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Children Museum In Indianapolis

History is Our Guide

I feel lucky growing up in Indianapolis. I remember getting to visit the Children's Museum of Indianapolis in school. It was great exploring the Native American village, touching a real polar bear, and so much more. Then, coming back with my mom and seeing all the transformations. Seeing the Water Clock installed, the IMAX theatre, the Chihuly, the Dinosphere and now even more.

However, my favorite thing was ALWAYS riding the stationary bike up in ScienceWorks. It was my one singular mission when visiting. I was made sure I ate right and got a good stretch in then, it was on like Donkey kong. Starting with the light bulb, then like a fan, and maybe a radio, and the big deal was to get that black and white television to come to life. I could only keep it on for like 10 seconds but people would stand around and be in absolute awe. It was the most incredible experience. As soon as it was over, I'd have to be wheeled out from the massive cramping in my legs. It was so totally worth it.

Jump forward and I'm bringing my family to the TCM and they are whispering to each other from across the room, playing in Playscape, riding the Carousel, sitting in an Indy Car. Oh, and don't tell anyone about the 5 minutes I lost the kiddo in that black light maze across from the Carousel!

Name: Jamie Hastings-Smith

Something for Everyone

ExplorerWe visit The Children's Museum of Indianapolis a lot! We moved to Indiana from England in September last year and we love to come to the museum with our 4 and almost 2 year old. We also always bring family when they are visiting from England and they love it too! We love exploring Science works and love seeing the water clock especially at 1pm! My 4 yr old loves the dinosaurs (even though he spends half his time with his hands over his ears because of the thunder!) We always go on the carousel.

One of our favourite exhibits is Egypt. The grandparents have visited egypt and it was great to go to the exhibit with them and see what they experienced but also learn about how egyptians live. My almost 2 yr old loves aeroplanes and my 4 year old loves pretend play, so there is something for everyone.

Even though we are regular visitors (once a month) we always discover something new at the childrens museum.

Name: Joanne Jones

We Love the Children's Museum!

ExplorerWe got our first Children's Museum of Indianapolis membership when my daughter turned one. Four years later, we still love to visit the museum! There have been a lot of changes over the last few years, but many of our greatest family memories have taken place there. We started a fun Halloween tradition of partaking in the Breakfast with the Witches every October, complete with a walk through the Haunted House. My daughter visits with the wonderful Santa at the Museum's 'Jolly Days' exhibit every year, and she always looks forward to "skating" at the exhibit and going down the enormous slide! We visit Bucky and Stan every time we go to the museum, and my girly-girl is a big fan of the Barbie exhibit. When my daughter was small, the Playscape provided a fun and safe place for her to explore, and as she's gotten older, ScienceWorks has become a new and fun place to learn. I forsee our family maintaining our membership for years to come-- the Children's Museum grows along with my child!

Name: Nikki Jasper

A Funny Moment

Once when I was at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis with my grandma, my sister and my little cousin, we were in the cafeteria. My grandma and I were spelling things out, like how my cousin looked tired. Then all of a sudden we hear eieio come from my cousin. We thought in our mind maybe she was saying, I can spell too!!! It was hilarious!!!!

Name: Lacie Allen


If we teach our kids to be curious when they are young, they will enjoy a lifetime of continuous learning which leads to on-going self development and personal growth. Each and every time we visit The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, we all - not just the kids - explore, discover, and learn something new. It can be a fact. It can be a feature within an exhibit. It can be a new skill. It can even be the realization that through exploring, trying new things and learning, you can do anything you set your mind to.

This became crystal clear on a visit a few years back (we travel from the far Northwest suburbs of Chicago about six times throughout the year to the museum). Our son was four years old at the time and was insistent upon scaling the climbing wall. We figured, why not let him give it a shot? He donned the protective gear, belted up, and began his climb - only to repeatedly get stuck on the second foot hold without being able to advance.

With a little encouragement, and a LOT of assistance from museum staff, he repositioned himself and tried and tried and tried until he reached the top of that wall. Sounds pretty ordinary since most young first timers at the climbing wall experience the same thing, right? Right.

And that's the point.

He tried something new! He explored something he had not previously experienced. He learned to have confidence and not give up. He realized if he set his sights on reaching the top of the wall, he could and would find a way to get there. What a great lesson to learn (from a climbing wall, no less!) that with an open mind, a little determination, and a bit of help from others, he can and will do anything.

Name: Corky Heath

I don't wanna go home just yet!

