Located near the center of Indiana, Indianapolis is a big city that is perfect for a family getaway. Take a tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, enjoy a gondola ride at White River State Park or visit one (or more) of the seven museums conveniently located near downtown Indy. Between the restaurants, attractions and events, there are so many great things to do in Indianapolis.
There is so much to see and do at the Indianapolis Zoo, including the world's largest shark touch tank, an impressive dolphin show with an underwater viewing area, the International Orangutan Center where you can get up close look at the zoo's 9 orangutans, the White River Gardens (a beautiful botanical garden) and over 2,000 animals including: Elephants, Lions, Tigers, Bears, White Rhinos, Giraffes and Ostrich, Cheetahs and much more.
Throughout the course of the day, zookeeper hold short educational programs at various locations. During these animal chats and presentations, you have an opportunity to see the animals up close and learn interesting facts from the zookeepers at the exhibit.
Insider Tip: Make a note of the times and locations of the programs you want to visit to ensure you don't miss the demonstration. While the Chats & Presentations are free, you can also sign up and purchase ticket for additional zoo experiences (like feeding the animals).
Plan to spend a half day or more exploring all the zoo has to offer. And remember to stop by the White River Gardens before you leave. The entrance to the botanical gardens is right by the main zoo gates.
1200 West Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46222
Indianapolis Children's Museum
The children's museum of Indianapolis is the worlds largest children's museum and you cannot even grasp the size until you visit. It is HUGE and simply amazing. The museum has both indoor and outdoor activities. If you are a first time visitor, plan to spend the entire day at the museum.
Insider Tip: If you live in Indianapolis or will be visiting multiple times throughout the year, consider purchasing a membership to the museum. This will allow you to slowly explore the museum over multiple visits instead of trying to fit it all into one day. There is a lot to do!
The museum has a wide variety of indoor exhibits and hands on experiences. Some of our favorites included Dinosphere an interactive dinosaur exhibit, ScienceWork the hands on science center, and Beyond Spaceship Earth where we learned what it takes to be an astronaut. Of course that is just the tip of the ice burg because there are five floors of activities. Yes, it is HUGE!
And if the indoor activities weren't enough, in March 2018 they opened an amazing Sports Legends Experience that includes 12 outdoor sports areas and covers seven acres. Again, it is HUGE and so much fun. All the sports areas are designed to allow the kids to try out each activities. We spent 2 hours outside with the kids trying out running, tennis, basketball, soccer and even putt-putt on a one of a kind miniature golf course.
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
3000 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
Did you know that the Indy 500 is the largest single day sporting event in the world?! The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is located a short drive from downtown Indianapolis and the museum is located just inside the gates. Inside you'll get a chance to see various type of historic and current race cars, photographs, trophies, and racing memorabilia. You even get a chance to sit inside a real Indy Car.
Insider Tip: For $5, they will take a photo of you sitting in the Indy Car and give you a printed and electronic copy of the picture. You can use your own camera and take a picture for free.
Guest also have the option of purchasing guided tours of the speedway. Including a Full Grounds Tour, Behind the Scenes Tour (Pagoda Plaza with stops through Gasoline Alley) and a Kiss the Bricks Tour. We had a great time on the Kiss the Bricks Tour.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
4790 W. 16th St, Indianapolis, IN 46222
Located in Fishers Indiana, a short 30 minute drive from the city of Indianapolis is Conner Prairie, an amazing living history museum. Conner Prairie spans hundreds of acres and offers a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. The entire experience is extremely unique and the interactive exhibits are both fun and educational.
While inside the museum, there are many places to create and play. From the huge indoor play area designed for kids under 8 (including a section specifically for babies) to the various learning stations with different hands on activities.
The outdoor grounds of Conner Prairie is an extremely unique experience and includes an Indian Camp, Prairie Town, Civil War Journey, Balloon Voyage (where you can ride in a tethered balloon) and even a 4-story treehouse at the new Treetop Outpost. In each area there are characters dressed in historical attire who explain what like was like during the specific time period. It's such a great way to make history come alive and capture the interests of all ages.
You could easily spend a full day exploring all the things to do at Conner Prairie.
13400 Allisonville Rd Fishers, IN 46038
Indianapolis Museum of Art is now Newfields
The Indianapolis Museum of Art is now know as Newfields and it's one spot in Indy that art and nature lovers will enjoy. With both indoor and outdoor exhibits and activities it's a great place to bring the entire family. The museum is one of the top ten largest art museums in the country and it's collection is quite impressive.
