My husband is an extremely talented audio engineer. So talented in fact, that we recently flew to Indiana just for him to repair the sound system at a church there. Okay, maybe not just for that.
One of the amazing (good AND bad) things about living in New York City is the transient nature of this town. People tend to come and go, and as a result, we have friends all over the world… including one of my best friends in Indiana, whose church is was that brought us out there.
But it couldn’t be all work and no play while visiting the Midwest! So, one day, while David was hard at work training the team there on their gear, I borrowed my friends car and headed to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis with Miles.
Whenever we have time on our travels, children’s museums are pretty popular with the Fowler family, and we’ve visited some great ones. We’ve had a membership to the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey for a few years now, as well as visited ones in Kansas City and Miami.
Billed as the largest Children’s Museum IN THE WORLD, it touts a 482,950 square-foot campus situated on 29 acres, a 130,000+ object collection, and more than 1.2 million visitors a year! And it did not disappoint.
We walked in to find a full-size Transformer — a 17-foot Bumblebee, originally built as a prop for the 2007 movie. By this point, I knew this place was something special.
After seeing these guys peeking into the building, it was pretty easy to decide on our first stop: the Dinosphere.
It really is a gorgeous exhibit. As the name implies, it’s a sphere, similar to a planetarium, complete with adjusting lights and the occasional “thunderstorm.” In addition to the impressive dinos themselves, there is also an area where your little paleontologist can dig up fossils of their own, as well as somewhere they can get their hands on a T-rex bone.
Back in the 1890’s, the Reuben Wells was the most powerful locomotive in the world. At this perfect-for-train-lovers exhibit, Miles was able to explore an old train car, play with some of his favorites on a classic wooden railway, and “sell” tickets to other kids at the pretend station.
After a little wandering, we found ourselves at the top of the Chocolate Slide. There’s a chance we went down it more than once – three times to be exact. There’s no faster way to get between floors!
BONUS: On the same floor as the bottom of the slide, you’ll find a sculpture from famed artist, Dale Chihuly: Fireworks of Glass. Featuring over 3,200 stunning pieces of brilliant blown glass, this beauty stands 43 feet tall!
Next up was American Pop, a little something for mom. From fashion to board games to music to television, this exhibit is something of a time capsule. I loved it! I got to see a collection of iconic shoes – everything from saddle shoes to Vans slip-ons – as well memorabilia from some of my favorites, like an autographed NKOTB poster.
As nostalgic as it was for me, Miles quickly bored of the pop culture history lesson, and we moved on to what I think is one of the most powerful exhibits I’ve ever seen in a children’s museum. It’s called Power of Children and it focuses on the lives of three young people who made a profound impact on the world: Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges, and Ryan White. While Miles is still a little young to understand the seriousness of what those kids went through, it was enough to get some really interesting conversations going about prejudice and injustice.
Our final stop before heading home was China, er, I mean, the Take Me There: China exhibit. From what I can tell, this is a rotating exhibit that give families a chance to visit foreign lands (previously, it was Egypt). It was lovely! It’s immersive, and kicks off with a simulated plane ride over the Great Wall of China. There is a place to practice your chopsticks skills, learn about panda conservation, and write your name in Chinese characters.
And just like that, it was time to head home. It’s crazy to me that we were able to experience so much, knowing that we didn’t even make it to half of the exhibits, and there are even more open in the summertime! If you have kids, and find yourself in/near Indianapolis, I highly recommend a visit to this impressive museum.
What’s been your favorite place to experience with your kids? Anywhere we should check out if we’re ever in your neck of the woods? I’d love to hear about it!