Every year, we love to do a few road trips with our kids. We have a ton of family within driving distance, so our kids are used to spending time in the car. A great one in close proximity is Indianapolis, Indiana.
Just three hours away from the city (traffic and construction dependent, of course), Indianapolis is a great and easy place to visit with kids. We generally try to do the drive without stopping, but if you do need to take a break, there’s a great spot along the way: Fair Oaks Farms. This can be a half day adventure in and of itself, where you can watch a cow being born, sit down for a meal at the restaurant and work your way through all of the kid-friendly activities like a giant jumping pillow and a tiny moving train. If you aren’t up for a full afternoon of activity, it’s great for a quick bathroom and grilled cheese stop (they have great dairy products), and/or a scoop of ice cream.
Once you get to Indianapolis, there’s plenty more to do with the kids for the weekend. Here are some of our favorite must-do attractions when in town:
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Sure, there are children’s museums everywhere, but this is by far one of the best. Things like the carousel, spaceship, giant lobby slide and Chihuly glass are mainstays, but the real attractions are the awesome rotating exhibits like Hot Wheels, DC Superheroes, Doc McStuffins and more. The lobby itself is pretty cool, with Bumblebee the giant yellow Transformer greeting guests as they arrive.
Sports Legend Experience
On the same campus as the Children’s Museum is the new state-of-the-art Sports Legend Experience. Both the museum and the experience could easily take up a half day each, so plan accordingly as to how much your kids can handle—we actually prefer to do them separately. The sports experience is seasonal, taking place in the less frigid Midwest months (March/April-November) and is completely hands-on. Kids of all ages can kick a field goal, putt a junior course, hit a home run and serve a tennis ball, and that’s just scratching the surface. There’s a cool treehouse that overlooks the outdoor exhibits and two different opportunities to have your own Indy 500 race. To cool off, there are a few indoor exhibits to explore where you can record your own sportscast, be in the pit fixing cars at the Indy 500 and shoot a few hoops. This was honestly one of the coolest places we’ve ever taken our kids.
The Monon Trail
If you like to walk or bike as a family, this is a great way to explore the city. The Monon runs through a lot of the city; the best section is around the Broad Ripple neighborhood, where there are plenty of places to stop and grab a bite. Public Greens is owned by the Patachou group (one of our favorite breakfast spots) and has a really cool public garden outside along the trail.
One of our favorite ice cream spots is Brics, a cute little spot right off the Monon with tons of cool flavors like Chocolate Choo Choo and Cotton Candy Confetti. And even if you can’t walk the trail because of weather, kids will eat ice cream any time of year.