The Top 5 Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Indianapolis, Indiana

Updated on February 27, 2019

The Indianapolis Children's Museum


Indianapolis Children's Museum

The Indianapolis Children's Museum is a great choice for something that the entire family can enjoy together. Located in downtown Indianapolis, it is the largest children's museum in the world. There is always something to do at the Children's Museum and always something to learn!

The museum began in the mind and heart of Mary Stewart Carey. She wanted to create a museum specifically for the children of Indianapolis. In 1946, the museum opened in the current location at the corner of 30th and Meridian Street in Indianapolis. Generous donations and renovations over the years have led to the current 472,900 square feet of learning and fun for not only the children of Indianapolis, but for children that visit from all over the world.

There are permanent as well as traveling exhibits so there is always something new going on with every visit! Dinosaurs, a visit to Egypt, biotechnology, Mr. Bear's Playhouse and All Aboard are just a few of the exhibits that the whole family can participate in together when visiting the museum.

Museum hours are daily from 10am to 5pm except for Mondays during September to the end of February. If any of the free days fall on a Monday, the museum will be open on that Monday. The museum is closed on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. There are certain days for free admission to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. The first Thursday of every month from 4pm to 8pm are free and Christmas Eve, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President's Day and El Dia de Los Ninos are free admission days.

The Indianapolis Children's Museum also participates in the Access Pass Program which is a special, $1.00 per family member admission price to families who are using Hoosier Healthwise Health Insurance or receive TANF or Food Stamps. You will need proof of assistance and a valid Indiana State issued ID card to qualify for the Access Pass Program.

You can call the museum at (317) 334-3322 to double check and make sure they are in fact open on the day that you would like to visit.

Admission Prices to the Indianapolis Children's Museum

Cost of Admission
Children age 2 to 17
Adults age 18 to 59
Seniors over age 60

President Benjamin Harrison's Home


President Benjamin Harrison's Home

Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States. Construction of the home was completed in 1875 and with the exception of when he served as President and as an Indiana Senator, Harrison lived in the home from the completion in 1875 until his death at the home in 1901.

This historic home contains quite a bit of the Harrison family's original furniture, artwork, d├ęcor and personal items including political memorabilia from when President Harrison was running for public office.

Tours of the home start on the hour and half hour during the museum's hours of operation. Visiting the President Benjamin Harrison Home is a great history lesson for children and adults alike. Since the tour of the home only lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, it is a good activity for younger children that have shown an interest in history but still have a shorter attention span.

There is also a permanent exhibit that may be of special interest to girls and women that is located in the Carriage House of the President Benjamin Harrison Home. It is called Bustles to Ballots and features artifacts from the Women's Suffrage movement, their right to vote.

The Harrison Home is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 3pm and is open on Sundays from 12:30pm to 3:30pm during the months of June and July. The last tour starts at 3:30pm. It's best to call the museum at (317) 631-1888 before visiting because these hours can change if there is an event going on at the home.

Cost for Admission to the President Benjamin Harrison Home

Cost of Admission
Children 4 and Under
Students age 5 to 17
Adults age 18 to 64
Seniors age 65 and Over
Group Rates
Available, call for details.

Garfield Park


Visit Garfield Park

Garfield Parkis the oldest park in Indianapolis. It was established as a public park in 1881 and is 136 acres of public space. There is much more to do in Garfield Park than playgrounds and picnics, although both would make for a fantastic family afternoon activity!

The park not only has playgrounds but there are many programs going on at different times of the year for families to take part in. The Garfield Park Arts Center provides many activities for kids and adults to expand their knowledge of many forms of art including visual and performing art.

Speaking of performing art, there are occasionally free concerts that are great for the entire family a few times a year at the Garfield Park MacAllister Amphitheater. Children and adults will both enjoy a nice summer or fall evening outdoors listening to great music. Picnic baskets, blankets and lawn chairs are all welcome at these free concerts.

The Sunken Gardens and Conservatory bring an interesting botanical show where children can learn about flowers, gardening and enjoy the ornate fountains (viewing only, no wading or swimming in the fountains). The Sunken Gardens and Conservatory are open with free admission daily from 10am to 5pm and from 1pm to 5pm on Sundays.

These are just a few examples of what is available for families to do at Garfield Park in Indianapolis. Garfield Parkoffers so many more year round activities than what have been mentioned here including the sledding hill, sports participation, the tennis courts, public library and more.