My three year old and I love to visit, and we do so often! We were there today, and I have to say....each visit I have to get more and more creative as to how to get her to AGREE to leave (it's getting to the point where bribes dont work LOL). She LOVES The Children's Museum of Indianapolis and spends the last hour of each visit saying "I don't wanna go home just yet" so we always narrow down a few things to do just 'one more time' before we go home, always including a second ride on the carousel. Today however, I had to get especially creative and tell her the museum was closing up and we had to leave before they closed, otherwise we would get locked in for the night and poor Dada would be so lonely at home without his two favorite girlies. Then she said "yeah and then he would have to break down the door and come rescue us!" LOL So she decided it was best to NOT get locked in the museum, head home and cook some dinner for dada since he was on his way home from work. Three year olds are the BEST! And so is the Indy Children's Museum!

Name: Angela Richardson

Our Favorite Family Destination

ExplorersWe absolutely LOVE the Indianapolis Children's Museum! We have four kids in our family (five, if you count me, but I'm the dad) and we all have a great experience every time we visit the Children's Museum. We usually arrive at 10am, right when the museum opens, so we can explore without much of a crowd. Our first destination each time is the fourth floor, right to the carousel. Depending on who we are with (we have a family +2 pass to bring visitors) our visit after the carousel is always different. We usually only have time to visit two floors per visit, because there is so much to see!

All of our kids love to send coins down the funnel on the way to Science Works on the fourth floor. Our youngest two absolutely adore the playscape on the third floor. We still have a 10x10 photo on our wall, taken in 2007, of one of our children with an apron on in the water area, holding a plastic boat with a giant smile on his face! Our oldest two children love the Egypt exhibit on the second floor, and all three girls love the Barbie exhibit. All of our children love the dinosaur exhibit, especially the "excavation" area where goggles are required.

At our last visit, which was yesterday for our son's birthday, our son and oldest daughter spent 25-30 minutes using tweezers to search a container of rocks for small pieces of amber, quartz, and dinosaur bones. They would hand each small rock or fossil to a very kind volunteer who would tell them what he thought about their discovery.

We also love the Chihuly glass exhibit and especially the large arrangement of glass pieces that is visible from all four stories. On one occasion, we were fortunate to be at the museum when someone was working on cleaning the glass pieces. He was hanging from the ceiling with a long pole that had some type of feather duster attached. The kids enjoyed spending some quality time watching the worker carefully dust each individual piece of glass art in this large sculpture.

ExplorersOne of our favorite memories of the Children's Museum was visiting this last Christmas Eve. We were there before the museum opened, and it was already pretty busy. While we waited in the large open area by the water clock for the gates to open, about forty workers lined themselves above us on the second floor balcony looking down. After welcoming us to the museum, they all took out large white pom-poms and threw them down on us like snowballs! The kids loved it! They also loved receiving beautiful white polar bear stuffed animals later on during the visit. Not to mention going down the slide a few times, which is always a blast!

It is never fun to leave the Children's Museum. We have found a great solution to help with this transition. Our last stop for each visit is to the cafeteria, where each child gets to pick out their own giant cookie! This is the only time when our kids do not have to eat a regular meal before their dessert. They love it, and they know that we will be heading back to the parking garage afterwards. Because we visit so often, they really don't mind taking a cookie in exchange for leaving after a great time at the Children's Museum. Even if it wasn't the biggest and best in the world, it will always be our favorite place to visit as a family and the place where we always bring our out-of-state guests. We love you, our Indianapolis Children's Museum!

Name: Alan Culwell

Our Favorite Place on Earth

There are many reasons why we call The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis “Our Favorite Place on Earth”. Every Special Exhibit seems to have aligned perfectly with what our children were interested in at that time in their lives. Even the mainstays, such as the Carousel and Dinosphere remain interesting visit after visit.

When our boy-girl twins arrived to start our family in 2005, we began driving from our home in Clayton, IN to splash and play at Playscape once a month. When they had fallen in love with Sesame Street, the Children’s Musuem opened the “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?” exhibit. The “Bob the Builder- Project Build It” was open at the same time and resulted in a Bob the Builder themed birthday party that year.

We relocated to southwestern Indiana in 2007, about a 2 hours drive away from the Children’s Museum. My parent’s (Nana and Pappy) became members of the museum at that time so we could begin to visit the museum together when we came into town. We were only able to visit every 2-3 months, but we always made a point to search the website for upcoming exhibits to plan our visits.

At age 2 and into the preschool years, the twins loved everything on PBS, so we brought along some friends to enjoy the “Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog” exhibit and were able to meet Curious George face-to-face.

