I had read such good things about The Children's Museum of Indianapolis that when we were driving from Chicago to Washington DC it only made sense to make a stop and check it out.
At first, I was a bit overwhelmed and unsure of where to go first as we entered the museum. However, by 4:30PM, I was had to pull my exhausted kids away from our final exhibit to go to out the car. (There's free parking!)
It's pretty much impossible to do everything at the museum in one day. We walked through every exhibit and participated in several activities - but we still could have used another whole day to explore the museum.
We really loved the hot wheels exhibit (which sadly is closing soon) - it was the perfect way to get some hands-on racing experience in Indy.
Fortunately, we had the time to enjoy two free ticketed events; rock climbing and the children's theater program. Kids have to be at least six years old to rock climb; my six year old tried both the intermediate and beginner course - they both looked more difficult than I expected. She struggled with the beginner course for about 20 minutes and came really close to climbing all the way to the top. The children's theater show was about an hour long; both my five year old and six year old loved it. There are lots of free ticketed events available to choose from.
The food in the cafeteria is better than average. It was nice that there were some kid-friendly fruit and veggie options.
We've been to many children's museums and they all seem to have the same exhibits. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis has many of the standard exhibits like a water play area, dinosaur skeletons, and dress-up. But, it also hands-on exhibits that are more unique that feel more museum-like. So, the main difference between the Children's Museum of Indianapolis and other children's museums is that it can accommodate older kids with a variety of different interests.
i'm not sure which exhibits rotate and change - so I won't comment on specific exhibits. But, it appears that there is a nice mixture of permanent exhibits and ones that rotate. If I lived within 100 miles, I would buy a membership to come check out the exhibits as they change.
I had the honor of visiting The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis during a recent visit to Indiana’s state capital. As the largest children’s museum in the world and housing well over 20,000 artifacts, the immersive and hands-on areas are truly a wonder!
Why The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is so Awesome!
Child (and Adult!) Friendly Learning in Permanent Exhibits
I’m a huge fan of learning through play, and this museum does an awesome job of allowing kids to be inquisitive. They offer so many permanent exhibits that I could seriously visit a week straight and still not have a chance to see everything! Dinophere is the home to a one and only mummified dinosaur, complete with skin, scales, and undigested stomach contents. A newly found dino named after the famous castle in the Harry Potter books is also on display. National Geographic Treasures of the Earth allows children to delve into the world of archaeology and take on an Indiana Jones role while hunting for treasure, mummies, and Egyptian tombs. Take Me There: China is a fun exhibit that teaches about daily life and culture in China by following an actual Chinese family in their daily lives. I learned how to write my name on a huge calligraphy board on the floor and watched a kung fu exhibit from an actual Shaolin monk. The most beautiful display, however, is the Chihuly Fireworks of Glass exhibit. A 43-foot vertical tower of over 3,200 pieces of blown glass, the vibrant colors made me want to just sit and admire the beautiful piece. The Children’s Museum goes a step further by adding a revolving couch directly under the base that made me feel like I was in a life-size kaleidoscope!
World Renowned Traveling Exhibit Terra Cotta Warriors
I was lucky to visit the museum during the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit- the only stop in North America fin 2014 for the famed clay battlers. Although most of the 100 artifacts are behind glass or roped off, the exhibit still allows visitors to take part in the warrior history by dressing up as one, making their own clay warrior in tiny molds, and trying their hand at face sculpting. The exhibit is an additional cost ($5.00/$10.00 for child and adult non-members) but is well worth the extra charge. My daughter has been learning about the warrior history in school recently and for her to see them face-to-face made her history book come to life.
Healthy Meal Options
With 4 separate meal stations, there is definitely something for everyone’s eating style- including picky eaters. Pizza, salads, and burgers are freshly made and smelled delicious. During my visit, I tried the turkey ciabatta club and devoured it! It is quite a large sandwich, so two smaller kids can definitely share to lower the cost of lunch or dinner. The Kids Zone meals start at $4.79 for toddlers and come with 1% milk, fruit juice, or bottled water. The
toddler portion is small than the kids and is cut up into bite size pieces that are easy for the wee ones to handle. I loved trying the freshly-made, organic applesauce as a side with my meal. It was so fresh and had the smoothest consistency!
Free Parking and Fun Gift Shop
Many museums like to charge an additional fee to park, but there is free parking at this one. I think that’s a great perk! It’s nice to not get hit with an additional cost when you are taking a large family and buying tickets and meals. The gift shop is so cool! When I visited it was selling miniature Terra Cotta Warrior replicas, Chinese shadow puppets, and other fun learning toys. Prices are reasonable, and museum members get a discount on purchases.
Adults: 17.50; Ages 2-17 (under age 2 free): 12.50; Over age 60: 16.50
And the Verdict is…?