In addition to the flour floors of galleries, there acres upon acres of gardens to explore outsite. We spent most of our time enjoying the gardens and even toured the Lily House a historical mansion from the 1920's. The decorations, furniture and artifacts in the Lily house are absolutely beautiful and as you tour the house you will feel like you stepped back in time. Keep an eye out for the secret staircase in one of the rooms.
Visitor who go to Newfields this summer are in for a special treat as they will experience the Summer Wonderland: Spectacular Creatures exhibit. The exhibit consists of huge brightly colored plastic animals made from recycled materials. The animals are located throughout the entire campus. It's a fun exhibit that makes for some great photo ops!
Insider Tip: The Summer Wonderland: Spectacular Creatures exhibit is only at Newfields until August 26, 2018. Plan your visit today so you don't miss it!
Remember to also check out 100 Acres: Virginia B Fairbanks Art and Nature Park which consists of walking trails and unique sculptures and artwork that you can interact with. It's a fantastic combination of art and nature. Exactly what Newfields is all about. Plan to spend at least a half day browsing the artwork and enjoying the outdoor exhibits.
4000 Michigan Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46208
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
Bordering White River State Park, Eiteljorg Museum has some of the best Native American art in the world. In addition to the beautiful artwork and artifacts, there are many different hands on exhibits located throughout the galleries.
They even have an entire section for families located on the lower level. This area has dress up clothing, a life size stage coach and many other interactive exhibits specifically designed for children to learn through play. The combination of exhibits makes the museum a great destination for families visiting Indy.
Insider Tip: Make sure to visit the outdoor area behind the museum where you can see the canal and even enjoy lunch or a quick snack at the tables under the sun shades.
500 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
White River State Park
You will definitely want to explore this huge 250-acre park located right near downtown Indy. The Central Canal runs through the park and when it is warm you will often see gondolas, paddleboats and kayaks floating down the canal. One of the popular Indy signs is located in the park. Make sure to bring your camera so you can take advantage of the fun photo opportunity.
Bordering the park are some popular Indy attractions including the Indianapolis Zoo, Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana State Museum, and Victory Field (home of the AAA Indianapolis Indians baseball team).
White River State Park
801 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
NCAA Hall of Champions
The NCAA Hall of Champions is one of the 7 family attractions that border White River State Park and it's a great destination for families. The first floor of the museum provides a fun look at college athletics. You can even watch a short clip of a football game recorded by none other that Thomas Edison. The second floor is a full interactive experience with sports simulators, trivia games and small basketball court and a variety of sports equipment that you can touch and feel.
Plan to spend 1-2 hours browsing the museum and taking part in the interactive exhibits.
NCAA Hall of Champions
700 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Bru Burger is one of our top returant choices when visiting Indy. The portions are large, the burgers are delicious and the salads were top notch. Kids meals were only $6 and included entree, fries and a drink. Remember to save room for one of their famous milkshakes.
One of the popular Indy signs is located right by the restaurant. Make sure to take advantage of the fun photo opportunity.
Bru Burger Bar
One of the popular Indy signs is located in the park. Make sure to bring your camera so you can take advantage of the fun photo opportunity.
It's no surprise that Scotty's Brewhouse is a favorite spot amoung locals as well as tourists. The food is delicious, they have a unique beer selection and the kids menu offers large portions at an affordable price.
One of the resturants is conveinatly located in downtown Indy and there are a few other locations nearby if you don't want to go into the city.
1 Virginia Ave #100, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Ordering a few pizzas to split is a great option when dining out as a family and Bazbeaux will not disappoint. The specialty pizzas and salads we ordered were delicious. They even even gluten free crusts.
329 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Wyliepalooza Ice Cream Emporium
If you like homemade ice cream, Wyliepalooza is one place you don't want to me. Th quaint and colorful family owned ice cream shop offers a variety of delicious homemade ice cream in classic and creative flavors. They also have non-dairy options available. Flavors are rotated on a daily basis, which just means you may want to visit more that once.
Wyliepalooza Ice Cream Emporium
5535 E Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46219
We were told that Longs was the best place to get doughnuts in Indy and we have to agree. In fact, it was so good that we went twice in four days. The doughnuts are made fresh daily and there are so many great options to choose from. Do yourself a favor and get a doughnut (or two) from Long's. Make sure to bring cash though as they don't accept cards.
1453 N Tremont St. Indianapolis, IN 46222; (317) 632-3741
2301 E Southport Rd. Indianapolis, Indiana 46227; (317) 783-1442
Now it's time for you to plan a getaway to Indianapolis! Head over to Visit Indy to find out more about the upcoming events, places to stay and other things to in Indy.