Here are 7 things to do with kids in Indianapolis that you might not have tried yet. Have fun!
1. Become a Junior Dolphin Trainer at the Indianapolis Zoo. When we wanted to do a special birthday “experience” for my son, we took the family and his best bud to the zoo and got them junior dolphin trainer tickets. It is $10 (per trainer) and it comes with a special badge on a lanyard. Watching my son walk around the zoo with that badge elicited looks of pride and wonder. Truly. At the dolphin show, the whole family gets to sit in a special reserved seating and when the time comes, one of the marine mammal trainers call junior trainers down to assist in giving cues to the dolphins during the show. It’s a fantastic, memorable experience for ages 5+. Although, you shouldn’t let the name “junior” fool you – I’ve seen a senior participate too. For more information see the Indianapolis Zoo website.
2. Visit the Learning Curve at the Central Library. The Learning Curve at Central Library is devoted to creating an environment of hands-on learning and high-tech exploration for children. It is designed for children and touts 12 different sections such as early literacy stations, the green screen theater, media workshop and the baby zone. It’s not just books at the Learning Curve. Story times for kids up to age 5 are held every Friday at 11 am, family programs featuring music and theater are offered regularly, are free and are family-friendly. Weekends include scheduled time for games to play, step-by-step tech activities and featured activities, open lab for trying new technology and hands-on fun and open play. Check out the Learning Curve website for a current calendar. A bonus for me was visiting one of the most architecturally stunning buildings in Indianapolis.
3. Go to an Indiana Pacers game. Bringing your family to an NBA game will be unforgettable. The Pacers have been on fire this year! The excitement of the crowd, the cheering, the great basketball contributes to the fun atmosphere. Getting tickets won’t break the bank if you take advantage of “Two for Tuesday” or “Family Night” deals. Those tickets go quickly so make sure to plan ahead. Another option is to get together a group with friends or family to get a discount on tickets (10 or more qualify for group pricing). Check out the Pacers website for more information and pricing on tickets.
4. Take the kids to Victory Field for an Indianapolis Indians game. Spring brings with it bright sunshine, blooming flowers, warmer temperatures and baseball. Tickets are affordable (children under 2 are free) and the whole family can spread out on the lawn. If you have wiggly kids (who doesn’t?) the lawn is ideal seating where you can bring a picnic or enjoy concessions on the Dollar Menu on Monday nights. The Knot Hole Kids Club is for children 14 and under and is only $16. Membership includes a ticket to ALL 72 regular-season home games, a t-shirt, a chance to run the bases after games and more. The deals don’t end there with promotions like Two-for-One Tuesdays and Kids-Eat-Free Sundays. There isn’t any reason to pay full price for tickets when you can easily find a discount on the Indianapolis Indians Deals and Promotions page.
5. Attend a show at the Lilly Theater at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The live children’s performances that are presented at the Lily Theater at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis could easily be a stand-alone attraction. It can sometimes be overlooked when you are trying to cram everything there is to do at the museum in an afternoon. Which is why I think you should treat it like you would any play or musical. Plan to go and then hit the rest of the museum before or after. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis on the day of the show and are free with admission to the museum. Remember that a perk of museum membership is the ability to reserve tickets in advance of the show date. For more information about performances, dates and times see the Children’s Museum website.
6. Bring a picnic and enjoy nature at 100 Acres at Indianapolis Museum of Art. You should make no excuses to visit the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres when the weather is warm. The 100 Acres includes woodlands, wetlands, meadows, and a lake with art installations sprinkled throughout. Open from dawn to dusk, and located adjacent to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, it combines art and nature to serve as a perfect backdrop for a family outing. No need to fear your kids running wild in this “art gallery”. The art is meant to be touched and was designed specifically for a hands-on experience. Pack up a lunch and spend the afternoon in this beautiful and engaging park. Read tips for your visit before you go on the Indianapolis Museum of Art website. Admission is free.
7. Bird-Watching at the Eagle Creek Ornithology Center. We stumbled upon the Eagle Creek Ornithology Center on one of our many visits to Eagle Creek Park. Overlooking Eagle Creek Reservoir, you can spot Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons and Loons. Inside the center, you can attend one of their live “Meet a Raptor” program, spend some time birdwatching with their binoculars and bird guides and after, go on a picnic and take a nature walk around Eagle Creek Park. Programs are free (admission to the park is $5-6/vehicle).