Review of the The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to hop into my van with my two kids, pop in Cars and drive to meet my sister and her family at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. I am the type of person who gets nervous to drive downtown, even in my own city, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to find the museum. Just two turns off of I-65 and I was in the FREE garage right across the street from the museum. Awesome! From the garage, we walked over the street via the skywalk and entered the museum.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a total of 5 stories tall. It is open from 10 – 5. We arrived at 11 and did not have time to thoroughly explore it all. After paying admission (just $39 and some change for me and two kids) and checking out the giant Bumblebee Transformer in the lobby, the kids headed straight for the DinoSphere section of the museum. There we explored dinosaur skeletons under the cover of a dome like ceiling (like a planetarium) that changed to show different types of weather. The great thing about this museum is that one can explore each exhibit on so many levels. There are the traditional signs explaining each exhibit, but also several touch screen computer activities for kids. Additionally, there are opportunities for small children to get closer to the exhibits through tunnels. There is a dino bone digging area, a dinosaur toy play table, a large nest area where kids could don dino costumes and pretend to guard their eggs. There was even a lab where researchers were cleaning and prepping real dinosaur bones and an actual Paleontologist who talked to the children at regular intervals. DinoSphere was one of the our favorite areas!
Also on this level is an awesome glass Water Clock that stands 26 feet tall. Kids and adults alike enjoy watching the clock change to the next hour. There is also a great food court with several different counters– each selling a different type of food. The food is good quality and priced as expected for this type of venue. One of my favorite features is the Toddler Bites meal I was able to purchase for my 2 yr old. I could choose 3 or 4 small portions of various things such as mandarin oranges, mac n cheese, Goldfish, Cheerios, sliced hot dogs, apple sauce, cottage cheese, juice, etc. It was much better getting her a burger and fries that she would barely touch!
The museum features rotating exhibits in addition to the staples. We visited two of the rotating exhibits– Dora & Diego Let’s Explore and Barbie The Fashion Experience. Both were super fun!! The Barbie exhibit even features a dressing area and runway where the kids can come out and strut their stuff. This was a hit for the girls and we noticed some of boys getting into the act as well!
Another favorite was All Aboard, a Reuben Wells designed steam engine that “operates” at regular intervals. Behind it there are train cars to explore, complete with TV screen windows that make it feel as though you are actually moving! The Egypt section of the museum features something similar, with a EgyptAir plane. Again the windows are TV screens and the seats rumble to make you feel as though you are in motion.
At the end of the day, we rushed to the top level of the museum to walk through the kaleidoscope area and take a ride on the Carousel. The cost is $1 per child to ride. We finished just in time to catch the End of the Day Parade. One of the cool things about this museum is the fact that there is a large ramp in the center that you can use to travel between the levels. With a stroller or wheelchair, it makes it so much easier than dealing with the elevator. Near closing time, they invite everyone to the top of the ramp to be part of the parade. Everyone lines up and each child is given a flag to wave in the parade. Then the entire group processes down the ramp towards the exit, following a dinosaur mascot while the “End of the Day” song plays over the speakers. As a parent, one of the worst parts of any excursion is having to leave. There are always tears. But I didn’t hear whining or crying out of any of the children as they marched down the ramp towards the exit. Pure genius!! We absolutely loved the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and can’t wait to go back and explore it further!