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Blog Ambassadors Find the Hidden Gems of the Sports Experience

Throughout the year we'll hear from eight bloggers as they share about their family's time in the Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience and how it inspires them to explore these sports back at home. 

This post was written by Children's Museum Blog Ambassador Jeanine Bobenmoyer. Follow her posts on the blog and follow her on Twitter @themomista

Friends, I write this facing the inevitable: 

Summer is coming in hot. 

I don't mean temp-wise {although the consistent weeks of 80-degree weather certainly indicates so}, but rather with lightning speed in the rearview mirror. And aside from our regular family vacation to Michigan + the occasional swim lesson, I can say for the first of many summers past, I have nothing planned. 

This is a new thing for us: As the Adventurer Family, I'm forever glued to lists of must-try's and go-theres, planning our next exploration until my heart's content. And as the Chief Mom Officer of theCityMoms, planning is a part of my DNA to keeping things running smoothly. 

For as wonderful as my enthusiasm for careful planning is though, some of the best adventures our family enjoyed were spur of the moment outings: The time we decided to stay an extra night at Clifty Falls State Park and spotted shooting stars rocketing over the Ohio River. My husband and I walking through a side door in Puerto Vallarta on our honeymoon and discovering what to this day is still the best restaurant meal I've ever eaten... you get the point! 

So when the kids got in the car at school pickup one day and begged to hit The Children's Museum, I embraced my inner spontaneity, said YES and away we went. {I have a feeling this will be the first of many spur-of-the-moment outings to come this summer.}

We decided to hit the sports experience during our visit and you know what we discovered? A few hidden gems of the that we just plum didn't realize! Had I gone and planned the crazy out of our visit, I would have totally missed these! Let's walk through them:

  • There's special programming available every day. Drills and Skills? I need 'em. These daily programs in the sports experience offer a glimpse into the how-tos of a specific feature sport, highlight legendary athletes, and help slide in a little fitness on the side. These sessions are recommended for ages 6+. Most occur hourly throughout the day but check the calendar for exact times. 

  • Weekends are way fun. Okay so is every day in the sports experience but when I was peeking through the museum calendar I realized that weekends bring many different treats. Proof: Member Morning Weekends (the first weekend of every month) allow members early access from 9–10 a.m. now on BOTH Saturdays + Sundays. Just show your membership card at the door and boom! You're in. Also, whether you're a member or not: {I'm still 'kicking' myself for being out of town when Adam Vinatieri visited for the special Football Legendary Sports Saturday} but weekends are loaded up with guest appearances from local sports professionals, thanks to museum partnerships with folks like First Tee who come in to help with golfing skills, or Indy Fuel staff who come in for drills in the Fuel Tank, and so on. Again, keep an eye on that Museum calendar.

  • That staff knows their stuff. Okay so maybe their orange shirts don't make them so "hidden," but these genius coaches might as well be hidden in plain sight—talk. to. them! When I'd had enough of the kids serving lob after lob on me in the Seymour and Rheta Holt Tennis Center, I sidelined to the bench for a few and chatted up the "sports experience coach" in our area. I was blown away about his knowledge of tennis, even offering to lend me some tips for my backhand. Have q's? Ask away! These orange-shirted staffers could ace any test with their knowledge.

  • There's more out there than you may realize. I.e. keep exploring! On visit #5, I literally thought we'd seen it all until we turned a corner and noticed... while we had pedal-car'ed our way down the Church Brothers Collision Repair Drag Strip on a past visit, I'd completely overlooked the oval track in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pedal Car Racetrack Experience {enter shocked face here}. Like how have we missed a chance to see that adorable mini Yard of Bricks?!  We are always discovering something new to get into and that's because the entire experience is jam-packed with activities in every corner. So make sure you explore them all. 

Whether you're an avid planner like I am or have no problem channeling your spontaneous side, keep these Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience hidden gems in the back of your mind for future visits. Just don't mind the kids at the entrance modeling their future famous-athlete personalities—they're mine.

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Categories: Blog Ambassadors, Exhibits
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