I remember when I started seeing signs that the Playscape would be closed for a remodel. I panicked, what was I supposed to do with my super active two year old? It was our favorite part of the Children’s Museum. FAVORITE! My newborn had never even had a chance to splash in the water or dig in the sand — WHAT WOULD WE DO!? Well, the temporary playscape was fantastic; I loved the open space and the less crowded feel, Lulu loved the new ball feature.
Finally, the day we have all been waiting for has arrived…the brand new Playscape at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is OPEN!
Moms, Dads, Grandparents, Nannies, Aunts and Uncles, it was all worth the wait! The all new Playscape is wide open space, with tons of natural light and play-features that incorporate the outdoors. What an amazing place to spend too hot summer days, too cold winter days and too rainy fall and spring days.
I let the kids loose in this whimsical space and they didn’t return to me for several hours. The open space with transparent features allowed for me to see all of my children most of the time while they were busily enjoying different play areas. Scoutie loved Baby Scape with its many push buttons, whirly butterflies and flowers, climbing and scooting areas and interactive areas. In a large area called, the nest there are special Play with Me! boxes that have simple puppets and toys that encourage co-playing with baby.
Lulu loved setting scarves and ribbons free in the Whirly Twirly Tower. Who knew how much fun air movement could be!? Another favorite that kept her occupied for quite some time was the Roll ‘n Race play area where she built race tracks with ramps and rolled balls down it. I can imagine we’ll be spending a lot of time in Blockopolis, a fun building area at the entrance of Playscape.
Our two favorite features from the original Playscape, the sand and water areas are back! The Creek was a beautiful rock looking area with water rushing through and returning by way of a waterfall that kids can walk behind. Right at the kids finger tips there are fun toys to collect water, float on water, carry water and squirt water. Equipped with brand new hand driers and smocks, your kids might stay dry but don’t count on it if they are anything like mine! Water play is a very serious activity and it includes getting REALLY wet! The sand area incorporates the typical sand activities of digging and scooping with a sort of archeological dig for treasure buried beneath the sand. There are also rotating turntables that allow kids to make patterns in the sand!
The Pond is a lily pad inspired climbing area that’s enclosed with netting. Kids can climb to the top to reach the sailboat or they can just explore from lily pad to lily pad. This was a feature that we recognized from other children’s museums we visited this summer. Too timid to try it at other locations, Lulu climbed right in at Playscape and made it to the top without any coercion but if there had been an issue, there’s an adult friendly passthrough.
As a nursing mom, I was so happy to see the Mother’s Room with three private nursing areas and a changing table area with a sink! The private rooms had a rocker with ottoman, a television with Sesame Street playing, a basket of toys and a larger toy. This was SUPER exciting for my two OTHER kids who were easily kept entertained while I fed their baby sister. You’ll also find adjustable lighting and outlets for pumping! The sliding door kept them in for now and I’m hoping Scout won’t figure it out too soon. In addition to caring for the smallest of babies, there are two family restrooms located RIGHT IN THE PLAYSCAPE area!
The Art Studio and Music Studio are new to Playscape and both are awesome spaces for kids to create. Self led and organized experiences will take place in these areas. With a focus on art in nature, the Art Studio ties in nicely with the natural theme of the entire Playscape gallery. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to create right alongside children.
There was one area that I couldn’t get my kids away from, and why would I want to? The Reaction Contraption was reminiscent of the Rube Goldberg machine in the Science Works area and the ball activity in the temporary Playscape. Children can put balls into different areas of the machine and watch as they roll certain ways, manipulate where the ball goes with levers and guess where it might end up. My one year old just kept putting the ball in the same place and making sure it went down the ramp and then didn’t care where it ended up because she was already putting another one in.
Playscape did not disappoint and it will provide YEARS of fun for our family! Here are some tips to make the most of YOUR visit;
While Playscape is an awesome area to let the kids loose to explore, jump in and play WITH them, every area was designed for you to participate with your child.
On busy days, check in with the Playscape Greeter and get a “QuickTick”, a front of the line pass for a later time. GREAT IDEA!
Avoid Tuesday and Wednesday mornings if you are looking for a quieter Playscape experience, these are the days that pre school groups visit.
Bring a change of clothes for the kids…just in case they have too much fun!
Playscape is the newly remodeled gallery at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. It is designed for kids five and under and their caregivers. My kids are age 3, 1 and 2 months. There was something there with each of them in mind.
I was not compensated to tell you about Playscape, however, I was invited to a preview to facilitate this article. Our family purchases a museum membership every year, out of our own pocket. We are Children’s Museum enthusiasts!