The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Photo: Flickr)

Indy has loads of one-of-a-kind fun for families.

Spend an entire day (or two) at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis 

Think you’ve been there, done that when it comes to children’s museums? This one—which bills itself as the world’s largest—will change your mind thanks to 473,000 square feet containing 11 major galleries, a planetarium and even a carousel.  Among the many highlights are “National Geographic Treasures of the Earth,” where kids can dig at replicas of famous excavation sites and “All Aboard!,” which features a steam engine train built in the 1800s. Many exhibits are geared with kids up to age 12 in mind, while the new “Playscape” is designed for little ones up to three years old and is stocked with musical instruments, art supplies, water and sand tables, and a “nesting” area just for infants.

Get in the fast lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The home of the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 races is a fun place to visit even when it’s not race day. Learn the history of motorsports, get behind the scenes during a ground tour and even a minibus ride on the racetrack. Stop for a bite at the nearby Mug N Bun, a drive-in known for its homemade root beer that’s been a beloved part of the city for more than 50 years.

Talk a stroll or a bike ride along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail

This newly revamped, eight-mile path connects five of the city’s cultural districts and boasts public art installations throughout.  A bike share program is set to start here next year. In the meantime rent from Wheel Fun Rentals in White River State Park, which is also home several major attractions including the Indianapolis Zoo.

Get sporty at the NCAA Hall of Champions

College sports fans young and old will go nuts at this museum/sports complex, with two floors of interactive exhibits that cover all 23 NCAA sports and simulators that allow visitors to virtually experience what it’s like to face a 100mph hour tennis ball and test their basketball skills.  It’s a bargain at just a $5 admission price for adults and $3 for kids (ages 5 and under are free).

Make some noise at Rhythm Discovery Center

Kids who like to bang and stomp and clap won’t bother anyone at this interactive museum dedicated to all things percussion. There’s a huge collection of instruments from all over the world, including some kids in a soundproof room that kids can try their hands on (maybe while you wait outside?).

Stop for a sweet treat at Long’s Bakery

If you see a long, winding line you’ll know you’ve come to the right place. This hole-in-the-wall spot—an Indy institution—makes what locals swear are the best doughnuts anywhere. The glazed yeast doughnuts have an intense following, but the cake doughnuts, cinnamon “fries” and blueberry cake have plenty of fans, too.

Ready to get away? Check out great deals on Indianapolis vacations from Orbitz.

Tagged: Family time

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