When they turned 4, their interests began to become a little more gender-specific. The Children’s Museum answered perfectly, opening exhibits for LEGO Castle Adventures, and “Comic Book Heroes”, where my son was able see his new favorite mode-of-transportation; the Batmobile. For my daughter, we had to visit “Barbie The Fashion Experience” shortly after opening so she could marvel at all of the dolls and bask in being surrounded by her favorite color; pink.

In 2009, we welcomed one more addition to our family – a baby girl. Naturally, she began accompanying us on our museum trips, just in time for the museum to bring back the “Bob The Builder – Project Build It Exhibit”. It was surreal to watch as my now “big kids” showed their new sister around a similar exhibit in which they had just discovered themselves a few short years ago.

Shortly after turning 1 year old, our new daughter discovered Dora the Explorer. Her vocabulary began to consist of Dora characters like Dora, Boots, Map and Backpack. Her room and toy box began to become populated with Dora books and toys. To my amazement, the Children’s Museum answered again, opening “Dora & Diego Let’s Explore”. This time we made the trip for opening weekend. I’ll always remember the walk across the new walkway from the parking garage to the museum. At every posted sign with a Dora character, she would point and say “Dor-da” (her pronunciation of Dora). As we walked into the museum and she saw the huge Dora banner, signs and employee buttons, her smile began to spread as big as I have ever seen it. Her eyes truly sparkled as she looked around in wonder. Walking through the exhibit with our friends again, it was Heaven on Earth for this Dora-loving little girl.

ExplorersWith all of the memories we have built visiting the Special Exhibits, it still does not compare to the impact that Dinosphere has had on my son. He was 2 years old when we first visited the exhibit and was immediately hooked. Thus began his quest for knowledge about all things DINOSAUR. We began reading books about dinosaurs, watching BBC videos about “Prehistoric Planet” and every wrapped holiday and birthday gift since has contained a different dinosaur toy. It was always fascinating to friends and family that he could identify and pronounce the different dinosaur names and recite facts about them at such a young age. And after reading every dinosaur book at the local library (often more than once), the local librarian began holding new books with any dinosaur content aside for him to check-out on our weekly visit. At the beginning of kindergarten, the local paper asked each student what they wanted to be when they grew up. As most children answered that they wished to be a policeman or coal miner, my son replied as he has since asked initially at age 3: “I want to be a Paleontologist.”

Now 5 memberships later, we have been able to experience lots of what the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has to offer. We are thrilled to catch an occasional show at the Planetarium or Lilly Theatre, but we have settled into somewhat of a routine: Special Exhibit first, followed by the Carousel, the food court for lunch and saving our favorite for last, Dinosphere. We have to wait until we hear the “rain” and the children love to quickly find cover in the caves.

I heard a line in a movie recently referring to parenthood that stated, “you will never get used to Children’s Museums”. Although I can appreciate the humor, I couldn’t disagree more. Some of my favorite times have been watching my children explore and discover new things at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. We love to continue the learning long after our visit. A lot of times, this results in mom and dad learning something new as well. For the simple fact that my children opt to visit the Children’s Museum over any other choice of zoo, playground or amusement park, it truly is “Our Favorite Place on Earth”.

Name: Jamie Dugan

The Rock Wall

My daughter and I live in Louisville but visit The Children's Museum of Indianapolis a couple of times a year. One of our most memorable visits was in response to a Facebook challenge from the musuem for spring break week. We drove to the museum eager to be the first to post a picture of a sucessful climb on the rock wall. Only my daughter had never climbed the rock wall. And as I am not the least bit athletic, she looked very anxious when she learned that her mom was going to be the one holding the ropes as she climbed. I admit that I was a little anxious to learn that I was the one holding the ropes for my daughters climb! We watched as other children, tried and failed. And then it was Annabelle's turn. She kept saying, I trust you mom, I trust you to hold the ropes! And I was her biggest cheerleader telling her she could do it. We cheered each other on. And we had a GREAT musuem worker who helped guide her. Annabelle did not give up. She kept climbing. It was one of the proudest moments in both of our lives when she reached the top of the wall! We could not wait to drive home and post the picture!! Although, as I recall, I think we actually did the wrong challenge that week!

Name: Lisa Riley

Always Something New To Explore!

ExplorersMy 3 year old daughter and I visit the Children's Museum of Indianapolis at least once a week - and most of the time with friends! Seems like a lot, I know - but our visits are different every single time we go!

