The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is located north of downtown Indianapolis at 3000 North Meridian Street and is a key Indianapolis attraction for Indianapolis children and anyone seeking a fun and educational family-oriented experience. It is the world’s largest children’s museum, and its 1925 opening date places it as the fourth oldest institution of its kind in the world. The current building was built in 1976 and has undergone several expansions since this initial building date.
Mrs. John N. Carey, founder of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, envisioned Indianapolis having a museum oriented towards children after a visit to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum sparked her enthusiasm for such a project. With the help of members of the community, the first location of this Indianapolis museum was born in a small carriage house just north of downtown. The original exhibits featured artifacts donated by area children representing various cultures, and helped set the tone for the museum’s current focus on social culture, which is something unique to a youth-oriented museum.
Due to rapid growth, the museum saw several different locations throughout the years, before settling at its final home on North Meridian Street. The continued addition of artifacts and the commitment to serving children of the community through outstanding programs led the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to be among the first of two dozen such museums in the United States, and the first in Indianapolis to be accredited by the American Association of Museums.
Currently, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis consists of five levels, connected by a giant spiral ramp. This allows visitors to easily access the various floors, all while viewing the spectacular permanent installment of a four story glass sculpture, “Fireworks of Glass”, by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. The sculpture is located inside the center of the giant spiral ramp, giving visitors a view from many angles as they climb.
The museum features a wide variety of artifacts and exhibits that will entertain and educate all age groups. Visitors are greeted in the lobby of the museum by the world’s largest water clock. “Passports to the World” is a two story exhibit exploring various world cultures and traditions.
One of the more popular exhibits is the life-size indoor carousel known as “Carousel Wishes and Dreams”. The carousel dates back to 1917, when it was built for a local park. It was later restored and moved to the museum for visitors to enjoy. The carousel is the museum’s largest gallery artifact and is a National Historic Landmark.
Separate from the other exhibits, “Dinosphere” offers dinosaur enthusiasts of all ages a comprehensive experience featuring several dinosaur art galleries, life-size dinosaur fossils, and an area featuring fossil digs. “Science Works”, another exhibit, allows visitors to explore natural and physical science via building activities. Children can build things such as toy boats and arches. Activities include climbing a rock wall, observing a live pond, crawling through tunnels, and experiencing various adventures that promote scientific learning. All these exhibits are in addition to the many temporary and traveling exhibits that visitors can enjoy throughout the year.
All in all, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a top Indianapolis attraction for residents and visitors of any age. Its wide range of creative and colorful exhibits attract people from miles around, and the historic building deserves a spot in Indianapolis history.
Barbie the Fashion Experience at Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Health House at the Children’s Museum
Anne Frank building in the Power of Children Exhibit
Historic Carousel at the Children’s Museum
Rube Goldberg contraption at the Children’s Museum
Atrium in the Children’s Museum Entrance
Interior of Health House at the Children’s Museum
InfoZone library at the Children’s Museum
Playscape for young kids at Children’s Museum
Ruby Bridges Building in the Power of Children Exhibit
Ryan White’s Room at the Power of Children Exhibit
A Giant Transformer character in the lobby of the Children’s Museum
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
3000 N Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Permanent Exhibits & Activities
|All Aboard! – This hands-on, exciting exhibit allows you and your kids to learn all about trains, from modern computer games and toy trains to a full-on, 35-foot-long, authentic steam engine.|
|Carousel Wishes and Dreams – This is an irresistible area with a beautiful, historic carousel, a maze of mirrors, a playhouse and a puzzles and games arcade. A family favorite!
Closed for maintenance from September 6 – 19, 2011
|Dinosphere: Now You’re in Their World – What was it like when those magnificent dinosaurs ruled the earth? The Indianapolis Children’s Museum has assembled one of the largest displays of dinosaur fossils in the entire United States. You can also visit the functional dig called the Paleo Lab.|
|Fireworks of Glass – This spectacular glass sculpture reaches up some 43 feet above a ceiling made of glass. Children and adults alike respond with awe to the tower, created by artist Dale Chihuly.|
|Lilly Theater – For generations, Hoosiers have brought their little ones to the Children’s Museum’s Lilly Theater to see some of the most interesting shows for kids around.|
|Playscape – Just for the little ones in your clan, Playscape offers activities in seven different areas, from arts and crafts to science to story time.|
|The Power of Children: Making a Difference – Teach your kids how powerful they really are through a journey into the lives of three children who made a difference: Ryan White, Ruby Bridges and Anne Frank.|
|ScienceWorks: Dow Science Center – This large area on the fourth floor of the museum is given over to the earnest exploration of science, in spaces such as the Health House, the Biotechnology Learning Center, a Construction Site and a 20-foot climbing wall.|
|SpaceQuest® Planetarium – This 130-seat auditorium inside the Children’s Museum presents different shows every half-hour. It’s a great way to introduce your kids to the wonders of the universe.|
|Take Me There: Egypt – Travel to Egypt via EgyptAir right inside the museum. You’ll immerse yourself in the mysitcal Egyptian culture by visiting the opulent displays and taking part in some extraordinary interactive activities.|
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