Fun & Weird

Don’t Miss the Indianapolis Children’s Museum

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The Indianapolis Children’s Museumis well worth a visit, with or without kids! With its high quality exhibits and interactive features It gives even the Smithsonian Natural History Museum a run for its money.

Driving up the museum, high expectations are raised with 3-D dinosaurs breaking through an outer wall and peering their heads inside. Parking is free, admission is $17.50 per adult and $12.50 for ages 12-17.

We started on the 5th floor and worked our way down. The 5th floor features their version of a mirror maze; children size playhouses including  diner with outdoor seating for kids to serve plastic scoops of ice cream and other desserts, a tree house with animals tucked here and there for viewing; and best of all, a full-size carousel from 1917 set under a starry sky (rides are $1 for non-members). Even on a Saturday, the lines were never longer than one turn.

Across the way is the Scienceworks area which includes, among other things, slides, a climbing wall, and a child-sized construction area where kids can shovel plastic rocks, recycled tire materials, and work a crane. I could have spent all day playing with some of the exhibits 🙂

The 4th floor has an inspiring, but saddening exhibit on three children made a difference: Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges, Ryan White. We wound up spending most of our time on the 3rd floor in the Take Me to Egypt exhibit. I felt right at home since it starts with a simulated flight on EgyptAir before releasing you into a bazaar with interactive stations for kids to play shopkeeper selling uncommon spices or serving up fake teas and coffees at the neighborhood café, try on galabeya, or listen to various types of Egyptian music.

We participated in an interactive Sebou ceremony which acts out the celebration of a new born baby. You need to get tickets in advance of the 35 min show, which starts by being ushered into a typical Egyptian living room. The actors (who were neither self-conscious, nor cheesy) do a great job of comparing the Egyptian custom to American customs. Children are chosen from the group to participate for the “live” production later. We were next given galabeyas to wear and were asked to choose a traditional tambourine or drum to play during the ceremonial march.

Before we performed for the other museum guests in the exhibit area, the children were given a keepsake box with fake gold coins to celebrate the prosperity the new child would bring. The performance was then acted out with audience participation and a celebratory march through the area making noise. It’s not for the shy of spirit and perfect for kids.

After an hour and a half in that exhibit we stopped at the miniature room display but skipped the Hot Wheels transportation exhibit on the floor. We were already 2 ½ hours in with two more floors of options to go, so we headed to Dinosphere.

The exhibit doesn’t have many fossils, but it makes the most of them, arranging them in a two story area set at dusk with little caves and viewing areas for kids to pop up right underneath them.  In addition there’s multiple learning stations about dinosaur life, how fossils are excavated and plenty of opportunities for tracings, sketchings, etc. Hard to believe, but it was just as much fun as the Dinosaur Land I visited a few weeks ago.

Time was running short so we had to pick between the Trains exhibit and the Treasures of the Earth. The Train exhibit won, featuring not only miniature trains in charming setups scattered throughout the area, but the ability to board a real train for a simulated ride.

Treasures of the Earth, by the way, was featuring reproductions of the Terra Cotta Warriors in addition to other archaeological findings. The museum is well set up for longer visits with a diverse set of food court offerings and plenty of rest areas. The gift store was also in evidence, but not annoyingly so.

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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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