Just a three-hour drive away lies a wonderful urban oasis of
zoos, museums and-the best part for my tween girls-hotels connected
to shopping malls. On a recent three-day trip to Indianapolis, we
created our own music at the new percussion museum, learned about
Indiana history in the State Museum and dunked some basketballs at
the NCAA Hall of Champions. The biggest problem with our trip? We
didn't have enough time to do everything we wanted.
If you're ready for a vacation sans cancelled flights and
miles on the road, put these Indy hot spots on your
We stayed courtesy of the Omni Severin in downtown Indy,
attached by a walkway to the downtown mall and quick access to food
courts, restaurants and shopping. The city's restaurant choices run
the gamut from fancy steak houses to cozy Italian mom-and-pop
joints. The downtown is easy to navigate by car and on foot, and
many of the museums and the zoo are located in one area of the
Rhythm! Discovery Center
This new museum is tucked into the lower level of a Panera
Bread store in downtown Indy. While it's not a big museum, it was
perfect for an hour-long visit. We especially loved the area filled
with dozens of percussion instruments to try out. Even better,
there are two recording studios with drum sets and bongos where my
kids spent quite a bit of time recording their drumming and then
playing it back.
NCAA Hall of Champions
The weekend we visited Indy was quite chilly, so when my
kids walked into this museum and saw the basketball court and
basketballs, they needed no encouragement to run and play. The area
to throw footballs and kick soccer balls at targets was also a
great way to play while learning about sports. Kiosks held
information and sometimes interactive features on 23 college
Indianapolis Children's Museum
This hands-on museum is the largest of its kind in the
world and is an absolute can't-miss on a trip to Indy with young
children. Kids can climb a limestone wall, sail a boat, explore
life underground and check out what's under wraps in the mummy's
tomb. In June, National Geographic's Treasures of the Earth will
come to the museum for an open-ended run. Kids can go on
interactive treasure hunts, dig in excavation sites or explore
shipwrecks. Free parking is across the street, connected by a
covered walkway, and the food court has family-friendly
Iaria's Italian Restaurant
This four-generation Italian restaurant on the edge of
Indy's downtown was our favorite during our trip. The food tasted
like Grandma was slaving away in the kitchen. If you're going to
visit, make reservations because it's wildly popular and
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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