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FCF Hoosier Holiday Gift Guide Day 6: Many a Museum

‘Tis the season for giving, right? So we here at funcityfinder.com in Indianapolis felt that on top of giving you the best we’ve got when it comes to what’s going on in the Circle City, we will give you a little help in trying to find that perfect gift for the special someone on your list. On December 4, and  the next twenty days we will give you twenty ways to show you truly care. In the true spirit of Hoosier pride, we will try to suggest only that which is home-grown or handmade right here in Indiana.

Day 1-The Binding Bee
Day 2- Tickets for Sports of All Sorts
Day 3- Indy Eateries
Day 4- Arts for Young Hearts and Old Farts
Day 5- Better Body Longer Life

DAY 6: Many a Museum

Indianapolis Museums
Indianapolis Art Museums
Indianapolis Sports Museums

Well the weather outside is truly frightful. So today, may I suggest something indoors and delightful. I really dislike when people use kitschy terms like “the gift that keeps on giving.”  But today’s holiday gift guide suggestion truly is a gift of bountiful bequeathment. No matter whom you are shopping for or what their interests are, this one is going to work for you.


Located in downtown Indianapolis, the Indiana State Museum is a life-sized text book on the history of our state.

Located in downtown Indianapolis, the Indiana State Museum is a life-sized text book on the history of our state.


This year give the gift of museum membership to one, or many of the Indianapolis museums that are scattered all over our great city. Starting in the very center of downtown Indianapolis, you can find the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum right underneath the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the appropriately named Monument Circle. While this might be more for the American military buff in your family, no more than a few blocks away is a cluster of Indianapolis society and culture.

That’s right, I’m talking about White River State Park and its treasure trove of history, sports and art for the young and old. Lined-up one right next to the other, you can pick from the Eiteljorg Museum, the Indiana State Museum, the NCAA Hall of Champions and the Indianapolis Zoo, which is a living museum of sorts. If you want to get technical about things, than I will state that Victory Field–which is also on the grounds of White River State Park– has plenty of old pictures hanging everywhere, so it too is a museum.

While the NCAA Hall of Champions does not have a membership program, it only cost adults $5 per visit and seniors/children get in for just $3. This is a perfect gift if you have family coming to Indy for the holidays and don’t know what to do with them during their stay.


The Indianapolis Zoo offers its own unique Christmas experience with a splendid decoration of lights.

The Indianapolis Zoo offers its own unique Christmas experience with a splendid decoration of lights.


As for the the other centers of interactive education, the Indianapolis Zoo is the priciest with memberships starting at $85 and up to $145. But the more you spend, the more they can bring. For instance, you can give your neighbors a family membership for a year, which breaks down to just over $20 per person. Not a bad deal in my book.

The Indiana State Museum has memberships starting at $ 39 and will get you in free to over 300 other museums worldwide. Finally, the Eiteljorg Museum has memberships that start at $50 a person, but included in the price is the fact that the membership holder can bring one other person for free every visit.

I am not known for my economic prowess, but even I know a 2-for-1 deal can’t be beat.

Want to compliment the deluge of toys and video games you and “Santa” are giving your children this year? Might I suggest The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Yes, it is geared for children, but you will be amazed at what is on display year round at this institution of early education. A family membership is a great way to make sure the whole family can do something fun and enlightening together.


The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is ready to bring you some Christmas cheer.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is ready to bring you some Christmas cheer.


Another upside to the Children’s Museum of Indy is that it is quite new. So, not only are the displays and exhibits fun and exciting, but the building itself is clean and amazing. This holds true for many of the Indianapolis museums. Since the Circle City has just really started coming into its own in the past two decades, many of its amenities are near new or better. You might not think it, but learning is much easier and a lot more fun when your surroundings are not suspect.

There are so many museums to choose from in Indianapolis that I will let you search for the one that fits your gift giving needs on your own. But I can’t stop myself from imploring you to join what I consider the crown jewel of all the Indianapolis museums. If you are only going to buy one membership for someone this Christmas season, I highly recommend you choose the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

The IMA has one of the most inspiring permanent collections–especially their American and European art–in the entire country. They also offer some of the best traveling exhibits that tour the world, so every couple of months there is always something new, guaranteed. To truly appreciate and digest everything the IMA has to offer, you would need at least a handful visits each year.


One of the best gifts you can give this Christmas is the gift of an IMA membership.

One of the best gifts you can give this Christmas is the gift of an IMA membership.


Starting at just $50 a member, the IMA offers a +1 membership –bring a friend for free– which includes free entry to all of the traveling exhibits. This works out to almost the exact cost of buying two tickets to one such exhibit. It pays for itself after the second exhibit. Also included in the membership is free entry to the Lilly House, which shares the same gardens and grounds. And coming during the 2010 summer, is the grand opening of the Fairbanks Art and Nature Park. A visit to the IMA grounds is one of the best ways to spend a day in Indianapolis.

So there it is folks, day 6 is in the books. Whether you choose to give a yearlong membership or just need to entertain some out-of-town guests, Indianapolis museums can do it best.

Indianapolis Museums

Indianapolis Art Museums

Indianapolis Sports Museums

Mike Woods