Quiet spaces are available just ask staff.
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Primary And Secondary Education
Marion County contains eleven public school districts, nine of which serve Indianapolis residents: , , , , , , , , and .
IPS is the largest district in the city with an annual enrollment of 23,000 students attending 60 schools. In 2015, IPS began contracting with charter organizations and nonprofit school managers to operate failing district schools as innovation schools. About 37% of IPS students are enrolled in 20 innovation schools, which are run independently but accountable to the Board of School Commissioners, with the remaining 63% of students attending 39 neighborhood or magnet schools. About 18,000 students are enrolled in tuition-free Mayor-Sponsored Charter Schools , as authorized by the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation and Indianapolis Charter School Board.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
As one of the oldest and most revered motorsport facilities in the world, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is an absolute must-see spot when in town.
The venue was constructed back in 1909 and made it onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Twelve years later, it was officially made a national historic landmark.
Today, the museum offers 37,500 square feet of trophies, photographs, racing records, memorabilia, and fine art. Each exhibit is designed to highlight the cultural significance motor racing has had on the community.
You can also spot race cars from different series while there, including IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One, USAC Sprints and Midgets, motorcycle racing, and drag racing.
Address: 4750 W 16th St, Indianapolis, IN 46222, United States
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National Geographic Treasures Of The Earth
Three different experiences await you in the National Geographic Treasures of the Earth exhibit. Dont miss the lab where actual archeologists are working to uncover some of the Earths secrets. Hop on the elevator from level one and slowly decend into the Earth with a video guide,
Dive deep into the Valley of the Kings and discover hidden mysteries as you crawl through a tunnel behind the tomb. Help solve the mummys identity. Explore Egyptian wall etchings and put a sarcophagus back together.
Captain Kidds Shipwreck
Discover shipwrecked items and watch scientists uncover treasures pulled from the depths of the ocean off the coast of the Dominican Republic. Read old maps and help excavate an underwater site.
Head to China and stand with an army of recreated Terra Cotta Warriors. Piece together the broken pieces and learn about these ancient artifacts.
What To See At The Children’s Museum Of Indianapolis:
Bodies rested and bellies loaded, we were finally ready for our day at the museum. Upon arrival at The Children’s Museum, we headed directly to the Doc McStuffin’s exhibit in an attempt to beat the crowd. On a rainy Saturday in summer, we were not very successful with that goal. I was so disappointed to discover just how crowded the museum was but the girls didn’t mind one bit.
Oh you guys, the Doc McStuffin’s exhibit at The Children’s Museum is perhaps the cutest one I have ever seen. They did a remarkable job with the space and the theming of each activity within the unit. It was hard for us to get pictures to share for how crowded the space was, but Little Pea could have spent all day examining animals, interacting with baby dolls, practicing surgical moves on a toy robot, and imagining herself in the many roles of a doctor’s office from receptionist to nurse.
We were able to snag a spot in the special Doctors-In-Training Session so the kids could participate in a small group activity within a private space inside the exhibit. Little Pea simply loved it. Each child was assigned a toy to help diagnose through 4 directed activities. They received a personal doctor clip-board with check sheet and pencil to help test their toy and discover what needed to be fixed.
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