A new tradition begins this winter that features a whimsical cast of characters who will bring carnival favorites to an enchanted forest in a new exhibit at The Children’s Museum. Families can visit WinterFaire’s magical forest, filled with games, an ice cave and all kinds of fun places to explore. There is also a giant slide — with a winter twist — just outside the exhibit in the Sunburst Atrium. The exhibit opens November 18, 2023.
Imagine a snowy wooded area with shimmering lights and the chatter of cute creatures. But how did they get their names, you wonder? Our social media team @ChildrensMuseum asked for suggestions, and families couldn’t wait to share ideas for our new forest darlings.
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“We are so thrilled that our fans helped us choose the perfect names for our friends,” says Jennifer Pace Robinson, president and CEO of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “Gerty, Flip, Ember, Indigo and Storm will be part of the carnival-like atmosphere of WinterFaire’s enchanted forest, where children and families will be delighted by interactive elements and a stunning environment of color and lights. We are beyond excited to welcome visitors into this brand-new tradition to create new wintertime memories together.”
Ember is a curious and fluffy red fox. Her warm, welcoming smile will greet families at they enter the enchanted world.
Storm is WinterFaire’s regal, adventurous and brave ice phoenix. He greets visitors at the ice cave where little ones will discover activities to help them build, jump, climb and balance. Help reconstruct an entrance that has fallen in (Storm will thank you) and climb up in the lookout and nest to discover phoenix eggs. The kids can slide back down, and if they’re feeling as daring as Storm, carefully cross the deep “chasm” in the cave!
Indigo, a mystical and knowledgeable chameleon sits in the middle of the space, perched on a fountain that is the source of all things magical in WinterFaire. The color-changing critter encourages families to work together to touch all six symbols on the fountain. The fountain’s frozen plumes will change colors — and so will Indigo’s body!
No carnival would be complete without games! Flip is an energetic and carefree harbor seal who will get you excited for a variety of all-ages activities with a winter twist. Match the colored shapes on penguins to those on ice floats; toss rings around pin-shaped penguins; play Skee-Ball; race down a hill on a snowboard or saucer; and aim for the high score as you throw “snowballs” at targets.
One of the WinterFaire characters sure to get things done is Gerty. This beaver is a no-nonsense kind of gal and master woodworker. When WinterFaire opens, you can put on an apron and get to work with the hard-working beaver.
“Children often build strong bonds with characters that have distinct personalities because they themselves either want to feel or act that certain way, or they already connect with that character’s personality. These connections create a safe, easy and accessible way for children to be themselves and begin to practice new skills while sharing their feelings and showing affection,” says Elyse Handel, early childhood education manager for The Children’s Museum. “Families will be able to play in different environments with interactive, hands-on activities that target a variety of developmental skills, which include fine and gross motor skills by climbing, balancing and hopping.”
Families are sure to have a blast — playing, laughing and making lifelong memories together — in the new, one-of-a-kind indoor winter experience.