Top 20 Places to Take Kids in and around Indianapolis - 2019
2019's Best Places for Kids in the Indianapolis region!
Here are the Top 20 places to take kids in and around Indianapolis, based on KidsOutAndAbout's annual reader survey. But there is LOTS more to do locally "out and about"! Get great ideas here at KidsOutAndAbout.com! What is listed below are just the starting point: Browse through our site and calendar to find lots more, and be sure to click on Everything That's Free!
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is extraordinary—always! Through its world-class exhibits, the museum strives to excite and encourage family learning and curiosity by providing limitless opportunities to create memories and foster a sense of discovery. The mission of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is to create extraordinary learning experiences across the arts, sciences, and humanities that have the power to transform the lives of children and families.
Since opening in 1964, the Indianapolis Zoo has emerged as a world-class facility, and it hosts more than a million visitors annually. Located in White River State Park since 1988, the 64-acre Zoo was the first to be triple accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Alliance of Museums as a zoo, an aquarium and a botanic garden.
My Local Library
Of course, the libraries in the Indianapolis area are not really ONE place, but MANY places... but it's important to emphasize how valuable libraries are for family learning and fun. The libraries in our area are wonderful about posting their events to the KidsOutAndAbout calendar so you always can get ideas for free things to do with your kids that celebrate education and imagination. KidsOutAndAbout.com takes this opportunity to salute the wonderful children's librarians who serve our community with such dedication. They're proud that locals voted them #3 in best places to take kids this year!
Indiana State Fair
The Indiana State Fair is the state’s largest multi-day event celebrating Hoosiers’ spirit and agricultural heritage. These 17 days celebrate Indiana agriculture and promote it to hundreds of thousands of people across Indiana, and beyond. Nationally recognized for offering great entertainment, showcasing youth, interactive agriculture education programs, premier facilities and a variety of unique, fun foods, the Indiana State Fair has been an annual attraction for generations of Hoosiers since 1852. For information on the Indiana State Fair and year round events, visit www.indianastatefair.com.
Spanning more than 1,000 wooded acres in Central Indiana, Conner Prairie welcomes more than 400,000 visitors of all ages annually. As Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute affiliate, Conner Prairie offers various outdoor, historically-themed encounters and indoor experiential learning spaces that combine history and art with science, technology, engineering and math to offer an authentic look into history that shapes society today. Conner Prairie is a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization – accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Visit connerprairie.org or call (800) 966-1836 for admission dates, hours, ticket prices and opportunities to donate and volunteer.
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
Located in the charming hamlet of Santa Claus in southern Indiana, this theme park/water park combo offers families a great getaway with all sorts of perks. Did you ever think a theme park would give away soft drinks? And not charge for parking? Use of inner tubes in the water park is free—and so is sunscreen! No wonder Consumers Digest magazine has repeatedly named Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari the Nation’s Top Value Park! And USA Today named Splashin’ Safari the best water park in the nation!
The IndyFringe Theatre complex is composed of the 100-seat IndyFringe Basile Theatre and the 60-seat IndyFringe Indy Eleven Theatre that both serve as low-cost rehearsal and performance spaces in downtown Indianapolis. IndyFringe is one of five theatres and up to seven stages along Mass Ave that host the annual IndyFringe Festival for eleven days every August. The rest of the year, the theatre complex offers an eclectic mix of emerging artists, new plays, established theatre groups, returning Fringe performers and community events which continually change and attract a diverse audience.
One of Indianapolis’ oldest parks, Holliday Park is located just six miles north of downtown and encompasses 94-acres of beautiful green space. Visitors can explore the nature center, play on one of the city’s best, hard-to-leave playgrounds, hike more than 3.5 miles of picturesque trails or take a stroll around the one-of-a-kind Holliday Park Ruins.
Newfields / Indianapolis Museum of Art
Newfields offers dynamic experiences with art and nature for guests of all ages. The 152-acre cultural campus is home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which is among the ten largest and ten oldest general art museums in the nation; the Lilly House, The Garden, featuring 40 acres garden, a working greenhouse and an orchard; as well as The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres, one of the largest art and nature parks in the country. Throughout campus, guests young and old are invited to interact with art and nature in exciting new ways. From discovering new ideas in the IMA Galleries to getting fresh air in the art and nature park, there is truly something for everyone at Newfields.
Climb Time Indy
Indy's Premier Indoor Rock Climbing Gym! Offering indoor rock climbing, instruction, and training. Private parties, birthdays, and youth groups. Team building programs. Climbing equipment and gear. A whole lot of fun for the whole family!
