Why we Love the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Far from extinct, the world’s largest children’s museum delights with fossils, physics, and Mr. Potato Head

Despite its location in the “crossroads of America,” the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, which receives over one million visitors annually, is a national destination. Kids will leave the five-story complex with some dirt on their clothes (from the paleontology dig) and an Egyptian pharaoh headdress (one of the gift shop’s most enviable offerings).

Indeed, history and science abound throughout the museum’s exhibits—most notably the “Dinosphere,” an annex filled with light and sound that simulates the environment of the late Cretaceous period (65 million years ago!) when dinos roamed. Little paleontologists will love digging up fossils in the mock excavation site, and anyone—even those too young for safety goggles!—can touch the femur from a real T-Rex.

Wander up the ramp, which spirals around an astounding 43-foot-tall blown-glass tower by sculptor Dale Chihuly, and you’ll encounter a carousel, steam locomotive, an Indianapolis 500 racecar, dollhouses, the ScienceWorks playroom, an extensive display of ancient Egyptian artifacts, as well as North America’s largest water clock.

While local Indianapolis mothers thank their lucky stars (oh, there’s also an enormous planetarium) for this rainy day haven, out-of-towners are also known to come back time and again. For your next visit, try to catch this spring’s temporary exhibitions—Lego Travel Adventure and The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head, where the loveable celebrity toy leads museumgoers through jungles, ancient times, deep waters, outer space, and beyond.