Monday, August 2, 2010

Travel Notes: Indianapolis

I lived in Indianapolis for nearly 2 years after college, but it was such a different experience visiting with kids.  I had no idea what to expect in terms of child-friendly places, as my time pre-dated family activities.   I was very impressed.


We chose the Candlewood Suites, which ended up being a remarkable option.  It was the size of an apartment and had a full kitchen (sans oven, but included dishwasher and full fridge/freezer).  Only $103 a night, which seemed like a steal.  Free laundry too, which was a highlight for me.  :)  It's intended for longer-term stays (we met a few persons who'd had housefires or staying near the hospital).  No breakfast, but you do have the kitchen and they have a 24-hour pantry downstairs with quite a variety of food.

I later learned about a theme-suite hotel about 15 minutes south of Indianapolis.  We're doing a Pirate Suite in Cincinnati tonight, or I might have considered this one.



Our favorite thing, hands-down, was the Children's Museum.  Their Egypt exhibit was top-notch.  You board an Egyptair plane, and then enter a large area set up like a village.  A rural home, city home, clothing store, restaurant, grocery store.  I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot.  I would love to see more exhibits like this, of countries around the world.  Wouldn't that make a great museum of its own?

It was also hosting the Star Wars exhibit, which made my children's day (perhaps Andrew's entire life).  But even non-Star Wars fans will love it the museum.


I'm not impressed by their website, but the actual museum is excellent.  When you enter the museum, the kids have 3 different styles of giant gongs to try.  They also had a large drum circle with about 12 drums.  But the best part was the hands-on area, which was a large space with all types of instruments for the kids.  Steve also liked the sound rooms with the real drums to play, so he could pretend to be a rock star. :)  I liked how much the kids could just touch and play with that entire area. 


I wish we'd gone down to the Canal Walk more when I lived there, when Steve and I were dating.  On this trip, we rented paddleboats with the kids ($30 for an hour, although we only did 30 minutes due to Littles).  Such a great urban area. 

This is a western and Native American art museum, but it was so much more than I expected.  I was stunned by the quality of artifacts they had there.  They have AAA discounts of $2 of the price (regularly $8 for adults, $5 for children). 

We loved the upstairs area with the outfits, tools, and hundreds of other items on display.  But they also have a downstairs area that is hands-on for children, including a great stagecoach.  Both levels of the museum were excellent, just a different style.

The two things we skipped but will do next time are:

CONNER PRAIRIE:  An interactive historical park.  We were planning to go Monday, and then learned they were closed Mondays.  But I'd love to try the hot air balloon.

INDIANAPOLIS ZOO:   Supposedly has one of the biggest shark touch tanks, and also a submerged dolphin tank so you can watch them swim up close.  It was *freakin'* hot the day we considered going, and a zoo would have been a disaster. time. :)

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