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra / Symphony on the Prairie
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is Indiana’s largest performing arts organization! For families, we recommend our Teddy Bear Series and Colts Symfuny Sundays family concerts. You can learn more by visiting our education and community website at https://www.indianapolissymphony.org/education.
Indiana State Museum
Located in White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis, the Indiana State Museum brings the best of the museum world to Indiana. Spanning three floors, the museum tells the story of the Hoosier state, and features a year-round calendar of exhibits that explore Indiana art, science and culture. Constructed completely from Indiana materials – including limestone, sandstone, steel, brick and glass – the building itself is a work of art, with icons representing each of Indiana’s 92 counties integrated into its exterior walls. Step inside, and you’ll be invited to experience Indiana’s past, present and future through scientific, cultural, history and art exhibits that help define our place in the world.
Pottery by You
Pottery By You is the place to have fun learning how to be creative. We have something for everyone, of every age! Come by, we will teach you how easy and how much fun it is to be creative.
Rhythm! Discovery Center
Rhythm! Discovery Center is the world's foremost interactive percussion museum, providing innovative programs; interactive, standards-based educational exhibits, and artist performances.
White River Paintball
White River Paintball is Indianapolis, Indiana's largest indoor and outdoor paintball field with over 125 acres of paintball. We specialize in serving first-time paintball players in the Indianapolis, Indiana area. Our paintball facility is just 20 minutes Northeast of Indianapolis, Indiana (in Anderson, Indiana). Our ProShop is open 7 days a week 10am to 6pm. We have been serving paintball enthusiasts in the Indianapolis, Indiana area since 1999.<
Zip City Indianapolis
Zip City is an indoor adventure park. From our indoor zip line park to our indoor trampoline park with trampoline dodgeball, it’s a place where you can be active and social while challenging yourself and others. You’ll find a ropes course, climbing walls and laser tag in our over 70,000-square-foot facility, offering a mix of fun and challenging attractions guaranteed to get you moving all year round.
Butler Arts Center
Since 1991, the Butler Arts Center has presented curriculum-based, culturally diverse, fully accessible, and age appropriate performances and programs to all-aged audiences. Live performances and programs enrich audiences with a variety of learning styles and approaches, exposing and introducing students to specific art forms (dance, music, theatre, visual arts, and media). At the Butler Arts Center, our commitment is to providing a positive artistic experience through live performance, ultimately educating while entertaining.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum’s mission is to preserve and share one of the world’s premier collections of automotive and motor racing vehicles and artifacts, with special emphasis on the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Opened in Located within the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, the IMS Museum collection encompasses automobiles and artifacts representing more than a century of Indianapolis 500 culture, drama and competition, plus vehicles representing NASCAR, Formula One, American short-track racing, drag racing and motorcycles.
Dark Armies Paintball and Laser Tag Arena
Time to put your gear on and get your adrenaline up. When you suit up for laser tag and paintball at Dark Armies, you're in for a heart-racing, team-building, mind-blowing time. Just sign up for the amount of time you want and let the excitement start. Our games are tactical and mission-based -- no score sheets, just an objective to accomplish together. Playing in the midst of indoor arenas designed as an abandoned city, you'll feel like you've stepped right into a first-person shooter. Never played before? No problem! Our games are made for beginners, so you'll have fun no matter your experience level.
Big Splash Adventure
Make the most of your family time together at French Lick's indoor water park with retractable roof in Southern Indiana. You’ll create unforgettable memories zipping down the Jolly Roger Jetty water slide, plunging down Pirate's Plunder and into our famous "toilet bowl", splashing and playing basketball in the Lost Treasure Lagoon, or simply relaxing on the Lost River at Big Splash Adventure. With over 40,000 square feet; there are so many fun things to do in the water park.
Winners in Special CategoriesIn the second part of our survey, we asked readers to select their favorites in six categories. Here were their choices.
Favorite Arts EducationBallet Theatre of Carmel Academy
The Ballet Theatre of Carmel Academy is the home of Ballet Theatre of Carmel - a pre-professional Ballet Company offering two full length productions annually. All academy students are eligible to participate. Ballet Theatre of Carmel Academy began operations in August of 2018 as a Non-for-Profit Organization and continues to provide high quality dance education for all ages beginning with its Pre-School Program through High School. BTC Academy faculty members come with a rich professional performance background in Ballet and delight in sharing their insights and expertise in our bright and nurturing environment.
Favorite Sports/Physical EducationIndy Stars Gymnastics
We provide competitive team, recreational & preschool gymnastics. Indy Stars Gymnastics provides comprehensive programs including competitive and recreational gymnastics, cheer and dance where children of all abilities can thrive and reach for the stars to realize their dreams and personal best. Join us every Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00-11:30 am for POP!