Color Me Orchid opens at the IMA… and it’s kid-friendly

ColorMeOrchidIMA_Indy's Child MagazineI said the craziest things to the kids the other day, and rightfully so they looked at me as though I’d grown three heads: Let’s go look at orchids. You know, those sweet, fragile flowers? I promise it will be fun.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art has launched their special Color Me Orchid exhibit inside the Elder Greenhouse. 
ColorMeOrchidIMA_Indy's Child MagazinePerhaps this was my idea of living on the wild side. After all: Kids. Delicate flowers. An all-glass greenhouse. Admittedly I was feeling a little adrenaline rush as we entered the gates at the IMA. I expected a little side-eye from the desk attendant when I announced “We are going to the Greenhouse to look at the orchids.” But she handed over our badges with a smile. I expected the Greenhouse staff to come to an absolute hush as we walked in. Instead we were greeted by Sue Nord Peiffer – the Greenhouse manager – who not only smiled brightly at us as we entered, but took my 5yo’s first question in stride:
“WHY DO YOU CALL IT A GREENHOUSE IF IT’S ALL WHITE ON THE OUTSIDE?” {And why does it feel like my 5yo is always shouting?}
“What a great question!” Sue commended her. “It’s because everything on the inside is green.”

ColorMeOrchidIMA_Indy's Child Magazine

Color Me Orchid – open only until March 13 –  proved once again the IMA’s prowess at providing exhibits not only designed for art-loving adults, but the kids who join them. It’s a stunning display of vibrant and flowering scenery, but when you boil it down, it’s easy to discover what is so entertaining for kids here too:
  • Colors: Orchids come in all different colors, including {could it be true?!} black.
  • Shapes: My 5yo immediately pointed to the first orchid as we walked in and shouted “THAT LOOKS LIKE A MOTH!” – eyeyey, again with the shouting.  Funnily though when I googled Phalaenopsis – which is probably the most widely-recognized orchid – up popped the words ‘moth orchid.’ Apparently she’s on to something. Others had spikes, small petals and as IMA Public Relations Manager Stephanie pointed out, one also looked like a slipper.
  • Smells: We went on a smell test. Some smelled like… nothing. But others we were convinced smelled like roses.
  • Origin: This one was fun thanks to the signage up throughout the exhibit. Did you know orchids grow on virtually every continent on the planet? Only the ‘Poles’ were left dark on the sign’s map. “Why do you think that is?” I asked the kids. “Santa probably doesn’t like them,” replied my 8yo. “AND PENGUINS! THEY ONLY LIKE SNOW.” That 5yo old…
  • Edible. As in did you know orchids are where vanilla comes from? And the IMA Cafe is featuring oodles of vanilla-infused goodies to celebrate the exhibit.
Overall, our visit stretched into 20 minutes – the longest recorded greenhouse visit by two children under age 8 EVER. No seriously. Guinness Book Of World Records is next on my list after finishing this post.

ColorMeOrchidIMA_Indy's Child Magazine

We popped into the Color Me Orchid er, pop-up shop inside the main museum, and I quickly assessed that as a ‘must return when I’m solo’ visit because I wanted to spend more time there. It’s a beautiful little stop stocked with orchids for purchase and experts to lean on for planting tips. We couldn’t officially leave without browsing the goodies in the Public Collection installation and laying underneath the Wentworth False Ceiling- Indianapolis lobby installation – all capped off by the 8yo sighing as we left. “What’s up buddy?” I asked. “I’m glad we come here! It’s fun.” was his reply. “METOOILOVEIT!” the 5yo shouted.

MORE INFO: The Indianapolis Museum of Art is located at 4000 Michigan Road in Indianapolis. Color Me Orchid will remain open at the Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse thru March 13. Admission is free with paid Museum admission and requires entry via the main Museum entrance. The IMA will also offer workshops on mounting and repotting orchids on February 27 and March 5 for an additional fee. Call {317} 923-1331 or visit for more details.


Jeanine Bobenmoyer - Indy's ChildJeanine Bobenmoyer is an explorer by heart. Her enthusiasm for trying new things drives her family out into the Indianapolis community as often as possible. Her son Hunter may become the next Bo Jackson and daughter Emerson is headed for Broadway or Harvard. Or both.

When Jeanine is not checking out the latest hotspot, she puts on her hat as the Chief Mom Officer for theCityMoms, the largest support and social network for moms in Indianapolis. She guest writes for Hamilton County Tourism, Inc., loves yoga, University of Michigan football, and trail running. She’d also drop everything if Eddie Vedder asked her to join Pearl Jam on tour. Find Jeanine on Twitter and Instagram.


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