A Boat Ride on the Canal in Downtown Indianapolis


A Boat Ride or Surrey Tour of the Canal

The canal that runs through Downtown Indianapolis is actually the remnants of what was supposed to be a connection between the Wabash and Erie Canal to the Ohio River. Obviously the project was never completed and construction came to a complete stop in 1837.

The canal has been used for different things over the years. The company that used to be known as the Indianapolis Water Company used the canal as a power source for their West Washington Street pumping station when part of the canal had to be diverted underground because of the construction of Interstate 65 in the late 1960s. Currently is is being used to house six species of turtles that are studied to evaluate the impact to wildlife by urban environments.

In 1985, the City of Indianapolis decided to give the canal a new look and repairs. They decided to drain the portion that runs through the downtown area, rebuild it and refill it. The project took some time to complete but the ending result is the major portion of the beauty of the canal that we all see today.

Taking a tour of the canal in Indianapolis has become more family friendly and can be done by paddle boat or with a ride in a Surrey. If you are looking for something that is kid friendly and completely different then one of the options you have is renting one of these interesting contraptions and taking a spin around the canal.

Obviously for young children this may not be such a great idea but for an older child that is interested in nature and would appreciate a different view of the city, this is a perfect opportunity for an activity that is not only different but educational. In a paddle boat, there is the opportunity to teach the the purpose of canals in general along with looking to see if any of the turtles can be spotted. If the tour is by Surrey, the conversation can be about the many plants that are in the area, do some turtle watching and a stop for lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants along the way.

The canal downtown is definitely an overlooked source of kid friendly family activities in Indianapolis.

The name of the company that runs the rentals for the canal isWheel Fun Rentals. Their hours vary depending on what time of year it is but they are always open by noon each day and close no earlier than 7pm. August 27th starts their fall season and they are only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until the following May.

You can call the company at (317) 767-5072 to confirm that they will be open on the day and time that you would like to tour the canal.

Cost of a Boat or Surrey for Touring the Canal

4 Seat Surrey
$30.00 per hour
4 Seat Paddle Boat
$30.00 per hour
2 Seat Surrey
$20.00 per hour
2 Seat Kayak
$15.00 per hour

The Indiana State Museum


The Indiana State Museum

The Indiana State Museum collection of Indiana artifacts was started all the way back during the Civil War in 1862 by R. Deloss Brown. He collected many geological and mineralogical specimens in an attempt to preserve them. Eventually a Geologist was hired by the Indiana General Assembly to catalog and preserve the specimens and at that point, the Indiana State Museum was born.

The current location in the White River State Park houses a vast collection of Indiana History. Geological, social and environmental history of the state can be viewed at many of the museum's permanent exhibits. The museum has a vast collection of examples of Indiana history. So vast that even in the permanent exhibits, the artifacts are exchanges approximately four times each calendar year. It is estimated that only approximately 3% of the actual collection is on display at any given time.

Special exhibits are on display at the museum at different times of the year and may require an additional admission fee. These exhibits rotate on a regular basis so there is usually a good selection to choose from throughout the year. There is also an IMAX Theater attached to the museum but admission to the theater to watch a show is an additional cost.

Museum hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Saturday from 11am to 5pm. The museum is closed on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day. Hours may vary depending on events happening downtown that interfere with traffic on the streets around the museum. If you aren't sure that the museum will be open when you decide to take the kids for a visit, you can call them at (317) 232-1637 to confirm their hours of operation for that particular day.

Cost for Admission to the Indiana State Museum

Cost of Admission
Children age 3 to 12
Adult age 13 to 59
Seniors age 60 and Older
Special Exhibits

Artifact of the Month- Tad Lincoln's Toy Solders at the Indiana State Museum

Indianapolis Destinations

Indianapolis Children's Museum:
3000 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46208, USA

get directions

President Benjamin Harrison's Home:
1230 N Delaware St, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA

get directions

Garfield Park:
2450 Shelby St, Indianapolis, IN 46203, USA

get directions

Where to Rent a Boat or Surrey to Tour the Canal:
801 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46225, USA

get directions

Indiana State Museum:
650 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, USA

get directions


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • caseymel profile image

      Melanie Casey 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      We lived in Indy (North side) two years ago and might be moving back soon. I have been to the canal walk, Childrens museum and Indiana State Museum with them, but I will have to bring them to the other locations when we get back. Thanks!

    • Helena Ricketts profile imageAUTHOR

      Helena Ricketts 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      Thank you Maddie!

    • Maddie Ruud profile image

      Maddie Ruud 

      7 years ago from Oakland, CA

      What a fantastic resource! You've really made it easy for potential tourists to find activities that fit their interests (and budget).


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)