It’s a fact: There is no shortage of museums in Indianapolis – from those that focus on arts to culture to history and everything in between. But we’re taking a look at the museums that just get it. And by ‘it’ we mean they offer the activities and amenities that make kids want to overstay their welcome à la Ben Stiller in Night At The Museum.
Here are a few of our favorite Museums for Kids in Indianapolis:
Circle Center Mall, 110 W. Washington St., downtown Indianapolis
Sure, parents might yell “Don’t bang on that in my house!” but at R!DC it’s not only welcomed; it is encouraged. Visitors learn the history of the art of percussion, set sights on evolutionary instruments, and then are set wild on an entire room of tester percussion items. Featuring weekly Family Drum Circles and special events, R!DC is the perfect spot for your budding John Bonham and your stress relief.
Kids 5 and under are always free. Tickets begin at $6/pp for other visitors. Click here for details.
650 W. Washington St., downtown Indianapolis
Not just a place for field trips, the Indiana State Museum is perfect for your aspiring historian. Level 1 divides exhibits into special tales about the natural history of Indiana and Level 2 focuses on cultural history ranging from Stutz Cars to Abraham Lincoln. The IMAX Theater in the lower level offers wonderful 3D and regular films for viewing. And kids of all ages are sure to delight in the current exhibit: Science at Play. Click here to check out the show schedule for resident puppeteers, Peewinkle’s Puppet Studio. And be sure to end your visit by taking the kids for a walk on the downtown Canal.
Free for kids under 3. Tickets begin at $9.95/pp for other visitors. Click here for more details.
4000 Michigan Rd., Indianapolis
Your idea of fun with the kids might not involve an art museum… but it should. The IMA offers special Family Art Packs designed to keep kids ages 4 and up engaged in the museum’s exhibits and plenty of drop-in activities that encourage children to get in touch with their inner artist. Click here for tips on planning your family visit. Once you have explored the museum be sure to let your children burn off some energy in the wide open spaces of The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres
Kids 5 and under are always free. Tickets begin at $10/pp for other visitors. Click here for more details.
13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers
Okay, so some might not view Conner Prairie as a traditional museum, but it most definitely is! The expansive acreage of Conner Prairie contains more than meets the eye: Five historic areas, a special balloon voyage, a modern museum center and more. There are things for kids big and small to enjoy – from the animal barn to the indoor Discovery Station. A smattering of fun programs dot their calendar as well, including Prairie Tykes classes. New this fall: Test your sense of direction in the new 7-acre corn maze, which opens September 23 and features a small maze for younger guests and a big maze for teens and adults.
Free for kids under 2. Tickets begin at $12/pp for other visitors. Click here for more details.
450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis
History literally comes to life at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center. Kids can step into another era in the “You Are There” exhibits: 1943: Italian POWs at Atterbury and Eli Lilly at the Beginning. Using a combination of historic photographs, touch screen interactives and costumed actors, these exhibits allow visitors to see, hear and touch the history of our great state as it unfolds before them. Ever wanted to travel back in time? In “Destination Indiana,” eight “drive yourself” time-travel stations allow visitors to do just that. The Indiana History Center is also home to a number of family-friendly events throughout the year.
Free for kids under 5. Tickets begin at $5/pp for other visitors. Click here for more details.
500 West Washington St., Indianapolis
This building, overlooking the canal, is a work of art itself. Step inside and you are transported to the American West courtesy of a dizzying array of art and sculpture. While art afficianodos will find themselves at home here, rest assured there is plenty of family fun to be had. Check out the Everything Cart on the first floor, a hands-on cart perfect for little ones to get their hands on items related to most of the galleries in the museum. Snuggle on a real bear skin in the birch bark wigwam, learn the story behind the resident Totem Pole, The Legend of Wasgo, and climb aboard an authentic stagecoach in the RB Annis Western Family Experience. There are a number of festivals and events throughout the year that offer fun for the whole family.
Free for kids 4 and under. Tickets begin at $7/pp for other visitors. Click here for more information.
3000 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis
You didn’t think we’d miss the cream of the crop, did you? Indianapolis is blessed with the finest children’s museum on the planet, so of course we needed to include it here. This past season brought a slew of fun new exhibits, including “Circus – Starring You!” and “Dance!” but permanent exhibits like the enormous replica dinosaurs in Dinosphere and the water table, music room and play climbers in the redesigned Playscape keep kids returning again and again. Best of all, $5 Thursday Nights, offered the first Thursday evening of each month, make the museum truly accessible for all.
Free for kids under 2. Plan ahead pricing offers the best value. Click here for details.