My kids have been dying to return to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (TCM). Even more so since my now 8-year-old is a HUGE dinosaur fan and also a future paleontologist. The TCM’s Dino Sphere is one of the best we’ve been to. Just recently, the museum has added a permanent 7.5 acre sports experience unlike any other around. That’s all we needed to hear to make the easy three and a half hour drive to Indianapolis.
How can you not get excited at the sight of dinosaurs climbing the building?
Highlights of Sports Legend Experience:
The Riley Children’s Health Sports Legend Experience hits on all the popular sports.
- Basketball. With four areas with hoops at different heights, anyone could play. Even my toddler could practice her b-ball skills. Looking for more of a challenge? Try the shot clock challenge instead.
- Football. We loved being on the miniature football field with turf.
The kids could practice throwing around the football, tackling wobbling players, or try kicking a field goal.
- Hockey. Try to score a goal past the goalie at the Indy Fuel Hockey Experience. Again, all ages can’t participate with small to large goals. Hockey sticks of all sizes are also available.
Unfortunately, with the weather (cold temps and drizzle) we couldn’t try everything. No worries – there’s always next time! Here’s what’s on our list:
- Racing experience with a drag strip, pedal car racetrack experience, winner’s circle.We all know car racing rules in Indy, and kids can experience the thrill of victory on two racing areas. Pedal your way to victory at the Drag Strip Experience. At the Pedal Car Racetrack Experience, racers use their leg muscles to pedal around the oval track to the finish line. Don’t miss the chance to take a photo in front of the famous Pagoda, a mini version.
- Golf. The courses are mini replicas of those found around the world. So neat!
- Baseball. A cute mini little stadium with a baseball field awaits.
- At the center of it all is this fun playground in disguise of a treehouse. Climb through different levels to scope out the view. Plus, it’s also totally accessible.
- Tennis, soccer, Fitness path, Run-Walk experience
Besides all the fun outdoors, Sports Legend Experience also includes a few indoor exhibits including the National Art Museum of Sports (NAMOS), The World of Sport, and the temporary exhibit, History of Hoops.
Highlights of Dinosphere:
- In Dinosphere, you’re transported to the Cretaceous period and dinosaurs roam all around you. In this recreated area, you’ll hear dinosaurs roaring and thunder.
- Pretend to be a dinosaur by dressing up as one or even sitting on eggs.
- Touching fossils.They have their very own dinosaur prep lab with real dinosaur bones. If you’re lucky, you’ll even be able to touch it!
- Digging fun. We were amazed at how focused and quiet everyone was while they were digging. (Those goggles are just too cute.)
- If you have a chance, there are tours throughout the day. Perfect if you want to learn more about these creatures that once ruled the earth.
Other Things To Do:
- Want to dig some more? Head to the Treasures of the Earth to search for Terra Cotta Warriors and see items actually used in the Indiana Jones movies.
- Young kids 6 and under (and their siblings) will love Playscape. Fun, playful exhibits range from a little tiny tots section, climbing apparatuses, water play (of course) and sand play, a music room, and a place for art.
- Ride on a 90+ year-old carousel, also a national historic monument, brought in from Indy’s Broad Ripple Park.
- All aboard! See the huge train that chugged along the steepest grade in the nation, pretend to sell tickets at the train station, and take in the scenic views from the pretend train ride.
- My personal favorite is looking at the Dale Chihuly’s art piece. If you head to the lower level you are able to see the bottom of the 43-foot glass sculpture. Amazing and beautiful! Kids and adults can lay down on a rotating circular couch and can marvel at the piece.
- Awesome children’s store. Good luck trying to leave without buying anything.
Tips to enjoy The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis:
- Don’t try to cram everything into a day! Take a look at their website and plan the exhibits you’d like to see.
- Want to save money? Visit on Thursdays for their free days.
- For nursing mothers, Playscape’s nursing room is heaven! Fit for 3 or so mothers at a time, they have everything you’d ever need – a bottle warmer section, private doors, a comfy chair, toys, and a tv screen playing educational shows, this nursing room was the best I’ve ever seen and it certainly made me wish I was nursing again to the advantage of this area. This just goes to show how thoughtful TCM was in putting together this area.
- Every section we went to there was a common theme presented. Everything is meant to encourage hands-on learning, TCM also advocates the Chang to let the kids’ imagination run wild with dress up areas in each section pertaining to that particular area.
- They have a concierge on the first floor by the Chihuly Fireworks of Glass exhibit. That person can do everything from making hotel/dinner reservations to providing directions to emergency diaper, band-aid etc.
- Looking for more tips to enjoy Sports Legend Experience? Check out these 5 handy tips from Let Me Give You Some Advice.
- Looking for a great souvenir? We loved the book created especially for The Children’s Museum – Larry Gets Lost in the Museum, that highlights some of the exhibits at the museum. You can even get it beforehand to get them even more excited.
Did you know?
- TCM is the only museum to have a public library, planetarium, and theatre
If you’re looking for THE best children’s museum around, definitely make the trip out to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. With the addition of Sports Legend Experience, it’s definitely bigger and better than ever!
Location: 3000 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana
Ticket prices: Admission costs $19.50 for adults and kids $14.50; under 1 are free. Come Thursday evenings after 5 p.m., when admission is free for everyone. If you are lucky enough to live anywhere in the area, I would no doubt purchase a family membership.
Parking: We LOVE the convenience of the parking garage connected via skyway to the museum. Plus, parking is free!
Stroller-friendly? Yes, most definitely. All four floors of the museum, are accessible via ramp. Some exhibits have specified stroller parking available.
Food: There is a cafe located on the main level. If you want outside food, I’ve heard there is a great cafe (XXX) located across the street in the medical building.
Crowded: We were here during spring break on a Tuesday afternoon and it was busy, but not to the point that we couldn’t enjoy ourselves.
Disclosure: Our family was provided complimentary admission to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. I was not required to express a particular point of view and all opinions are my own.