Indiana is home to auto racing and Hoosier Hysteria, but there’s an even better reason to take kids there: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
It claims to be the largest in the world and my family of veteran museumgoers considers it one of the best. The experience starts as you drive up and see the giant dinosaur family that appears to be busting out of the building. It just gets better inside, where the museum houses one of the largest displays of juvenile and family dinosaur fossils in the U.S. In addition to the dinosaurs, the museum is home to interactive and educational exhibits and a soaring Chihuly blown-glass sculpture that greets visitors just inside the door. The newest exhibit, "The Power of Children: Making a Difference," celebrates kid heroes such as Anne Frank and Ryan White "whose lives teach us about overcoming obstacles to make a difference in the world."
The city also is home to auto racing. It hosts four big races, but the best known is the Indianapolis 500, on May 24. The race is celebrating its centennial this year throughout the month of May, including the 500 Festival at Kids’ Day on May 17. Billed as the largest outdoor free kids’ event in the state, it includes free live performances at the Hilbert Circle Theater, mini-car racing, inflatables and arts and crafts.
On the sports front, Indianapolis also is home to the NCAA Hall of Champions honoring college student athletes. The hall is scheduled to reopen this spring after a fire. Curators are promising more interactivity, the key to kid happiness.
Don’t miss a stop at the Indianapolis Zoo, which puts visitors on display for the dolphins. In the world’s first completely submerged dolphin-viewing exhibit, people walk through while the dolphins swim over and around them.
• 500 Festival at Kids’ Day