Educational and awesome! I am already looking forward to a return visit to the Children’s Museum and can’t wait to take my family back to Indianapolis to take in what I missed the first time around. The amount of fun educational tools are immeasurable and the quality of learning that kids receive at this museum is of the highest standard. Add in great meal choices and free parking and it’s definitely one of the top children’s museums that I have traveled to.
Disclosure: I was hosted by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Visit Indy for the purpose of this review. I was not asked to state a particular point of view and, as always, my opinions are my own!
One of the main reasons we wanted to visit Indy was to see the world's largest children's museum, and to see for ourselves if it was actually one the best.
Admission: At first admission seems high at $19.50 for adults and kids $14.50; under 1 are free, but there is so much offered here that it is worth it.
Parking: We LOVED the convenience of the parking garage connected via skyway to the museum. Plus, parking is free!
Where to begin? As the world's largest children's museum in not only the nation, but the world, we were overwhelmed at where to start. We had actually learned that their newest permanent exhibit Playscape had just opened the day before. What perfect timing as it is geared to those children ages 0-5. And I do have to say, I was very impressed! Our kids didn't know where to start - the huge climbing structure, the sand area where they could either dig for treasures or make sand art, My 3-year-old and 20-month old loved banging on the bongo drums.
Within Playscape is a room that nursing mothers would love! With a bottle warmer section, private doors, comfy chairs, toys, and a tvs playing educational shows, this nursing room was the best I've ever seen and it certainly made me wish I was nursing again to take advantage of this area. This just goes to show how thoughtful TCM was in putting together this area.
Other highlights the kids loved included a Dinosphere, the train section (of course), the beautiful Chihuly glass sculpture. The carousel, dating back 90 years ago and considered a National Landmark, is a fun diversion.
Check out the cool Children's Store
Pack a lunch, but note that there is a cafeteria on site.
Yes, bring the strollers. Everything is very stroller accessible. Exhibits that don't allow strollers have designated stroller parking.
Plan ahead and pick and choose the exhibits you'd be interested in seeing
Bottom line: Indy is so lucky to have this gem for kids. If I lived in Indy, I'm sure we would be here every week. Membership is affordable, the kids will find something new to learn and play, plus parents will even have fun!
Disclosure: This review is based on a complimentary visit to The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. They did not state any requirements that I express a particular point of view. All opinions are my own.
We have a membership to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis and we love it. Although some of the attractions do not change, they do change a few of the exhibits at least annually. They also have a great haunted house in the fall, a wonderful Christmas theme during the holidays and plenty of hands on fun for the kids. Their Dinosphere attraction is always my kids favorite. They also have fun for the littlest kids, too. A definite do-not-miss for families in Indianapolis.
I made my first visit to the Children's Museum in about 1982. It was an overnight field trip set aside for the big kids in school--the fifth grade! I have several vivid memories from that trip. First, I wore puple overalls and a braided headband with feathers attached. And, a boy who had a crush on me bought me a butterfly necklace in the gift shop. And then there was the museum!!! I especially liked the prairie family, the big polar bear, and the dinosaurs. Some 30-odd years later, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking my own children to visit. Several of my favorite exhibits are still there, but there is also a constant rotation of fresh new exhibits. My girls have explored the world of Barbie, Superheros, and Curious George, and been exposed to historical advancements and great art (check out the Chihuly sculpture that spans several floors). There are so many interactive elements to keep even the most on-the-go kiddos entertained. You never know what you might get to do--dig in the dirt or walk a runway. Even if you don't have kids, you're never too big to have a little fun with science. Highly recommended for families or anyone with an inquisitive nature.
As far as Indiana goes, this is one of the absolute best Children's Museums. There is a wide array of activites for children to participate in, and most of the time you can see adults right along with them, having just as much fun! Although parking can be a bit of a hassle (you might have to walk a little ways there to avoid an expensive parking garage), the walk is worth it. This part of Indianapolis is very chic and interesting. My favorite part of this museum was the gift shop, where they had all sorts of interesting things to buy - including freeze-dried, astronaut style ice cream!
We took our daughter on a little trip to Indianapolis for her 3rd birthday to visit The Children's Museum. This was like the Disneyworld of children's museums! No detail was overlooked. Everything was so well thought out. There are lots of activities there for her age, and so much for older kids as well. I think we spent about 6 hours there. We ate lunch at the museum and it was not outrageously overpriced. We will definitely be back one day!!
