Did you know the world’s largest children’s museum was in Indianapolis? With 472,900 square-feet of museum magic, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a true midwest treasure. Standing four stories tall (plus an entire, exhibit-packed lower level and massive outdoor space), The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (TCM) houses 11 major galleries and hosts several visiting exhibits each year.
The world’s largest children’s museum is just a drive away – here’s why you should plan a trip today!
One word: Dinosphere
Dinosphere isn’t your average dinosaur exhibit (and that’s a Tyrannosaurus-sized understatement). Dinosphere spans two levels and literally puts you there. As you walk down a ramp, the sky changes color… and then you enter the land of dinosaurs. Kids will get up close with Tyrannosaurs, Triceratops, Maiasauras and more. These full-sized skeletons are awesome, and everywhere you turn, there’s more to take in!
Right now, Paw Patrol has taken over
My 4 year old got into Paw Patrol last year when my youngest was a newborn, as it always seemed to be on the tv at the pediatrician’s office. This exhibit brings the cartoon to life, putting preschoolers in the pups’ world. With life-sized boats and helicopters, kids will feel empowered as they “race into action” with their Paw Patrol pals. Paw Patrol: Adventure Play will be at TCM until July 28.
Hot Wheels: Race to Win is coming this summer!
We visited COSI last fall, during the Hot Wheels exhibit’s tenure there. It was amazing. Kids get a hands-on STEM lesson in different activities at this exhibit: there are Hot Wheels tracks set up throughout the room for racing and a really fun “pit stop” activity that puts kids in control. (Read all about the exhibit here.) This summer, Hot Wheels: Race to Win will be roaring into Indianapolis, and it’s an absolute must for all tiny thrill seekers! Hot Wheels: Race to Win will be at TCM May 18-July 28.
Outer space – at your fingertips
Beyond Spaceship Earth tells the dynamic story of space exploration from NASA’s Project Mercury program, which sent the first Americans into space, to the International Space Station (ISS). In this immersive exhibit, you’ll astronaut artifacts, learn about the history of space-travel and feel like a real astronaut. You’ll feel drawn to this exhibit, which is set up to feel like the inside of a space station.
Batman, Harry Potter and Star Wars – oh my!
Do your kids like Batman? Spiderman? Harry Potter? Star Wars? American POP is a new permanent exhibit where you can explore and interact with popular culture. (Appropriately, this exhibit connects with Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds, which is on display through April 7 and definitely a must for Trekkies.)
This exhibit was on my “must-visit” list for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and it didn’t disappoint. Dace Chihuly’s beautiful tower of blown glass is mesmerizing. (Pearl couldn’t take here eyes off of it!) Featuring over 3,200 stunning pieces of brilliant blown glass, the tower rises above a glass ceiling and can be viewed from all sides, starting in the lower level of the museum.
This outdoor area just opened last year, and was easily our favorite. There are so many things for parents to love: the area is fully fenced in and easy to navigate; there are so many different sports to experience; the staff are super friendly and engaging; there’s a huge treehouse that is beyond cool. The best part is that every activity encourages kids to move in a fun, age-appropriate and accessible way. Pedal race cars, soccer, mini golf… your kids will want to try them all!
What these exhibits all have in common, is that they truly put you there. Whether it’s behind the wheel of a race car at the Indy 500, floating in space as an astronaut (or aboard the Starship Enterprise), chilling with the T-rex during the Cretaceous period, a visit to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is an immersive experience.
Also please note, these exhibits are just the tip of the iceberg — there is so much more to see and experience! (For starters, TCM’s newest “Take Me There” exhibit opens June 15, and literally puts you in the hustle and bustle of the streets of Greece. From the minute you walk into the exhibit — through a landed airplane — you’ll feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, wondering how you arrived in such a lush and vibrant world.) As summer break beckons, plan a visit to the world’s largest children’s museum – and stand back as the world opens up to your kids.