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Neighborhood Exploration Tour for Cyclists (NExT)

PRESS RELEASE: The Inaugural Neighborhood Exploration Tour (NExT) offers cyclists an opportunity to explore fifteen miles of Indianapolis neighborhoods. On Saturday, September 26, 2009, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Indiana State Fair, the Indianapolis Art Center, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) are sponsoring an inaugural community bike ride called Neighborhood Exploration Tour (NExT).

NExT is an event to promote Indianapolis health and alternative transportation, which will highlight the ease of biking in the city and visiting Indianapolis attractions. Individuals and families will take a scenic, 15-mile route through some of Indianapolis’s most charming neighborhoods and make stops at The Children’s Museum, the IMA, the Art Center, and the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The route will also travel through Crown Hill Cemetery between The Children’s Museum and the IMA.

Anthony Bridgeman, director of community initiatives at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and Kathy Shorter, president of the Historic Midtown Initiative (HARMONI), conceived the Indianapolis event in an effort to raise awareness of area neighborhoods and for people to see the city in a new way.

Registration for the event begins at 8 a.m. followed by a 9 a.m. ride start time; the event will conclude at noon. Participants in the 15-mile ride may register and start from any of four stops on the route: The Children’s Museum, the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the Art Center, or the IMA. Each starting location will have a limited supply of free bike helmets for children, courtesy of the Emergency Medicine Department of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

A shorter route is available for families with young Indianapolis children. Participants may begin this three-mile loop at either The Children’s Museum or the State Fairgrounds.

Bike patrol officers will be available along the route, and safety and directional markers will be located throughout the entire tour. Water and light snacks will be available at each stop, along with an activity for cyclists to enjoy.

The Children’s Museum will feature a free bicycle safety demonstration from faculty and students of the Emergency Medicine Department of the Indiana University School of Medicine. Helmet decorating for children and a bicycle obstacle course will also be offered. While at the museum, visitors will be able to see the new rain garden and Sculpture Garden on the museum grounds. Inside the museum, families can participate in a day of health and fitness during the Worldwide Day of Play PlayFit event from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. which is free with museum admission.
The Indiana State Fairgrounds stop will feature the State’s Largest Classroom with points on the tour to include a walk-through of the Green House and Normandy Barn (a 1936 vintage dairy barn), a pin frame barn complete with farm animals, a tour through the nationally recognized program “Little Hands on the Farm,” and the Pathway to Water Quality which demonstrates “backyard” environmentally friendly practices that protect the watershed.
The Indianapolis Art Center will feature a ride through ARTSPARK, the Art Center’s 12-acre outdoor creativity and sculpture park designed by internationally acclaimed architect, Michael Graves. Stops on the ½ mile loop include: Efroymson Riverfront Garden & Canoe Launch to view native plantings and an entry point for a suggested cultural river tour (starting at the Art Center, through the IMA, and ending at White River State Park); Twisted House by John McNaughton, a permanent sculpture and crowd favorite, and the Nina Mason Pulliam Sensory Path providing sounds created by artist Cenk Ergün from recordings of the animals, insects and people of the White River.
At the Indianapolis Museum of Art cyclists will catch a glimpse of 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park (opening June 2010) from the bike route along the Canal Towpath. Then participants can pedal through the IMA’s 52 acres of beautiful historic gardens and grounds to see a new sustainable rain garden that filters environmental pollutants found in storm water runoff and a recently restored, historic orchard and vegetable garden where heirloom fruit and vegetable varieties are grown. Participants can return later to visit the museum galleries and historic Lilly House where admission is free!

For more information and to register please visit the Children’s Museum website.

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