Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in Indianapolis | Midwest Living

Top 10 Things to Do with Kids in Indianapolis

The world's largest children's museum, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and other kid-friendly destinations will keep your family busy during a getaway to Indianapolis. Here are 10 activities you can't miss.

1) The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis There’s a Dinosaur Dig excavation site, a 43-foot-tall glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly and a full-size indoor carousel. Plenty of spectacle, for sure, but the world’s largest children’s museum doesn’t shy away from sharing meaningful messages. The Power of Children: Making a Difference exhibit highlights the lives of Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges and Ryan White.

Photo courtesy of Lavengood Photography

2) Indianapolis Zoo Pet a shark, feed a giraffe, and stand inches away from a majestic Amur tiger (behind glass, of course). Those with green thumbs enjoy wandering through the White River Gardens, included in the price of admission. Primates swing 80 feet above you at the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, which opened in 2014.

Photo courtesy of

3) White River State Park Set aside a full day to explore this 250-acre park and its museums. The Indiana State Museum’s exterior offers a Where’s Waldo-like hunt for limestone blocks representing the state’s 92 counties. Sports fans shoot hoops at the NCAA Hall of Champions and take in a game at Victory Field, home to Indianapolis Indians Triple-A baseball. Tired of walking? Rent a Segway or a surrey (pictured) to cruise the canal for photo ops of downtown.

4) Conner Prairie New attractions such as a Civil War-theme play area and a hot-air balloon ride have freshened this living-history site. The raw and sometimes emotionally harrowing Follow the North Star program (recommended for ages 12 and older) immerses visitors in the role of a runaway slave as bounty hunters track their every move through the fields. 

Photo courtesy of Lavengood Photography

5) Indianapolis Motor Speedway Racing fans make pilgrimages to the site of the Indianapolis 500. Check out the 75 or so race cars within the Hall of Fame Museum, see the faces of past Indy 500 winners on the Borg-Warner trophy and take a lap by bus around the storied racetrack.

Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway

6) Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park: 100 Acres Let the little ones loose at this park adjacent to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Kids interact with a dozen large-scale sculptures and installations. Snap a requisite selfie in front of the Robert Indiana Love sculpture on your way out. 

Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Museum of Art

7) Thr3e Wise Men Picnic tables and buckets of free popcorn make this restaurant in the Broad Ripple district a fun option for families. Parents sip pints of brewed-on-site craft beer while kids play with balls of pizza dough. The menu lists hot sub sandwiches, calzones and thin-crust pizzas (we're partial to the Basil Bunny Bruschetta with chicken and a balsamic glaze).

8) Imax Theater On the second floor of the Indiana State Museum, this six-story movie screen is the biggest in Indiana. The sound and pictures are so lifelike, they may be a little too intense for some youngsters. But if you’re in the mood for a memorable 3-D film experience, this is your spot.

Photo courtesy of Imax Theater

9) Rhythm! Discovery Center This museum features an extensive collection of instruments from around the world, many available for playing. Strike an eight-foot gong drum, crash cymbals and play a xylophone, for starters. Signs helpfully guide visitors of all ages in how to make the most of each exhibit. 

10) Mug N Bun Park and flash your headlights for carhop service at this Hoosier drive-in, or dine at an outdoor picnic area. You'll find traditional diner fare like burgers, fries, hot dogs and onion rings washed down with a milkshake or a frosty mug of the secret-recipe root beer (you can buy gallons and half-gallons to-go).

Want to receive weekly digests of the midCetera blog? E-mail with the subject line "Subscribe".