Drivers, Start Your Engines — or Pedal Those Cars!

Zoom into The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis with brand new pedal cars at the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience this year!

Little ones will be thrilled to learn there is no longer a height requirement for our miniature Indianapolis Motor Speedway Racing Experience. There are new little speedsters that are fully accessible to anyone who wants to race — regardless of size or ability. (Please remember that closed-toed shoes are required for safety.)

Thanks to racing legend Tony Stewart and his foundation, the museum will now have “bumper” lanes to keep the cars on track and allow visitors to race using their wheelchairs. There is also a handcycle option that can attach to most wheelchairs.

“We have been working hard to accelerate change for kids, injured motor sport drivers and animals for 20 years now,” said Tony Stewart. “We are so excited to provide all children with the opportunity to feel the exhilaration of racing and enjoy the sport I love.”

Stewart has won multiple races and titles in IndyCar, midget, sprint and USAC (United States Auto Club). He is the only driver in history to win a championship in both IndyCar and NASCAR. The Tony Stewart Foundation’s mission is to serve all children who are critically ill or physically disabled, animals at-risk or endangered, and injured motor sport drivers.

Racing Activity to Try at Home

You and your child can get into the spirit of May — and secretly learn some science along the way — without leaving your home. All you need are some balloons, empty aluminum cans, a head of hair (you can use a piece of wool instead), tape and a flat surface.

  1. Use tape to mark the starting line and finish line on a flat surface.
  2. Give each contestant an inflated balloon, an empty aluminum can and a head of hair (or a piece of wool).
  3. Place empty cans at the starting line. Make sure the can is on its side so it will roll down the race track.
  4. After someone says “go,” have all contestants rub the balloon back and forth on their head (or the piece of wool) as fast as they can.
  5. Racers then place the balloon in front of their cans (without touching the can). The can will start to roll toward the balloon! Using just your balloon, lead your “race car” down the racetrack.
  6. The first one to cross the finish line wins!

You’ve heard the phrase “opposites attract.” That’s what’s happening here. Negative electrons and positive protons are opposites. Rubbing the balloon on your head (or the piece of wool) adds electrons to the balloon, giving it a negative charge. When you put the balloon in front of the aluminum can, the can’s protons are attracted to the balloon’s electrons, and the can follows along.

SpeedFest at The Children’s Museum

Conclude May’s racing festivities with SpeedFest on May 31 at the museum. It’s an action-packed day full of high-energy racing-themed activities and even includes a kiddie crawl! SpeedFest is included with museum admission and is weather-dependent.

Let’s get racing! Whether it’s at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the museum or at home, may your May be full of speed, energy and excitement!

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