The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis reopens to the public July 11, 2020 and here’s what to expect during your visit.
Rediscover Your Favorite Children’s Museum!
Get ready to experience the world’s largest children’s museum in a whole new way. Thanks to Covid-19 some things have changed, while others remain the same, and we think you will be pleasantly surprised by how well-run and fun The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis still is.
Changes due to COVID-19
The first change you will notice is all guests must make a reservation and buy their tickets in advance. This ensures attendance is maintained due to their limited capacity.
Everyone (except children under 2 years old) will be required to wear a mask. If you or your child has a medical condition speak to management and an exception will be made. Those who cannot wear a mask will be asked to wear a sticker identifying them as an exception so staff throughout the museum are aware and then subsequently won’t ask for the visitor to put a mask on. Otherwise if you are seen without a mask within the museum, staff will politely ask you to put one on.
The Children’s Museum staff has a strict cleaning schedule and you may find yourself waiting to enter an exhibit while they disinfect. Signage is posted with the cleaning schedule for each exhibit so you can try to plan your route. You are likely to arrive at a “closed for cleaning” sign at least once during your visit.
Hand sanitizer and cleansing wipes are all over the place. It may be best to grab a wipe or two and follow the kids around wiping before and after they touch and play. You will see a lot of signage reminding visitors to wipe before and after using an interactive feature. Throughout the museum you will find Rex’s footprints and arrows guiding you to the newly designated entrances and exits. These floor markings keep foot traffic flowing through the exhibit halls and help visitors social distance.
All of the indoor exhibits are open to some extent. While the kids may miss digging for fossils and playing dress up they will find new and surprising ways to have fun and learn. The staff has done an exceptional job of providing interactive, in-person experiences. Check the daily schedule and plan to participate in the hourly Sunburst Atrium activities. You may be visiting on a day that a member of the staff will lead a live replay of an infamous football catch or teach you a Greek dance. These live performances have always been a part of their schedule but they become more notable and appreciated these days.
The touch screens found throughout the exhibits are up and running. Again, signage asks that you wipe them down before and after use. The kids and adults will without a doubt gravitate towards these; they may not even notice all the more hard to clean, high touch features are locked away.
Here are a few examples of what exhibits look like these days…
In the Mo Willems exhibit you can still “drive the bus”, find Knuffle bunny in the laundry, and bring drawings to life.
Dinosphere will provide excitement and wonder as it always has. You may find speakers teaching about the life and times of dinosaurs or if you are lucky there may be a scientist available to show and tell about real fossils.
The carousel is open but every other row of animals is blocked off to help with social distancing. It may take a bit of waiting in line because the staff fully disinfects between rides. There are a few fun house mirrors to pose in while you wait but the majority of that exhibit area like the pint-sized house and gaming stations are closed off for the time being.
Take Me There Greece
“Take Me There Greece” has lots to do even if the pretend food, dress up clothes, and different marketplace areas are closed for now. Kids can still use their imagination to shop at the market, catch fish on the boat, pretend to prepare local cuisine, and save the sea turtles.
The Power of Children
You can still step into Ryan White’s bedroom, Ruby Bridges’ classroom, and Anne Frank’s annex in “The Power of Children” exhibit hall. The puzzles, magnet boards, and response areas have been removed, but there is a lot of information to be learned even with the play things gone for the time being.
Beyond Spaceship Earth
If you are feeling a little out of it these days, take a trip into orbit at the “Beyond Spaceship Earth” exhibit. Be sure to check the daily schedule for a multimedia experience “The Future is Here – How SciFi Becomes Reality” held in the Schafer Planetarium.
These are just a sampling of exhibits available… you will have to plan your own visit to see everything they have to offer.
The Riley Children’s Hospital Sports Legend Experience
The indoor activities at The Riley Children’s Hospital Sports Legend Experience are mostly open. You can still shoot hoops, create a game day face painting, admire sports artwork, kick a football, and see how you measure up to some of Indiana’s greatest players.
All twelve outdoor sports activities are completely open. Social distancing measures and routine cleaning are enforced and you will have to wear a face mask. Outdoors you can do anything from mini golf, soccer, hockey, and basketball. They even have the pedal cars you can race around an oval track and cross a “yard” of bricks. The outdoor sports activities are open and offer a day of fun for everyone.
The “Fantasy Tree House of Sports” is closed due to the Covid-19 safety measures. Grab a snack from concessions, cool yourself off in the air conditioned restrooms between the baseball and golf experiences, and use the water bottle fill stations to stay hydrated. Don’t forget your sunscreen, there is not much shade outside.
One of the differences you will notice is wiping down your baseball bat, your golf club or anything else you need to touch to participate, before and after you use it. There are also markings on the pavement indicating traffic flow and where to stand to keep six feet apart.
Your visit may look a little different than you recall but there is so much to rediscover at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis you are sure to have a great time. Wear your mask, wash your hands, and have fun learning!