Resources• Children's Museum of Indianapolis, www.childrensmuseum.org• The Indianapolis Zoo, www.indyzoo.com
Sharks, a carousel, a giant pig and Chihuly.
The connection to these things might not be obvious, but it would be if you’ve taken your kids to Indianapolis lately.
Most of Indianapolis’s top attractions are at least partly, if not entirely, indoors. So add a hotel with an indoor pool, and you’re set even in the winter.
The absolute must-see for families is The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The museum’s exterior looks like a giant dinosaur busting through the building. Inside is a floor-to-ceiling water clock and a colorful, four-story glass sculpture by artist Dale Chihuly.
The museum’s exhibits teach everything from chemistry to cultural awareness, but my kids liked the run-and-play area the best. There, they spun around on a full-sized carousel, prepared sandwiches inside a play house and got their shirts wet in the water play area.
The Indianapolis Zoo also offers indoor-outdoor activities, including a children’s petting zoo with a giant pig and a new shark-touching pool.
The indoor, bathtub-high pool is stocked with dozens of small, harmless but still scary-looking dogsharks. As zoo staff supervise, your children can safely reach in and touch the sharks as they slither past.
Other things to like about Indy:
• It’s just a three-hour drive from Chicago (if you steer clear of construction).
• It’s cheap. A nice hotel room for a family of four in downtown Indianapolis—with an indoor pool—cost us $100 a night.
• It’s easy to find your way around and everything is close by. An emergency change of clothes or nap are only minutes away.
• There are lots of leisure activities, weather permitting, such as a carriage ride through downtown or a stroll along the Canal Walk.