Visiting the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is hands down one of the best children’s museums we have ever visited. As the largest children’s museum in the world, it is four stories of education, imagination and fun!

Museum Exhibits
Once you purchase your tickets, make your way to the main hall of the museum where you have some tough choices to make. Do you venture toward the main exhibit halls and learn about the treasures of the earth or do you take your chances in the Dinosphere? Tough choice… In the end we decided to wait to visit Bucky the Dinosaur and his friends and headed toward The Treasures of the Earth exhibit sponsored by National Geographic.

Treasures of the Earth
The Treasures of the Earth exhibit is a new addition to the museum. It is an archaeological journey through land and sea. Here you can experience the different types of archaeologists and what they actually do and why artifacts are important. Kids love to channel their inner Indiana Jones while searching for ancient artifacts on land and under the sea.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis - Treasures of the Earth exhibit

The family split up for the next part of our adventure, I headed to the Playscape (ages 7 and under play area) with my 6, 4 and 2 year-olds while my husband took our older kids (ages 15, 12 & 10) to explore the Power of Children exhibit.

Playscape is a sensory wonderland that will draw your kids in with its hands-on, interactive play areas. It’s highly likely that there will be tears and possibly screaming when it’s time to leave. Playscape has something for every kid, including the itty bitty ones. The lily pad climbing structure is the best feature of Playscape. The kids love to act like little frogs hopping from lily pad to lily pad.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis - Lily Pad structure in Playscape

If you can tear them away from the pond, they can play in the sand, explore art and music, build towers and of course go fishing in the creek. In all honesty, even I almost threw a tantrum when it was time to leave, this place was fantastic!

Power of Children
While we were partying in the pond, my husband and older kids were learning about the power of children in their communities. The focus of this exhibit is on three key children that made a huge impact on society both before and after their deaths. The most well-known person is this exhibit is Anne Frank. You will also see exhibits about Ryan White and Ruby Bridges and learn about the amazing and sometimes heartbreaking lives of these children and how they made a difference in the world. This is a very powerful exhibit and my older kids learned so much about how one person can make a lasting impact in their community.

Adventures in Flight
Once we reunited we headed to Adventures in Flight where we explored the science behind flight. We loved learning the ins and outs of how things fly with real scientific test models from NASA!

Wishes and Dreams
Tired, yet? Well buck up cause there is more to see! Our next stop was the Wishes and Dreams exhibit and the antique indoor carousel. The cost of the carousel is $1 per person, unless you are a member, then you can ride free. The amazing thing about this carousel is that it is an artifact itself. It has been in the museum since 1917! It is a beautiful carousel, and my younger girls (ages 4, 6 and 8) wanted to go on it over and over again! Next to the carousel is the maze of mirrors and a neighborhood of playhouses to keep your kids occupied while you take a much deserved break on one of many quaint park benches.

We are in the final stretch! After you are done playing in Wishes and Dreams, it’s time to head down to the Dinosphere. The Dinosphere is home to rare exhibits like Bucky the teenage T-rex, the Dracorex hogwartsia and the super croc. The Dinosphere has an extensive collection of dinosaur eggs, including Baby Louie, a fully fossilized baby dinosaur still in his egg. Wow!

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis - Dinosphere

As much as we wanted to stay and explore the Dinosphere in its entirety, the museum was closing and we had to leave. We were there for seven hours and still didn’t see everything there was to see. I guess that gives us another reason to come back!

Special Christmas Exhibit
Every year, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis transforms into a winter wonderland. From the day after Thanksgiving until New Years, you can experience the Jolly Days exhibit. Highlights include the holiday kitchen, Santa’s castle, daily visits with the big guy himself and the infamous Yule Slide.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis - Jolly Days exhibit

Temporary Exhibits
In addition to the large number of permanent exhibits The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis also houses several temporary exhibits. There is always something new to explore every time you visit this museum! To see what exhibits are coming to the museum click here.

Museum Location and Hours
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is located in downtown Indianapolis just off I-65. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. The museum is closed on most Mondays through Feb. 27, 2017. The cost of admission is $18.50 for children ages 2-17, $22.50 for adults and $21.50 for seniors. Memberships start at $110.

Free Admission to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Target sponsors family free nights on the first Thursday of the month from 4 to 8 pm. Admission during this time is completely free.

Other free admission days in 2017 include:

January 16, 2017: Free from 10 am to 5 pm for Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February 20, 2017: Free from 10 am to 5 pm for Presidents Day
April 30, 2017: Free from 10 am to 5 pm for El Día de los Niños
Dec. 24, 2017: Free from 10 am to 2 pm for Christmas Eve

Tips for Visiting the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Pack a lunch
If you are planning on being there all day, pack a lunch to eat in the cafeteria. The museum is great about allowing you to bring your own food to the cafeteria. The cafeteria does have a large selection of food for purchase, but it is pretty pricey for what you get.

Plan to spend the day
This museum is HUGE and there is so much to see and do. Unlike other children’s museums, you can easily spend the day here and still not see everything there is to see. Get there at opening and plan to be there until closing.

Purchase your tickets online
This is especially helpful on busy weekends. By purchasing your tickets online, you can bypass the long lines at the ticket windows and get a jump start on the fun!

Parking is complimentary
The parking garage is connected to the museum by a sky bridge and is completely free.

Nursing room and family restroom
Located on the 3rd floor in the Playscape is a quiet nursing room with chairs for your comfort. There is also a family restroom next door.

Free Wifi
Share your families experience at the museum without using your data. Wifi is complimentary during the museums operating hours.

Hotels Near the Indianapolis Children’s Museum

Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites
A centrally-located hotel in downtown Indianapolis, Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites offers ultimate convenience to families visiting the area. Stretch out in large guest rooms and suites and make the most of being close to many exciting attractions, tourist destinations, shops and dining options.

Homewood Suites Indianapolis Downtown
The comfy all-suite, extended-stay Homewood Suites Indianapolis Downtown offers all the comforts of home with all the attractions of Indianapolis city center only minutes from your doorstep.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has something to delight every member of your family and is definitely worth a visit when you are in the area!

Have you ever been to the Children’s Museum if Indianapolis? Please tell us about your experience in the comments!

Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. To learn more, visit our About Us page.

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Jordyn C. Are you interested in traveling to Indianapolis? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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