WHERE TO STAY
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.
WHAT TO DO
INDIANAPOLIS CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
RHYTHM DISCOVERY CENTER
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.