That is the great thing about having a Museum membership. We can visit 5 exhibits in one day or 2 - and it is still a wonderful time for all. One of my most favorite moments is how proud my daughter was the first time she rode a carousel horse that goes up and down all by herself. She was beaming with pride!

She loves the Science Works, with all of the water play and the rocks and "dirt". Every time we go she becomes brave and explores something new. During the last visit she ventured into the underground tunnels in the Science Works and came down the slide. She was so excited and did it again and again. We all did a fun lab at the Dinosaurs exhibit where we sorted out pieces of rock, teeth, bones and scales with a help of a resident Paleontologist. I was having as much or more fun learning about how to identify fossils as my daughter was!

The Playscape area is where we always end our day - she can play with her favorite things, sand, water and crayons!

We LOVE exploring the Children's Museum and feel so lucky to have such an awesome museum in our city.

Name: Jill Wilcox

Our Favorite Memory

ExplorerWe LOVE the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. The kids especially. If I were to ask my two year old her favorite part is the carousel. My five year old is in love with Barbie.

My seven year old could spend 2 hours playing with the Rube Goldberg Machine. He recently discovered the video game section up by the carousel. That night at dinner he went on and on about the "old" Nintendo and how Mario used to look. Boy did his dad suprise him when he dug up his "old" Nintendo from his youth and fire it up. He could not believe they had video games, "Way back then."

Name: Julie Shaver

Mother and Student

ExplorersI am a single mother of three, ages 4 to 17. We have visited The Children's Museum of Indianapolis at least 4 times since moving to Indiana in 2000. My oldest son loves Etch a Sketch and freaked out when he saw this exhibit. My middle child loves Lego and it took two and a half hours to get him away from this exhibit. As a total family the maze was the best. Although I must say that we are not very good at navigating. My sons are very science and math oriented and will pursue careers in this area. My daughter is new to it all, but is highly intelligent as well and is going to love the museum when she gets to go. Through the Titanic exhibit I was able to share and explain this historical event to my sons. Now when they say I am sorry, it was an accident and I did not mean to. My favorite response has always been "so was the Titanic, but thousands died."


Our Favorite Day

Tuesday is my children's favorite day of the week. My boys are 3 and 4 years old and are curious little guys. Every Monday we choose a theme and throughout the week we do projects to learn as much about the selected theme as possible. So why is Tuesday their favorite day? Because every Tuesday we get in the car and go to The Children's Museum of Indianapolis to discover something new about our theme. There are so many exhibits that we can always tie in our theme with one of them. Every week we come with a list of questions we want to find the answers for and search the related exhibit until we find all the answers and more! While we are there we usually come up with more questions and will seek out the staff who have always been informative and really great about answering the kid's questions. Our week of Dinosaurs was an amazing experience for the kid's. We have gone through the Dinosphere countless times but always learn something new. We spent 2 hours in the Dinosphere that Tuesday and my children still talk about it. My children love that the Indianapolis Children's Museum is a place that they can explore and discover new things each and every week.

Name: Ashley Berna

The Big Hunt

I think we are the biggest Children Museum of Indianapolis fans. My kids love going to the museum to see all the different exhibits. My 2 year old absolutely loves the Dora exhibit. We always have to take pictures of each Dora character every time we go, which we have about a hundred of the same picture but on different days. My 7 year old she just loves seeing everything—not one particular thing is her favorite she just likes them all.

Now my 5 year old son was born deaf son it’s a bit different to see him at the Children Museum. One of his favorite movies is National Treasures with Nicolas Cage. My son loves to scavenger hunt. That is more his speed because he can’t here he has to figure things out and that’s how he understand it. It would be exciting for our family to win the trip to Washington but it would be more excitieing to us if we could be selected as one of the 100 hundred families to go on the scavenger hunt that would be something my son would never forget.

Thank you
God Bless

Name: John Calmes

Indianapolis Children's Museum Memories

Im a single mommy of three great kiddos. We love going to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. We go about four or five times a year. We have learned sooo much from the museum, expecially from the exhibit that has Anne Frank, Ryan White, etc. One of the biggest things I try to teach my kids that my mom taught me is that it is never our place to judge anyone. This exhibit has great examples of how people, expecially kids have been judged and treatly badly by people. My kids are half black, so the exhibit really is a great example of how segregation has changed over time. I will admit that my son, who was about 7 at the time of the visit, was balling his eyes out when he saw some of the KKK stuff in the exhibit. It really scared him (he is very sensitive), but at the same time was a great example of how real this stuff really was and still is today. We look forward to continue coming to the museum for years to come and learning more and more from our visits. :)

Name: Candice Baker

My family

We visit The Children's Museum of Indianapolis often during the summer, about once a week. My family and I have learned a lot at the museum, my children love it. We all enjoyed the King Tut exhibit, we went three times. My wife loved it. We love to explore new things and places, it is a time for us to bond. We love the dinosaur gallery downstairs, the first time we took our soon he was only a year old and got really scared when the lighting effects came on. Now it's one of his favorite places in the museum.

