The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in 2017

Check out all of the exciting things coming to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in 2017:

STEM Strong

The world’s largest children’s museum will be STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in 2017. The museum recently invested more than $8 million in science-focused exhibits and programs including Beyond Spaceship Earth(which includes the one-of-a-kind Schaefer Planetarium and Space Object Theater), and the reimagined Dow AgroSciences ScienceWorks. The first exhibit launches visitors into space aboard a recreated International Space Station, allowing them to see what it’s really like to work and live in space. The Planetarium and Space Object Theater currently features the NASA space capsule Liberty Bell 7, piloted by Indiana native and astronaut Gus Grissom in 1961 on America’s second manned space flight. It raises and lowers on a pedestal as families watch a video—making children and families feel as though they’re watching it float in space as they learn more about it. Explore the work of real scientists like hydrologists, naturalists, and geologists in ScienceWorks. See how people like engineers, farmers, and others use science process skills to ask questions and seek answers to help us in our daily lives.

Related Article: ScienceWorks at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis


New in 2017

Chocolate Slide

Feb. 4–April 22, 2017

When it’s dark, gloomy, and cold outside, it’s fun inside the world’s largest children’s museum for families who whoosh down the 47’ chocolate slide. With the museum’s Sunburst Atrium transformed into a Willy Wonka-inspired wonderland, families are encouraged to zoom down the slide that is themed like a river of chocolate, and purchase sweet treats and good eats in the Chocolate Cafe.

Related Article: The Chocolate Slide has arrived!

Circus—Starring YOU!

Feb. 18–Nov. 26, 2017

Children and families will enter the Big Top, meet performers, “walk” a virtual reality tightrope, and step through time to learn the history of the circus. Then visitors will be invited to get into the act and become a performer themselves. Museum magic will allow families to ‘look’ like they’re being shot out of a cannon or appear to be the world’s strongest men/women flexing their muscles as they lift foam barbells. Daredevils will be able to attempt feats like the roman ladder, rolla bolla, and lyra rings on interactives designed to provide a peek into what it takes to perform under the big top!

Hot Wheels™: Race to Win™

(May 13–July 30, 2017)

Just in time for summer vacation and the Indy 500, the museum will open Hot Wheels™: Race to Win™.  This exhibit will get you revved up for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Immersive activities for three generations of Hot Wheels® fans will help families understand the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts behind what makes cars go faster. There will be a combination of real race cars and toy cars along with the iconic orange track and a pit stop challenge. Real drivers will also visit on select dates to share their racing secrets. This exhibit is touring the country over the next few years and returning to The Children’s Museum each summer.

American POP: The Galleries for American Arts and Popular Culture

Permanent exhibit opens June 17, 2017

Reminisce about fads or pop culture events that affected your life and learn what shaped those things into becoming hot or hip. American POP: The Galleries for American Arts and Popular Culture will showcase American TV shows, movies, music, and fashion that can bring us together across generations. American POP is a new permanent exhibit that will explore how popular culture has influenced our daily lives in the past and the present, and imagine how it may shape the future.


June 17, 2017–April 2018

DANCE!  is the first temporary exhibit to be featured in The Galleries for American Arts and Popular Culture. Visitors to this exhibit should be ready to move their feet to the beat and join the fun. This multigenerational exhibit looks at dance styles through the ages and around the world. Families who feel daring may want to put on their dancing shoes and take the stage to showcase their best dance moves.

Santa’s Arrival, Jolly Days, & Countdown to Noon

Advance elves are on the lookout for Santa Claus the day after Thanksgiving. Once his helpers spot the Jolly Old Elf, they rappel from the roof of the building to greet him. Santa then races in onboard an Indy Racing Experience two-seater IndyCar to greet all the good girls and boys. Jolly Days: Winter Wonderland will be open Nov. 24, 2017 through early January 2017. Families can visit Santa through Dec. 24, and participate in pretend ice fishing, ice-skating, and holiday baking. There will also be a castle to climb and a magical snow globe that, with a push of a button, allows visitors to let it snow! Those who want to ring in the new year (2018) are invited to Countdown to Noon drop by drop at North America’s largest water clock.

LAST CHANCE to See Doc McStuffins: The Exhibit

Now until Jan. 22, 2017

That last day to visit Doc McStuffins: The Exhibit before it begins its museum tour across the country is January 22nd. Spotlighting Doc’s role as the health and wellness ambassador for young children, the experience brings the magical storytelling of “Doc McStuffins” to life through hands-on activities for young children and their families that impart life-lessons about health and wellness. Through imaginative play and intergenerational learning, visitors are transported to a world inspired by Doc’s backyard playhouse clinic; There, they share the joy of bringing their favorite toys to life as they learn more about sta ying healthy, caring for others, while problem solving.

Related Article: Doc McStuffins at The Children’s Museum

About Our Partners

Beyond Spaceship Earth is made possible by lead gifts from Lilly Endowment Inc., Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, The Heritage Group, Patricia Schaefer, and a NASA grant, with major support provided by R.B. Annis Educational Foundation, Church Brothers Collision Repair, The Dorsey Foundation, and Steve and Susan Haines. In partnership with Purdue University, the Indiana Astronaut Wall of Fame recognizes the significant contributions that astronauts and engineers with Indiana connections have made to the history of space exploration. Digital games developed with the support of the Entertainment Software Association Foundation will allow children to perform the tasks of real astronauts aboard the ISS. The material contained in Beyond Spaceship Earth: International Space Station is based upon work supported by NASA under award Number NNX14AD06A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Liberty Bell 7 space capsule is on loan from Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, Inc., Hutchinson, Kansas.

The reinvention of Dow AgroSciences ScienceWorks is made possible by the generous support of Dow AgroSciences through The Dow Chemical Company Foundation.

Hot Wheels: Race to Win is supported by Church Brothers Collision Repair and OneAmerica. Hot Wheels and associated trademarks and trade dress are owned by, and used under license from, Mattel. ©2016 Mattel. All Rights Reserved. 

The Galleries for American Arts and Popular Culture are made possible through lead gift support from Lilly Endowment Inc., Mel and Bren Simon, Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Gerald and Dorit Paul, Thelma L.”T” Wilds, Sharon W. Doiron, and Shirley S. Bryant.   

Doc McStuffins: The Exhibit is presented by Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and supported by Central Indiana Honda Dealers and CollegeChoice 529.

The Chocolate Slide is supported by Sodexo.

Circus – Starring YOU! Is presented by Chick-fil-A and supported by Aquafina and Purdue University.

The Children’s Museum Guild’s Haunted House is presented by Old National Bank.


About The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a nonprofit institution committed to creating extraordinary learning experiences across the arts, sciences, and humanities that have the power to transform the lives of children and families. For more information about The Children’s Museum, visit,  follow us on Twitter @TCMIndy, Instagram@childrensmuseum,, and Facebook.

Indy's Child
Indy's Child
For 40 years, Indy's Child has been the trusted source for Indianapolis families seeking fun, educational, and enriching experiences. Our award-winning magazine and website are dedicated to providing expert advice, insider tips, and up-to-date information on everything from the best local attractions and events to parenting resources and support. As local experts deeply rooted in the central Indiana community, our passionate team at Indy's Child is dedicated to uncovering the best family-friendly experiences and resources our city has to offer. Whether you're new to parenting or looking for new ideas, Indy's Child is here to help you enjoy the adventure of raising a family in central Indiana.

Related Articles



From our Sponsors