Midwest Road Trips

From Museums to Prairies: 14 Fun Things to Do in Indianapolis with Kids

Indianapolis war memorial
Indianapolis War Memorial. credit: Pixabay

Indianapolis is a road trip away from several cities, like Chicago, Cincinnati,  and St. Louis. since it’s’ at the intersection of several interstates. From outdoor recreation to museums for families to sporting events, visitors will find fun activities for summertime travel along with school breaks. Here are the the top things to do in Indianapolis with kids.

Top 14 Things to Do in Indianapolis with Kids

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Indianapolis Zoo
White River State Park
Eiteljorg Museum
Indiana State Museum
Indiana War Memorial Plaza
The Central Canal
Newfields, A Place for Nature and the Arts
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
Indianapolis Colts at the Lucas Oil Stadium
Conner Prairie
Eagle Creek Park
Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Garden
William Harrison National Historic Site
Indianapolis Childrens Museum
Indianapolis Childrens Museum credit: Visit Indy

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

As the largest children’s museum in the U.S., it’s a museum for families. Not just littler kids, the diversity of exhibits is interesting to teens and adults as well. It offers 11 galleries across five floors and the Dinosphere: Now You’re in Their World is one of the top spaces to explore. 

Kids even get a dose of the arts with a Chihuly art glass display. There’s an outdoor area for kids to get active as well. 

Located at 3000 N. Meridian Way, it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (though it’s closed Mondays from mid-September through mid-March). Adult and kid admission varies by day and demand, though babies 2 and under are free. On the first Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., everyone gets in for $6. 

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Indianapolis Zoo
Indianapolis Zoo credit: Visit Indy

Indianapolis Zoo

Another must for families is the Indianapolis Zoo. Located in White River State Park, the zoo features five biomes: the desert, forest, ocean, plains and flights of fancy. Visitors can see animal demonstrations and special animal encounters (extra fee). 

Located at 1200 W. Washington St.. Open Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to at least 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday from spring until fall with extended hours during the summer. During the winter the Indianapolis Zoo is closed Monday and Tuesday. Adult and kids admission varies by the day and demand though babies 2 and under are free.

White River State Park
White River State Park credit: Visit Indy

White River State Park

Located in downtown Indianapolis, White River State Park is on both sides of the White River and is 267 acres in size. It is home to the Indianapolis Zoo, Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana State Museum, Victory Field, and many memorials. There is lots of green space for playing and picnicking, along with trails and walkways. 

Located at 801 W. Washington St., it is Open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. The park is free to enter, but the attractions are extra.

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Eiteljorg Museum
Eiteljorg Museum credit: Visit Indy

Eiteljorg Museum

Visit the one of only two museums dedicated to the art, history and cultures of the American West and American Indians east of the Mississippi River. See traditional art of the West along with contemporary art by artist of the Indian Nations of North America. 

Located at 500 W. Washington St., inside of White River State Park. Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $20, youth ( 5 and 17) are $12, and children 4 and younger enter for free.

Indiana State Museum
Indiana State Museum credit: Visit Indy

Indiana State Museum

Dedicated to the history, both human and natural, of the state of Indiana, from prehistoric times to the present day. See everything from dinosaur bones to the arts of the First Nations of Indiana. It is also home to an IMAX Theater. 

Located at 650 W. Washington St., inside White River State Park. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $20 and youth (3 to 17) are $14. 

Central Canal
Indianapolis Central Canal credit: Pixabay

The Central Canal 

The Indy Canal Walk is a 3-mile loop that connects White River State Park with the Indiana State Museum and Victory Field. It serves as a walkway through downtown Indianapolis and is popular with tourists and locals. During the summer season, kayaks are available for rent, and there’s even a gondolier. 

Free to enter. 

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Indianapolis war memorial
Indianapolis War Memorial Plaza. credit: Pixabay

Indiana War Memorial Plaza

In Downtown Indianapolis, 25 acres are dedicated to memorials to several wars in history. Honoring veterans, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Indiana World War Memorial and Museum, University Park, American Legion Mall, Veteran’s Memorial Plaza and USS Indianapolis CA 35 Memorial are located there.