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis runs an inner-city social engineering program called "Mid North Quality of Life Plan. http://www.midnorthplan.org/ They are using government HUD money, ObamaStash, and liberal Foundation money for urban planning via transfer of wealth from the suburbs to the inner-city. They want to merge the two together for tax sharing and wealth transfer. Just say no! The makers will fund the takers. This is taxpayer money! Most people have no idea that this is happening. I will never spend another $1 at the museum. I wish more conservatives knew what they were up to. Please see liberal Congressman Andre Carson's recent endorsement of CMIs new government funded low-income housing project going up at the old Winona Hospital site. They are not helping the poor, they are lining their pockets with tax dollars and grant money. TRex LLC is the new company spun off from the CMI. They also support the huge boondoggle Indy Connect transit plan to connect the inner-city to the suburbs. http://www.childrensmuseum.org/illinois-place-groundbreaking , http://www.childrensmuseum.org/node/35523
I've been to countless children's museums around the country. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is not only the largest, but it is truly the best. Incredibly spacious (which is what I find lacking in so many other museums focused on kids). And fun for a really wide range of ages. I even went a few times before I had kids. I wrote a few tips for visiting here: http://www.arrowssentforth.com/2011/01/tips-for-visiting-childrens-museum.html
I have more reviews of specific exhibits at my Indiana Adventures page: http://www.arrowssentforth.com/p/indiana-adventures.html
This was a great museum. I think the thing I liked best is that it was very spacious. There were enough exhibits to keep you there all day, but they were all in large rooms so you didn't feel crammed in with everyone else. We only went there once, but I got the impression that many of the exhibits were traveling and that they were changed pretty often. It seemed like a place you could go again and again and continually see something new. The best part for me was an exhibit called the Power of Children.on It featured Anne Frank, Ryan White and Ruby Bridges. Due to subject matter, these might be better suited to older children. My children liked the Barbie exhibit the most. We spent a couple hours dressing up and designing new fashions. The only drawback to this museum for us is that they didn't offer a discount to museum members from other cities. Other than that, it was a great way to spend the day and we will definitely go back when we are in the area again.
We have spent so much family time here that I feel like I work there sometimes. The best thing about the museum is that there are great exhibits for every age and interest. Right now there is a Dora exhibit and many science exhibits. Rock climbing, carousel, science lab, treasures of the deep and much more. It is really a great place for kids.
While visiting my family in Indiana this month, we decided to check out the country's largest Children's Museum in downtown Indianapolis. It was AWESOME! This museum catered to all ages of children and every interest imaginable. Stroller friendly exhibits offer lots of hands-on activities and learning experiences for all ages.
From excavating dinosaur bones, to an airplane ride to Egypt, to fun water activities, to a planetarium show - it's ALL here. This museum is huge!
We did experience some tears from DD, but only because we were having to drag her away from exhibits that she wanted to spend more time on. We were there all day and even though it felt like we were rushing through most of the exhibits, we still didn't manage to see everything. So if it's at all practical for you, check out getting a membership so you can come back several times and get to see all this wonderful museum has to offer.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is such a cool place! The exhibits change a lot which makes it even more enjoyable. There are many floors with different activities. The people are friendly and it's a cool place to go as a family or on a field trip!
Plan on spending at least an entire day! My daughter was so sad to leave after 6 hours of non-stop fun and there was plenty for my son (8 months) to do as well. My daughter loved all the hands-on activities but she especially loved the Merry Go Round right in the middle of the museum! :) It was a great day together!
I love it here because it obliviously kid friendly but it has something for everyone! I get so tired of going to "kid friendly places that are just for the kids". There are many interesting exhibits that are interesting to both adults and kids. The workers there are very friendly and the facility is clean and well kept up. It's always changing so it will keep you coming back for more fun for the WHOLE family.
WOnderful place to sit back and relax and let the kids imaginations run free. I have four children of my own and love to go and sit on a bench in the playscape area and let them choose what to do while I sit and catch up with friends or join in on the fun.
I have children ages 9 down to 3 months and they all enjoy the museum. We have a family pass because we can never get through everything in one visit. It's a better experience for us if focus on 3-4 exhibits and come back for more later. It's really clean and well organized.
We love this place. We take our kids at least every two years. The activities are so varied that we are constantly going back for activities that we were too young for or didn't appeal at the time. Plus there are always new exhibits to check out. We are sad now because our children have outgrown the preschool room. This was a favorite for years. This is always something for everyone-mom and dad love "playing" & "learning" too.
We have an almost 3 year old, and a one year old. We purchased a membership to the Children's museum, and have been 3 times in the last 3 months. My children absolutely love the place! The Playscape is like heaven for toddlers, and my 1 year old would be happy to stay there all day long. My 3 year old loves the entire museum, especially the Dinosphere, and carousel. My husband really enjoys the museum as well.
This is a great way to spend an afternoon or an entire weekend. There is no way to see and explore the entire museum in a short time, luckily everything is completely divided so you can explore in sections. While it is a bit pricey when you are taking a handful of children, it is absolutely worth it. Seriously one of the best things to do in indy with children