The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
Founded in 1925 by Mary Stewart Carey, a rich early Indianapolis resident, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis was based on the Brooklyn Children's Museum. Originally it was located in a carriage house, but as with many successful museums, they outgrew this and kept moving until 1926 when it moved into Carey's mansion (Not bad for one year eh?).
In 1942, they moved to another mansion, but this time it was owned by the museum itself. In 1976, construction was completed on the current location, and they began the process of moving everything with storage, conservation, and many areas of focus separated physically.
Of course, they kept growing, and in 2009 moved to the current size of 472,900 square feet. That's more than 9 football fields (American football). This makes it the largest children's museum in the world.
My daughter was super keen on visiting to see the museum's interactive Minecraft exhibit, and she just wanted to travel someplace.
We were staying in the downtown area, and I had not rented a car, so we took an Uber up to the museum (it's not a walkable distance). We were dropped off right at the front where you can meander through models of the wonders of the world before you go inside to the ticketing area.
The astounding custom-made "Glass Fireworks" in the center access column of the museum. A fairly unique piece of art.
Then it's into the museum proper and the first place that's right in front of you is the Dino Dome! (read that with a deep voice in your head and thunder crashing in the background). Paleontologists are on duty in the lab, and they have a youth program for dig season to work in fossil beds out west. (How is that for a summer camp?) This eventually also leads you to the archaeology section which draws me to it since I have a family member in this field of study.
There are many halls to explore, but we had to go to the Minecraft exhibit with all its interactive displays, models and just exceptional coolness. Right after that, my daughter was really interested in the pop culture section full of Americana items that I have owned or desired, plus items she now wants to collect (it's really awesome, going through everyone's childhood from the 50s to now).
After that, there are many more floors of exhibits, including one on bravery. This one can be a little daunting and disturbing as it has a pretty unfiltered look on Anne Frank and other brave children who have endured intense hardship but were able to keep their humanity through them.
A section on Greece, as there are a lot of people of Greek heritage in the area (coincidentally some of them are my long time friends).
It's a very multidisciplinary museum, and there is something for almost everyone here. Space, Geology, Indiana History...
After going through all of this, I imagine you might be a little hungry and the museum has you covered. The dining hall has many options (but I'm with Miss Picky, so pizza it was - and only pizza).
Now one would be excused for thinking "wow, this is great, and I spent forever in here so I must be done". Oh no, there is a massive sports section, art displays, fields, all kinds of things mainly outdoors. Hey, it's Indiana, the Hoosiers baby!
Vast, multifaceted museum geared toward children and their way of seeing the world. Many amazing displays to help open minds to the greater world and possibilities. Inspiration is oozing from this place, and it also had even my oldness supremely interested.
And if you thought you'd get away with no pictures of museum gift shops? Sorry, but not sorry.