Truly, the ultimate family weekend getaway from Cincinnati is hands-down Indianapolis. Home to the World’s largest children’s museum, a top-rated zoo, and the Indy 500, Indianapolis is a hub of family fun. Located only two hours from Cincinnati, Indy is the ideal day trip or weekend adventure. With endless attractions and places to explore, one weekend is never enough in Circle City. Here are five reasons to stop procrastinating and start planning your weekend to Indy today!
The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis
Nothing will prepare you for the magnitude and wonderment of the Children’s Museum. Five floors of interactive exhibits awaits your family including the Sports Legends Experience. Don’t attempt to see the entire museum in one day. Plan ahead and pick a few exhibits to see and use it as an excuse to return again and again. The Dinosphere was a favorite which included a Dino dig, touching a real T. Rex bone and observing an actual paleontologist working in the lab and answering children’s questions. Don’t miss seeing Leonardo, one of four mummified dinosaurs in the world! The Playscape is another must-see exhibit for any child under the age of five. This forest themed area is home to an impressive water table, designated toddler/infant areas, and sand tables – every child’s dream come true.
Children of all ages will enjoy the majority of museum including the National Geographic: Treasures of the Earth, All Aboard and the special exhibits such as DC Super Heroes and The Science of Ripley’s Believe-it-or-Not. The Fireworks of glass is not to be missed as children and adults can admire the 43-foot-tall tower of more than 3,000 pieces of blown glass created by artist Dale Chihuly. Before heading out be sure to catch a ride on the antique carousel and see the real mastodon(!!!) that was found only a few miles from the museum!
The Indianapolis Zoo
This ranks up in my top zoos and in many instances I enjoyed it even more than my hometown zoo! The Indianapolis Zoo is slightly smaller than neighboring zoos, but it is home to some extraordinary exhibits. The zoo is mostly flat and very easy to navigate. Upon arriving your are greeted by the resident Seals and Sea Lions who are usually putting on quite a show for their guests. A visit to the aquarium will have you touching a smooth dogfish shark at the World’s largest shark touch tank. The Indianapolis Zoo is home to the Midwest’s only in-water dolphin program for the public, allowing guests to interact with the dolphins in their exhibit. Try to catch one of their dolphin presentations during your visit.
The Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center is an exhibit you don’t want to miss! This world-renowned facility is not only home to the largest group of Orangutans in any American Zoo, they are also a hub for cognitive research of great apes. Visitors can watch as scientists and zoologists work with the great apes to test their skills.
Enter the Plains and feel like you are on an actual safari. Tall grasses and trees give way for guests to observe the African animals grazing or lounging on the Savannah. A highlight of this portion of the zoo was that a majority of the “must-see” animals were grouped together. Elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras and rhinos were all within the plains loop.
The zoo is also home to a roller coaster, carousel, gondola ride and train! Upgrade to a total adventure package to experience it all including daily feedings.
The Food Scene
Indy is a foodie paradise begging to be discovered. Local eateries, cafes and gastropubs has popped up all over the city offering innovative menus and cuisine. We enjoyed an incredible brunch at Delicia, a neuvo Latin-fusion restaurant serving up craft cocktails and delicious new takes on Latin favorites. My recommendation, go for brunch and order the chorizo hash with a mimosa! They are family-friendly and have a small kids menu.
A staple on any family trip is pizza. From the classic deep dish Giordano’s to the local favorite of Bazbeaux, Indy has your pizza needs covered. We opted for Bazbeaux which had to be consumed at the hotel due to a sprightly little toddler. Let me take a minute to tell you how delicious this pizza is. It might have even tasted better because I was in my PJs in bed, but this pizza was on point.
Newsfields is where art and nature meet. Home of the Indianapolis Museum of Art there is always a fun and educational exhibit that is in town. Swing into the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park. This 100-acre park is full of beautiful gardens and fun art and sculptures scattered throughout. Kids will enjoy checking out a humongous skeleton or peeking in on bird’s nest via video cams. There is a small cost to enter the museum, but the park is free! This makes the perfect budget friendly activity.
Rhythm Discovery Center
How would your child like the opportunity to bang on drums from around the world? Or maybe try out a few percussion instruments? The Rhythm Discover Center offers children the opportunity to explore sounds and rhythm by allowing them to try out a variety of percussion instruments. This percussion museum is ideal for children of all musical abilities. After learning a little bit about the history of percussion adults and kids can dive right into 100’s of instruments to discover their inner drummer. As soon as Sophie is old enough, we are taking her to this unique and fun museum!
Where to Stay
We stayed at a charming boutique hotel in Broad Ripple. The Hotel Broad Ripple is not only the cutest little hotel in the area, but it is located along the Monon Trail. Restaurants and bars are located within a stone’s throw of the hotel, but be sure to take time to walk around the quaint and quirky neighborhood of Broad Ripple. Book your stay at the Broad Ripple Hotel here!
We have only scratched the surface on all the amazing things to do with your family in Indianapolis. Start planning your trip today and learn more by checking out Visit Indy.
We can’t thank Visit Indy enough for sponsoring our trip. As always opinions are my own.