Go Around the Same Race Track as the IndyCars – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway offers visitors several opportunities throughout the year to go around the racetrack. Our favorite is during the month of May during the 500 Festival Community Day. In addition to being able to take your family vehicle around the track — yes mom or dad, YOU get to drive! From March to November, when you take the Grounds Tour at IMS, guests have the opportunity to ride around the track in a tour bus. Dates, times, prices and other information is on the website.
See the Whole City Atop of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument – Did you know that the Soldiers & Sailors Monument on the circle in downtown Indianapolis is only 15 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty? Did you know that you can go inside the monument and see the city from above…for free? If you’d rather not climb the steps to the observation level, adults can take the elevators for $2 and $1 for kids.
Ride Horses at Fort Benjamin Harrison – Fort Benjamin Harrison is a wonderful park where our family and friends enjoy hiking and horseback riding! Go on a trail ride and then keep the day going with lots of fun hiking and picnicking!
Visit the Summer Resident on Indy Island – When the 100 Acres opened at the IMA, our family was so excited! When we visited and had a tour, we were even more excited! Did you know that one of the art installations is an experimental living structure that one or two people live on each summer? It’s like LOST meets….something! This summer, A. Bitterman, an artist from Kansas City, will inhabit the island for six weeks. During the summer, visitors have historically been welcomed to the “island” to learn about the project of the current resident. The times to visit vary. When the Bitterman raises a green flag on the island, guests who wish to visit ring a bell on the shore. Visitors are then picked up in a rowboat and given a tour.
Milk a Cow at the State Fair or a Local Farm – Have you ever milked a cow? We live in Indiana, right? If you haven’t milked a cow….then you are normal I’m sure. When kids have the opportunity to see EXACTLY where their food comes from, it’s interesting and creates some interesting conversation. I’ve had the opportunity to milk a cow in the dairy barn at the State Fair. If that doesn’t pan out for your kids, try to visit a local farm, many farmers are excited when people want to learn and experience farm life activities!
Cheer at a Soap Box Derby Race at Derby Hill – Indianapolis is home to many races and many race tracks but did you know that the longest soap box derby race track in the US is right here? Attending races is free and a lot of fun!
Watch Santa Land in a Helicopter at the State Museum – When winter arrives in Indianapolis, so do a few other special treats; including Santa and his friends. His favorite mode of transportation just happens to be a helicopter! Mark your calendars NOW for the Friday after Thanksgiving! Santa generally arrives at noon on the Lawn of the Indiana State Museum!
Eat Something Yummy at City Market – City Market is a unique place in Indianapolis and it has been around forever! Seriously, forever! Not only can you tour the catacombs under the Market but you can eat something yummy everyday! Take your kids to try something new — Lulu recommends the Crêpes from 3 Days in Paris!
Get Spooked Out at the Haunted House at the Children’s Museum – The Children’s Museum offers a fantastic haunted house for the community every Halloween. Last year the theme was “Vampire Vacation” and Lulu and I went on a Lights ON preview day. She loved it. Little kids, big kids, adults, everyone can enjoy themselves and get as scared as they want to or just check it out when the lights are on! Very reasonably priced, it’s a winner!
Throw Your Voice at the Canal Downtown – It’s near impossible to describe the peculiar experience that you will have with sound at this special spot on the canal. The Auditory Anomaly can be found on the west side of the canal, just south of St. Clair there is a brick circular area with benches where there is a good view of the fountain in the canal. Simply walk, bike or paddle boat to the area, and find the correct location. Stand in the center, face west, and begin talking. You’ll know why this is cool when you do it.
Feed the Ducks at Rainbow Bridge in Broad Ripple – Near the fire station in Broad Ripple at the Rainbow Bridge, you’ll often find a group of ducks hanging out, swimming, walking, pecking and doing whatever ducks do. Bring a bag of bread or some crackers and toss them to these fun friends. There are some nice places to sit and enjoy your own lunch or you can check out some of the area restaurants if you don’t want to share with the ducks.
Ride Your Bike on the Monon Trail – The Monon Trail is about 10 ½ miles long and runs from 10th Street to 96th Street and then connects to the Monon Greenway in Carmel (5+ miles). It also connects to the Fall Creek Greenway and the Central Canal Towpath. This paved trail should be plenty of space for your family to enjoy a leisurely and scenic bike ride. During nice weather, the trail is very crowded but that just means that the Monon is the place to be!
Go Creek Stomping at Marott Park – Every park in Indianapolis offers something unique, the parks are one of the greatest assets of our city! Many kids who grew up in Indianapolis have fond memories of going creek stomping at Marott Park (7350 N College Ave, Indianapolis). Marott park has a picnic shelter but packing your lunch and carrying it with you wherever your legs lead you has much more appeal to our family! Take your water shoes or hiking boots or rain boots and stomp away in the creek that runs through the park! Kids of all ages are sure to have fun and see something cool!
Watch a Movie at Tibbs Drive In – There aren’t that many places in the country that a family can go see a movie at a real, honest to goodness drive in movie theater but we have one! Indianapolis is home to Tibbs and our family loves it!
Celebrate the Holidays at the Circle of Lights – The day after Thanksgiving brings a celebration of giant proportions to downtown Indianapolis on the Circle. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is adorned with 1000’s of lights and other holiday decorations and the official lighting ceremony, the Circle of Lights takes place the day after Thanksgiving. Live local and national acts entertain over 100,000 spectators and many, many more on television. Being in the audience at this event is spectacular but being chosen as the kid who helps the Mayor plug in the “Christmas tree” is even more amazing! One winner is chosen each year via a coloring contest.