It’s a beautiful day at the Indiana State Museum! That’s right, your favorite neighbor, Daniel Tiger has brought the Neighborhood of Make-Believe to Indy. This timed, ticketed exhibit runs now, through January 3.
Tickets to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Due to COVID regulations, only 10 people (kids and adults) can play in the exhibit during each 45 minute time period. Although admission to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is included in regular admission to the museum, you must reserve timed-ticket prior to your visit. Museum admission is still required and can be purchased at the box office or online.
Play times are available at 10:15 am, 11:15 am, 12:15 pm, 1:15 pm, 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm, and 4:15 pm, giving staff time to deep clean the hands-on activities for each new group.
The Neighborhood of Make-Believe
Your children will instantly feel like they have landed right in the Neighborhood of Make Believe. One of the first things you encounter is the Trolley stop, with a pretend trolley on wheels. A perfect photo op! Or, take a ride around the neighborhood in one of several pretend cars, buses, and trolleys that kids can wear while they cruise around the neighborhood.
Daniel Tiger loves to visit his friends and neighbors, and your little tigers will love visiting the library, the Clock Factory, Mr. McFeely’s post office, Music Man Stan’s Neighborhood Music Shop, and of course, the Tiger Family Residence.
Daniel Tiger’s House
Next, you’ll arrive at Daniel Tiger’s house. There’s a door, but since it’s in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, the doors are only pretend! Inside of Daniel Tiger’s house, imagine your having dinner with the family. Or, play the “radio” with some Daniel Tiger’s greatest hits, like Turn it Around and Find Something Good.
You’ll also learn why Daniel Tiger always wears a red sweater, and practice some of Daniel’s favorite problem-solving strategies, right from the show! Remember this exhibit is interactive, so don’t forget to share some of your family’s best strategies too.
Mr. McFeely’s Post Office
In the Post Office, sort mail for all the friends in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and hand deliver it–every house has a mail slot. Our put a the note in a special envelope and leave in their post office box.
Music Man Stan’s Neighborhood Music Shop
Daniel Tiger often uses music to express his feeling and the Neighborhood Music Shop is the perfect spot for your children to express themselves. Some of it might seem like pretend play–spoons hanging from a window–but everything in the Neighborhood Music Shop makes music. Use the washboard, the chimes, or make some trolley sounds. Joyful noise can be hear throughout the exhibit.
The Neighborhood Clock Factory
Daniel Tiger always wears his trusty watch and loves to visit the clock factory! My kids loved the clock factory. The clock doesn’t actually keep time, but it demonstrates how clocks work with pegs and gears. Kids put pegs into a wheel and, with the help of a grown up, the “clock” is wound up and the gears start moving.
There is also an area of the factory where children can build their own clocks and work on learning time–a central theme for Daniel Tiger fans!
Photos with Daniel Tiger’s Friends
Don’t forget to visit with Daniel’s Friends along the main wall of the exhibit. Each friend has a movable piece that makes them say their catch phrase, like Katerina Kittycat’s “meow, meow.” This wall also makes for a great photo op for your child and their favorite friend from the neighborhood. There are several photos ops throughout the exhibit that puts your child right in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
Interactive and Thoughtful
While most of this exhibit is geared toward preschool and young elementary age, my eight year old appreciated the more interactive parts like the Clock Factory, the Thankful Tree, and the Neighborhood Music Store. The Thankful Tree is a spot where children can write a short “Thank You” note to anyone. My oldest spent most of his time writing notes for the tree–I personally can’t wait to see what it looks like in December.
Planning Your Visit
While 45 minutes may not seem like a lot of time to play, this is plenty of time to fully engage with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Especially since each play time is restricted to 10 people. There’s a natural path to the exhibit, but after you’ve gone through the entire Neighborhood of Make-Believe, there is plenty of time to revisit your favorite spots.
Remember, all children 2 and older are required to wear masks. My two year old is still not great at wearing his mask for extended periods of time and all of the staff were very accommodating and understanding. Hand sanitizer is available in the exhibit and staff are available and helpful.
Most of all, get ready for a GRRR-ific time. Ugga Mugga!