Top 20 Places to Take Kids in and around Indianapolis
2022's Best Places for Kids in the Indianapolis area!
Every May and June, thousands of local parents, grandparents, and caregivers weigh in on their favorite local places to take kids. Typically, we showcase the Top 20 winners... but this year, in honor of KidsOutAndAbout.com's 21st birthday (we originally launched in June of 2001), we bring you Indy's
TOP 21 Places to Take Kids!
Of course, there are literally hundreds of wonderful places to take your kids in our area, not just this year's winners! Get great ideas here at KidsOutAndAbout.com! What is listed below are just the starting point: Browse through our site and calendar to find lots more, sign up for our fabulous weekly e-newsletter, and be sure to click on Everything That's Free!
1. Indianapolis Zoo
Connect with the wild world at the Indianapolis Zoo! Open year-round with 64 acres of indoor and outdoor habitats, the Zoo is home to more than 1,400 animals of about 230 different species as well as 47,000 plants. Triple accredited as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden, visitors can enjoy all three attractions for one admission price. Hosting more than a million visitors annually, the Zoo is conveniently located in downtown Indianapolis along the scenic banks of the White River.
2. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is extraordinary—always! Through its world-class exhibits, the museum strives to excite and encourage family learning and curiosity by providing limitless opportunities to create memories and foster a sense of discovery. The mission of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is to create extraordinary learning experiences across the arts, sciences, and humanities that have the power to transform the lives of children and families. The Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience® is a 7.5-acre outdoor sports park with 12 sports for children and families to enjoy.
3. Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre
Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre in Carmel, IN is one of the nation's longest continuously operating community theatres. Civic produces both large-scale musicals and popular plays while offering year-round education programming. Beyond the classes for kids, Civic also has a Jr. Civic musical for kids ages 8-14 in the summer as well as different summer camps. Learn more about Civic at civictheatre.org.
4. Conner Prairie
Spanning more than 1,000 wooded acres in Central Indiana, Conner Prairie welcomes more than 400,000 visitors of all ages annually. As Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute affiliate, Conner Prairie offers various outdoor, historically-themed encounters and indoor experiential learning spaces that combine history and art with science, technology, engineering and math to offer an authentic look into history that shapes society today. Conner Prairie is a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization – accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Visit connerprairie.org or call (800) 966-1836 for admission dates, hours, ticket prices and opportunities to donate and volunteer.
5. Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
Located in Santa Claus in southern Indiana, America’s First Theme Park and one of the USA Today’s Top-Ranked Water Parks in the nation offers families a great getaway with amazing freebies. They offer free soft drinks, free parking, AND free sunscreen! No wonder Consumers Digest Magazine has repeatedly named Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari one of the Nation’s Top Value Parks. With three of the top water coasters in the world, Splashin’ Safari has become the Water Coaster Capital of the World.
6. Indiana State Fair
The Indiana State Fair is the state’s largest multi-day event celebrating Hoosiers’ spirit and agricultural heritage. These 17 days celebrate Indiana agriculture and promote it to hundreds of thousands of people across Indiana, and beyond. Nationally recognized for offering great entertainment, showcasing youth, interactive agriculture education programs, premier facilities and a variety of unique, fun foods, the Indiana State Fair has been an annual attraction for generations of Hoosiers since 1852. For information on the Indiana State Fair and year round events, visit www.indianastatefair.com.
7. Newfields / Indianapolis Museum of Art
Newfields offers dynamic experiences with art and nature for guests of all ages. The 152-acre cultural campus is home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which is among the ten largest and ten oldest general art museums in the nation; the Lilly House, The Garden, featuring 40 acres garden, a working greenhouse and an orchard; as well as The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres, one of the largest art and nature parks in the country. Throughout campus, guests young and old are invited to interact with art and nature in exciting new ways. From discovering new ideas in the IMA Galleries to getting fresh air in the art and nature park, there is truly something for everyone at Newfields.
8. Holliday Park
One of Indianapolis’ oldest parks, Holliday Park is located just six miles north of downtown and encompasses 94-acres of beautiful green space. Visitors can explore the nature center, play on one of the city’s best, hard-to-leave playgrounds, hike more than 3.5 miles of picturesque trails or take a stroll around the one-of-a-kind Holliday Park Ruins.
9. Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra / Symphony on the Prairie
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is Indiana’s largest performing arts organization! For families, we recommend our Teddy Bear Series, our annual Yuletide holiday performances and Film concerts. For those who want to experience music through education, check out MYO - youth and family development program of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The program uses the life skills learned in music instruction to engage youth in activities that discourage at-risk behaviors and keep them committed to staying in school. You can learn more about all of our performances by visiting https://www.indianapolissymphony.org/education.
10. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum’s mission is to preserve and share one of the world’s premier collections of automotive and motor racing vehicles and artifacts, with special emphasis on the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Opened in Located within the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, the IMS Museum collection encompasses automobiles and artifacts representing more than a century of Indianapolis 500 culture, drama and competition, plus vehicles representing NASCAR, Formula One, American short-track racing, drag racing and motorcycles.
11. "My Local Library"
Of course, the libraries in the Indianapolis area are not really ONE place, but MANY places... but it's important to emphasize how valuable libraries are for family learning and fun. The libraries in our area are wonderful about posting their events to the KidsOutAndAbout calendar so you always can get ideas for free things to do with your kids that celebrate education and imagination. KidsOutAndAbout.com takes this opportunity to salute the wonderful children's librarians who serve our community with such dedication. They're proud that locals voted them #3 in best places to take kids this year!
12. Indianapolis Art Center
At the Indianapolis Art Center, it’s always about Your Art, Your Way! In offering quality learning for everyone from curious beginners to seasoned professionals, our state-of-the-art studios provide artists and students alike with a transformative environment for learning new skills and crafting creative connections with others. Staying dedicated to building community through art, we strive to inspire creative expression in people of all ages through our Access Art tuition assistance opportunities, outreach programs to underserved audiences, and year-round classes and exhibitions.
13. Indiana State Museum
Located in White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis, the Indiana State Museum brings the best of the museum world to Indiana. Spanning three floors, the museum tells the story of the Hoosier state, and features a year-round calendar of exhibits that explore Indiana art, science and culture. Constructed completely from Indiana materials – including limestone, sandstone, steel, brick and glass – the building itself is a work of art, with icons representing each of Indiana’s 92 counties integrated into its exterior walls. Step inside, and you’ll be invited to experience Indiana’s past, present and future through scientific, cultural, history and art exhibits that help define our place in the world.
17. Action Duckpin Bowling
Located at the intersection of Virginia Avenue at Shelby and Prospect Streets, the Fountain Square Theatre Building opened in 1928 as a place for entertainment, shopping and professional offices. Today, after undergoing renovations started in 1993, the building once again houses events and entertainment such as Friday Night Swing Dance in the Fountain Square Theatre, duckpin bowling in two vintage alleys, a BBQ restaurant, seasonal Rooftop Garden Cocktail Lounge, Imbibe Lobby Bar and Game Room and overnight accommodations at the Fountainview Inn.
20. Urban Air Adventure Park
Looking for the best year-round indoor fun? With new adventures behind every corner, Urban Air Adventure Park is the ultimate indoor playground for your entire family. Take birthdays to the next level or spend a day of fun with the family and you’ll see why we’re more than just a trampoline park. Urban Air is where fun takes flight. Where kids can make friends, make their mark, make their way. And you can make a day of it. At Urban Air, there’s a surprise inside every box. So, let ‘em try something new, something bold, something challenging. Let the kids fly through the park on our sky rider, take on our climbing walls, or reach new heights on all our trampolines. Urban Air. Let ‘em fly. Locations in Noblesville and Franklin.
Winners in Special CategoriesIn the second part of our survey, we asked readers to select their favorites in three categories. Here were their choices.
Top Arts Educator: Indianapolis Children's Choir
The Indianapolis Children’s Choir has been named the Top Arts Education Organization by the readers of KidsOutAndAbout.com! The ICC has continued to nurture and inspire student achievement through quality music education in central Indiana for over 35 years. We invite you and your family to join us to experience choral excellence, which we believe should be accessible to all. We are now accepting singers ages 18 months – 18 years for the 2022-2023 season and our season concerts are all open to the public! Visit icchoir.org to learn more, join, and purchase tickets.
Top STEM Educator: Girls STEM Institute
Girls STEM Institute (GSI) provides young ladies of color, traditionally marginalized in STEM fields, an opportunity to develop an understanding of mathematics and other STEM concepts in a meaningful and culturally grounded context. Within GSI’s rich, rigorous, relevant, and supportive context, young ladies have the freedom to grow interpersonally and intellectually. Through GSI, young women have access to powerful STEM learning experiences that challenge them to think deeply and critically. As STEM learners, they are empowered to use STEM as a tool for personal and social change.