Name: Richard Geisen

Instilling the Love of Learning

My husband and I, who both have teaching degrees, have the common goal to instill in our girls a love of learning. We try to give them opportunities to discover things on their own whenever possible. We offer guidance to help them get even more from the learning opportunity, but do it in a way that they think they did all on their own. It's so thrilling to see their faces light up when they feel successful.

The first time we visited the Children's Museum of Indianapolis we tried to cram as much as possible into our day trip. We didn't want to miss a thing, and we wanted to get our money's worth! We soon discovered, however, that rushing the kids through the museum made the experience not only stressful on us, the parents, but also on them. We decided to purchase a membership and now when we visit we allow them to decide which exhibits to visit and how long they'd like to stay. We never make it to very many different exhibits in each trip but they, and we, come away with so much more because we took the time to explore every aspect of the exhibit. We discover something new with each trip, even in the Dino exhibit which we visit every single time!

I highly recommend the membership program and have recruited a good number of families to join. The museum has so much to offer for all ages and helps provide learning opportunities in a very fun, interactive environment. It completely matches our parenting philosophy for teaching them to love learning. We just can't enough!

Name: Heather Bennett

Skaggs' Family Loves the Children's Museum

The Skaggs' Family consists of a Shirlene (Mom), Jeff (Dad), Jadyn (7 year old daughter), Jonah (3 year old son), Segan (2 year old son), Sammi (1 year old daughter). We try to visit the Children's Museum of Indianapolis as often as possible at least once per month. The Museum has so many different things to offer to my children. They all love riding the carousel and all of the temporary exhibits. My 7 year old daughter especially loves the Barbie Exhibit. Also, my 3 year old son loves the trains. My younger children always love the hands on nature of the Playscape and ScienceWorks.

I have so many amazing memories of the Children's Museum from all the way back when I was a kid but my most memorable was my most recent. My 7 year old daughter absolutely loves the Disney Princesses. She watched the Princess and the Frog and had a new favorite movie. So in April, I decided to surprise her with a live experience of the Frog Prince at the Lilly Theater. Her face just lit up completely when she saw what she was getting ready to watch. It was a phenomenal experience for her and I. The Skaggs' Family would be the biggest and best Children's Museum explorers because we have discovered nearly everything that the museum has to offer and we absolutely love it.

Name: Jeff Skaggs

Our Family♥

ExplorersOur family consists of three: Mom, Dad and Kaden. We try to come to The Children's Museum of Indianapolis at least once a month. We love to just spend the day exploring the different exhibits and activities! We haven't been since the addition of "Bumblebee" which will be a hit for our family.... Transformers is a favorite at our house. Kaden's 5th birthday was in March and the theme was Transformers!! I have wonderful pictures that were taken at The Children's Museum, especially when Kaden was younger in Playscape on a tractor and in the Dinosphere posing with dinos!! We love to be adventurous, often spending spring and summer outdoors at parks or Brown County! Riding the Carousel is a must every trip!! We love to find new things everytime we come and think a scavenger hunt sounds awesome!!

Name: Ashley Seagle

Always something new

ExplorerOur drive to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis is always the same: my two daughters are each allowed to choose three exhibits or activities they would like to explore that day. The negotiations can last ten minutes as they weigh all the options and try to add things we haven't seen for a while mixed with old standards (like the carousel).

But once we arrive they are most thrilled when we're able to add a special unexpected activity to our list. The first time we experienced such a detour, we made our own race cars in Playscape. Most recently we joined a class to design a dress in Barbie - my five-year-old now tells everyone that she knows how to make clothes. These unusual museum moments have been the most special and memorable for my kids. We've stood in a crowded room to count down to noon, we've been the only ones in the planetarium, we've drawn dragons, played Egyptian instruments, sung dozens of songs, learned Spanish, and then - perhaps most interesting to me - learned the subtle differences between rock and fossilized bone or wood.

The anticipation of exploring familiar areas keeps my young children excited about returning - but the anticipation of discovering new surprises keeps me excited to bring them.

Name: Heather Lusk