Located on 650 W. Washington St., the Indiana State Museum is at the heart of downtown. The exhibits we visited were perfect for my kids Tommy, age 7 and Lily, age 4.
We started our journey with the Birth of the Earth exhibit located on the first floor and it was a big hit with the kids. As a very hands-on exhibit, there are many things to touch and interact with. The kid’s very favorite spot was the large interactive Omni-Globe that features the Earth, sun, moon and all the other planets displayed on the globe. My children spent over half an hour here alone.
On the other side of the globe, there is aShake and Quake seismological feature that simulates an earthquake, Tommy and Lily had a lot of fun trying to make the biggest earthquake on record. Beyond these features, there are many more hands-on exhibits about time (for example, the visualization of a million years verses a billion years), different rock formations, layers of the Earth and samples of bedrock. There is even a piece of the moon on display (but it cannot be touched). In this same wing, the kids loved the fossils exhibit. Tommy was amazed at the sheer size of the wholly Mammoth likeness.
On the third floor we visited Amazing Maize, which tells the history of corn; past, present and future. This exhibit was more of interest to a 7 year old, but Lily, at 4 years old, still really enjoyed it. There are several hands-on features; my kids most enjoyed the Tug of War with corn. This exhibit is temporary and is at the State Museum until June 19.
We had time to visit three other exhibits at the museum; the Microphotography exhibit, Crossroads of America exhibit, and Enterprise Indiana. It was a lot of fun guessing what the zoomed-in objects and creatures were in the Microphotography exhibit. The Crossroads of America and Enterprise Indiana on the second floor had several hands-on features and info-graphics. Tommy, who is becoming an avid reader, enjoyed all the information presented, while Lily enjoyed all the touchable objects.
Tommy and Lily were completely fascinated with Foucault pendulum and stared at it for quite some time in complete awe. Spanning the height of three floors, the swing of the pendulum illustrates the passage of time by knocking over a block in relation to the rotation of the Earth. A block is knocked down every 8 or so minutes. Every morning the blocks are reset and it starts all over again.
We absolutely can’t wait to go back to the Indiana State Museum. Even though we were there for nearly four hours, there is still more to see next time!
Adult tickets are $13, and children are $8.50. Children under 2 are free. Annual Family Memberships are $75.
If you’re interested in seeing a movie afterwards, the IMAX theatre is inside the museum as well.
Parking is $3 with the purchase of a ticket to the museum.
Even though we were stroller free for this visit, we saw plenty of stroller families and there are elevators throughout the building.
The Farmer’s Market Café is an option for a snack or lunch. The kids only had a snack here but there were plenty of options on the menu, including chicken fingers and corn dogs.
Check out the website for more general information and the upcoming events page for future exhibits.
Indiana State Museum 650 W. Washington St - Indianapolis Details
My name is Katy Mann, and I'm the creator of Indy with Kids. With over 10 years of experience working with children, and my excitement towards the great city of Indianapolis; I offer readers guidance about great events and activities to do around Indianapolis with their kids and grandchildren. Join us on our family travels and adventures across the country!