Once upon a time, I was a young, idealistic dad. I sat nervously in the room waiting for the ultrasound technician to tell me all about my first child. I had visions of tossing the football in the backyard with my new child. I imagined taking him – ok, I just assumed it was a boy – to the 200th running of the Indy 500 (I am a very specific daydreamer) cheering on Mario Andretti as he crossed the finish line. My son and I would share a big gulp of milk together before walking arms over shoulders back to our miraculously close parking spot.
Wasn’t I cute? In reality my first child was a daughter and hates loud noises. My first son has ADHD and wouldn’t be able to sit through more than 50 laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. My third child is lactose intolerant and my wife says the Indy 500 isn’t appropriate for a 1 year old. To make matters worse when was the last time Mario Andretti raced, much less won!? So while all my hopes and dreams seem to have been dashed upon the rocks of the real world I submit to you this glimmer of hope:
The Dallara IndyCar Factory.
If you are a parent of older children you might be getting tired of hearing about places with sensory tables and hands on activities for younger kids. You’ll be happy to know I thought of you parents the whole time I was at the Dallara IndyCar Factory. It is a prime spot for older kids or young adults who are interested in racing and STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) and even for their little siblings who might want to tag along.
Included in the admission is unlimited use of the racing simulators (think arcade style racing game except significantly harder) and access to the build-you-own-car race track where your little kids can build Mario Bros themed cars next to your big kids’ sleek aerodynamically sound racers. You’ll be glad to know the track is built with a starting arm, so once the cars are set, no one can cheat by giving their car a push.
There are nearly a dozen cars to look at (but no touching please!) as well as one climb-in car for your little ones. A film on the history of the Dallara IndyCar factory will interest the historical racing enthusiasts in your group.
So while your little ones might not be ready for the Indy 500 this year, they will definitely love the Dallara IndyCar factory. Plus, parking is on the street outside the front door which is right in line with my somewhat delusional fantasies of IndyCar glory.
A small word of caution: If you are sensitive to smells, you might want to take some precautions. The place does smell strongly like that spot at the front of Costco when you walk by the tire department. Lots of rubber and oil smells. But Long’s Donuts is right up the street and THAT certainly smells lovely. Make a day of it. Go nuts and donuts… That has a nice ring to it. I should be a writer.
What to Know Before You Go
Location: 1201 W Main Street, downtown Speedway
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Tours take place daily at 11:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, and 3:00pm.
Admission: Adults, $10; seniors/children 12 and under, $5; children 4 and under, FREE
Call 317-243-7171 or visit their website for additional details.