Exciting exhibitions, plenty of green spaces and interesting attractions that appeal to all ages makes Indianapolis the ideal family holiday destination. Here are our suggestions of great places in Indianapolis for kids to discover and enjoy.
The Indianapolis Zoo and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis both have launched new, must-see additions as of May 2014. At the zoo, visitors can interact with nine great apes at the International Orangutan Center, the only facility of its kind in the Midwest. The exhibit recreates a natural rainforest habitat, adding in stunning features like a 150-foot Beacon of Hope that the orangutans activate themselves and the Hutan Trail, a “highway” system of overhead cables the apes can use to travel throughout the zoo.
Also in May, Terra Cotta Warriors: The Emperor’s Painted Army arrives at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (the largest children’s museum in the world) to wow visitors with their intricately detailed carvings and mysterious origins. These noble clay figures were discovered in rural China in the 1970s, but date back 2,200 years and are thought to protect the tomb of China’s first emperor. The warriors and related artifacts are on display until November 2, 2014; the unveiling coordinates with the new Take Me There: China Exhibition, an immersive presentation of contemporary Chinese culture.
If you’re looking for places to explore the great outdoors, Indianapolis is packed with parks and recreational venues where kids can burn off excess energy. Downtown, the expansive 250-acre White River State Park incorporates open green space and a string of popular destinations including the Indiana State Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and the NCAA Hall of Champions and Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians baseball team. The canal walk runs through the park, and is ideal territory for a scenic urban stroll, paddleboat ride, or a fun bike excursion. It also connects to the 8-mile Indianapolis Cultural Trail, which leads to other prominent downtown cultural districts.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is required viewing for first-time Indy visitors, where bus tours lap the famous oval track and the Hall of Fame Museum elicits oohs and ahhs with the hallowed Borg-Warner Trophy and an impressive display of 75 race cars. On the other side of 16th Street in Speedway, the Dallara IndyCar Factory captures the modern side of racing with high-tech displays and simulators.
History comes alive at Conner Prairie, an interactive living history museum where guests can mix and mingle with costumed interpreters in an 1836 pioneer village, explore a rustic nature path and Civil War-themed play area, and rise above it all in a 1859 hot-air balloon.
Header image Indianapolis skyline © Rudolf Balasko/iStock/Thinkstock
Lead photo Indianapolis Indiana © Jeremy Edwards/iStock/Thinkstock
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Have you been to Indianapolis before? Where are your favourite family-friendly attractions in the city? Tell us your suggestions for great places in Indianapolis for kids in the comments section below.
Written by Amy Lynch
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About the author: AmyLynchAmy Lynch
Amy Lynch is a freelance writer and editor in Indianapolis, Ind., and has traveled extensively throughout the United States and western Europe. A member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association, Amy’s work has appeared in Delta Sky, the Chicago Tribune, Midwest Living, Indianapolis Monthly, Cincinnati Magazine and Draft.