The Indiana War Memorial Museum offers 30,000 feet of indoor space to explore. The Shrine Room is particularly important. 

Located in Downtown Indianapolis between N. Michigan Ave. and N. Pennsylvania Ave. at Vermont Ave., the Indiana War Memorial is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free to enter. 

Newfields
The Lilly House at Newfieds credit Visit Indy

Newfields, A Place for Nature and the Arts

With gardens, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and a nature park, it’s an easy art museum to visit with kids. The complex includes 152 acres and is one of the best art museums in the country, with a cafe, beer garden and museum store. This is the location of the Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture, who was born in Indiana. 

Located at 4000 N. Michigan Ave. The museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday for the majority of the year. Summer hours extend to 8 p.m. on Thursday to Saturday. Adult admission is $ 20, youth (6 to 17) are $13 and kids 5 and younger are free. 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Inside the famed 2.5-mile loop, find a museum dedicated to motorsports and especially the legendary Indianapolis 500. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway  Museum offers several specialized tours for motor sports fans, the Kiss the Bricks tour and the Golf Course Private Tour.

Located at 4750 W 16th St. Seasonal hours: March to October from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and November to February 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Adult admission is $15 and $8 for youth between the ages of 6 and 15. Tickets are free for the first child 5 and younger ($2 for additional children 5 and younger). Additional tours are available; check its website for more information. 

Indianapolis Colts at the Lucas Oil Stadium

The home to the Indianapolis Colts. Take the family to an NFL football game at a stadium with a retractable roof while in Indy.

Located at 500 S. Capitol Ave. Adults are $15 and kids (4 to 12) are $12.

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Conner Prairie
Conner Prairie credit: Visit Indy

Conner Prairie

Visit this 800-acre property to learn about the history and cultural heritage of early Indiana with costumed interpreters. The property is divided into areas based on different periods. This is one of the top things to do in Indianapolis with kids. 

Located at 13400 Allisonville Rd.  The outdoor interpretive is open from April until October. The indoor welcome center offers learning activities year-round. Winter hours (November through March) are Thursday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open for the rest of the year from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $25 and kids (2 to 12) are $19.

Eagle Creek Park

As the largest park in Indianapolis, Eagle Creek Park offers 3,900 acres of property for water and land activities. Visitors can find over 16 miles of hiking trails, a 36-hole golf course, a summertime concert series on Wednesday evenings and even a dog park. For visitors wanting to get out on the water, rent a paddleboard, canoe, kayak, pedal boat or rowboat. 

Located at 7840 W. 56th St. Open from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. during the summer and roughly follows the sunset. Daily admission is $6 per vehicle. 

Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Garden

The 10,000-square-foot Garfield Park Conservatory is an art deco structure housing a tropical oasis with palm trees, bananas, orchids, vanilla vines, coffee, and cacao trees. Additionally, the 3-acre sunken garden includes springtime tulip plantings and fountains. Don’t miss Blake’s garden, which encourages children to explore with their senses. In addition to the gardens, the 122-acre Garfield Park features an outdoor pool, playground, performing arts center, playing fields and courts. 

The Conservatory is located at 2505 Conservatory Dr. It is Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $4 for everyone over 3. 

William Harrison Presidential Site

Tour the home of Benjamin Harrison, the only U.S. president from Indiana, who served from 1889 to 1893. Learn about his presidency while touring the 10,000-square-foot Italianate home.  

Located at 1230 N. Delaware St., Open for guided tours only on  Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fridays on the hour, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays to 3 p.m. and Sundays on the hour from noon to 3 p.m.. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Adult admission is $16 and kids (5 to 17) are $11.

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Located at the intersection of several interstates, Indianapolis is a road trip away from several cities, like Chicago, Cincinnati,  and St. Louis. From sporting events to outdoor recreation to museums find the top things to do in Indianapolis with kids. Indianapolis offers families some top activities for summertime travel along with school breaks. Top Things to do in Indiana with Kids | Indianapolis with kids | Best Museums in Indianapolis for Families #Indy #Indianapolis

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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