Winter Staycation Ideas in Indianapolis

Sometimes, you just don’t have the time, money or motivation to plan a big family trip for winter break. 

Fortunately, Indianapolis has lots of things for families to do when the weather turns cold. Here are some “staycation” ideas that will make you feel like a tourist in your own town.


Spend the Night in a Hotel

Staying at a hotel will really get your family in the staycation mood! Look for a hotel with an indoor pool where you can splash the day away, or one with fun features. The Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown Union Station has unique Pullman Train Car rooms that let you experience a night in one of the original train cars that used to steam in and out of Union Station in the 1920s.

Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown Union Station

If you’re looking for a hotel that caters to young guests, check out the Omni Severin Hotel, also located in downtown Indy. Upon check in, kids receive a backpack filled with fun items, such as an activity book with stickers, crayons, 2-in-1 cards games, binoculars and a small tabletop game. Children also receive milk and cookies delivered to their room on the first night, and a full kids menu is available in the restaurant downstairs.

Take a Day Trip to a Children’s Museum

You and your family have probably visited The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, but now is your chance to really experience it, because there is so much more there than exhibits. Each day there are a variety of programs, shows and activities to participate in, such as children’s theatre productions in Lilly Theatre, which change frequently. There are also opportunities to join in a music class, learn more about dinosaurs with a hands-on demonstration, and rock out to a dance party. Best of all, all these extras are free with your paid admission. Check TCM’s website on the day of your visit to see what kind of fun you can expect that day.

Photo credit: Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

If you’re in the mood for a drive, check out the Muncie Children’s Museum, which is a short 70-minute trip from downtown Indy. Head west to visit the Terre Haute Children’s Museum, which is three floors and 26,000 square feet of science and technology fun for kids. South of Indy is where you will find kidscommons in Columbus, Indiana, a fun play space for kids that features a giant toilet bowl that you can climb into. A bonus about traveling to Columbus: Across the street from kidscommons is The Commons Playground, a huge (and free!) indoor playground that features a 35-foot-tall, jungle-gym climber.

Get Active

If you need to get the winter wigglies out, spend the day jumping at a trampoline park at Sky Zonegliding through the air at Zip City or practicing parkour moves and aerial skills at DEFY Extreme Air Sports. For families looking for some activities that are a little slower in speed (but still fun!), check out Incrediplex, which features a big indoor climbing structure, bouncy houses, arcade games galore and a full restaurant. Mini golfers can practice their putt-putt strokes indoors at GlowGolf Mini Golf in the Circle Centre Mall, or try to get a strike at Action & Atomic Duckpin Bowling in Fountain Square, which features eight lanes and an original 1930s-era bowling alley.

Winter is also a great time to rediscover your favorite nature spots in a whole new way. When there is snow on the ground, head to Eagle Creek Park to try out cross-country skiing on the 2.5- and 3-mile trail that loops around the park. Then warm up at the Ornithology Center in the park, where you can sit and watch birds at the feeders or check out displays about local birds.

Eagle Creek Park

It is totally possible to plan a fun, relaxing and no-stress winter staycation that rivals any far-away vacation destination. Have fun!

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