For years, I’ve tried to visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. I had heard it was a fabulous place to take the family, but just couldn’t manage it in my travel schedule. Until now. Last month, I finally had the opportunity to visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis with my kids along with a friend and her kids. I was told to plan a day at the museum, but I didn’t really believe it. Now, though, I know it takes not just one day, but, if possible, two or three.
Because the exhibits at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis are interactive, extensive and interesting, it’s easy to get caught up in one and forget that there are so many more to see and experience. See, the museum encompasses more than 20 exhibits and attractions across five floors. And once you start exploring, it’s really hard to stop.
For instance, during our visit, we decided to start at the bottom and work our way up. That meant heading to “Dinosphere: Now You’re in THEIR World,” an exhibit that takes visitors back in time to the Cretaceous period when dinosaurs last roamed the earth. We saw Bucky the Teenage T. rex – the first teenage T. rex put on permanent museum display, spent some time “digging” for fossils and visited with “Leonardo: The Mummified Dinosaur!” We even got to speak with Bucky Derflinger, the young rancher and rodeo cowboy who discovered Bucky in 1998, who continues to work with the museum and stops by often.
We ended up spending so much time in this exhibit that we barely had time to see the others on the floor, which included a Dale Chihuly glass tower, a train exhibit and an archaeological site. As a result, I decided we better move on if we wanted to see more of the museum. Therefore, we made our way to the second level, where the featured attractions were housed.
Our first stop was “Inside Hollywood Film & TV! You’re on the Set,” which is available through July 26. The kids absolutely loved it. My daughter hosted her own talk show, which featured my son and me as special guests. My son also played superhero in front a green screen that showed him “flying” among skyscrapers. He also tried his hand at voice acting by providing a voiceover to a “Scooby Doo” cartoon. My favorite aspects to this exhibit? The displays featuring artifacts from classic sitcoms, like Jeannie’s costume and bottle from “I Dream of Jeannie.” I also had my photo taken sitting on “The Simpsons’” couch.
Next, we moved on to “Hot Wheels: Race to Win” exhibit, open through Aug. 16. In this exhibit, you can see various aspects of different types of racecars, see who has the faster Hot Wheels in a side-by-side race, and see if you can pull off the fastest pit stop on a NASCAR racecar. If you haven’t guessed, this exhibit is all about speed.
Once we were able to reign in the kids, we went next door to the “What’s Your Style” exhibit, which runs until Sept. 7. You can see various styles from years gone by on display, but the girls’ favorite activity was donning some of the costumes and posing for a magazine “cover.” Needless to say, we have a couple of fashionistas on our hands.
Finally, we journeyed to the next attraction, which was “TRANSFORMERS: Robots in Disguise,” also showing through July 26. The boys loved the massive TRANSFORMERS on display, as well as the toy TRANSFORMERS they could play with. The girls actually liked the section that allowed you to draw and design your own TRANSFORMER robot. And all the kids liked the exhibit that “drew” their bodies and took them inside a TRANSFORMER game.
On this level, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis also has a cultural exhibit called “Take Me There: China.” It explores various aspects of the Chinese culture, such as how various families live, where they work and shop, how they celebrate holidays, and so on. It is a fantastic way to expose children (and adults!) to another culture. Unfortunately, we were starting to run out of time and were unable to due this exhibit justice.
Another exhibit we couldn’t do justice to is “The Power of Children,” which tells the stories of Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges and Ryan White. Looking back, I wish we would have started at this exhibit, and I highly recommend anyone planning a visit to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to start here. Not only is this a great conversation starter for some of the most significant events in history, but it’s also a great way for children to see that no one is too young or too small to make a difference in this world.
There are so many more exhibits to see and experience at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, more than we had time for before closing time arrived. But whether you go for a few hours or a few days, make room on your itinerary to visit this museum. You and your kids won’t be disappointed!
Have you visited The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis? If so, what was your favorite exhibit?
Disclosure: Karon and her family visited The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis as guests of the museum. As always, though, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are expressly those of the author.