I grew up in a small-ish town in central Illinois. There were not a ton of things to do but it was a nice town full of history (hint: Abraham Lincoln). My family and I moved to Indianapolis in late 2008 and I am oh-so-glad we did. My children are now blessed to grow up in a city with lots to do and packed full of historical artifacts. This past weekend my oldest – “Ro” – and I ventured downtown to one of the most popular historic spots in Indy:
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the circle.
You cannot see the Monument in the Indianapolis skyline but if you’re heading south down Meridian Street you can’t not see it. Built over a five year span and completed in 1902, it’s one of the world’s most popular monuments. (Fun fact alert: Did you know at 284 feet 6 inches tall, it’s only 15 feet smaller than the Statue of Liberty?)
We have been to the monument numerous times in our seven years here but this particular day was a first – Ro and I decided to climb the 330 steps to the top. As we headed up the first few flights I thought to myself, ‘Oh, we can so do this!’ but before we were even half way up even my daughter was done.
(Quick suggestion: with smaller children, take the elevator. Taking the stairs are free but that $2 ticket to ride was suddenly calling my name.)
The higher you climb the tower the tighter the stairwells become. And when you are about 2/3 the way up there is a sudden and very obvious temperature change. Keep that thought in mind if you visit during summer months as house rules note no one is allowed in the Observation Tower when temperature reach 95 degrees or higher.
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Once you’ve made it to the Observation Tower though, WOW. Just wow:
A 360-degree view of downtown Indianapolis is something you have to see.
It’s fun for the kids to try and find some of the places they’ve been downtown. My daughter was excited to see Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse. I of course tried to see if Ro could figure out which direction we were facing as we circled the top. As parents we turn anything into a teachable moment, right?
Speaking of teachable moments, after you make it down to the first floor you should take a look around the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum. The monument was built to be Indiana’s official memorial to the Hoosiers that served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Frontier Wars and the Spanish-American War. If you or your family love history you will enjoy this. Such a great place to learn about some of Indiana’s greatest residents! When you’re done, head outside for some coffee, ice cream, or a picnic lunch (hello Rocket Fizz!). Pop a squat on the stairs, admire the Soldiers and Sailors Monument from below, and make your own family history.
What to Know Before You Go:
Location: 1 Monument Circle, downtown Indianapolis
Hours: Friday – Sunday, 10:30am – 5:30pm
A 30-something stay-at-home-mom of two, Megan Leahy is an Indy transplant who doesn’t like to stay at home. Originally from central Illinois, you can find her anywhere from the public library returning an overdue book or Target buying more than she went in for to taking her husband & kiddos out on the town or spending time with her friends at a local hot spot.
Megan is an avid volunteer who loves working with children and helping those in need. In 2015 she founded Pals on Patrol, a non-profit that collects new/very gently used stuffed animals that police, fire/rescue, and DCS staff can give to children in time of crisis. Follow her on Twitter or check out www.palsonpatrol.com.