All too often you read top 5 lists that simply tell you why Indianapolis with kids is a great idea. But why should YOU as the parent go? I mean, yes, it’s great for your kids, but let’s get real. You are paying for this trip. You deserve to have fun in too!
Indianapolis restaurants are the unsung hero of the city, as well as the public art scene. Don’t feel like you have to skip the Indianapolis Children’s Museum or the Indianapolis Zoo though. There is plenty for parents to enjoy along with the kids, but I’m just saying—remember that this trip is for you too.
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Steller Indianapolis Restaurants
As a parent who loves food, you naturally need to know where to eat first. Get out of downtown whenever possible, but have no fear. We have some recommendations there and within walking distance too.
- Bluebeard, 653 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203.
- Milktooth, 534 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203.
- Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery, 702 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203.
- Mesh, 725 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
- Napolese Pizzeria, 114 E 49th St, Indianapolis, IN 46205.
Get the full report on these Indianapolis restaurants now!
Indianapolis Children’s Museum
Just in case you didn’t know, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum is the largest in the country. It is also one your kids won’t want to miss.
Yes, it is a children’s museum. If you are like me, you cringe at the mere thought of a children’s museum. It’s OK, I feel your pain. However, this museum has four floors for kids to spread out and explore. They aren’t all on top of each other. Screaming.
Science, art, history, sports and culture are just a few areas that kids can get their hands on, with ever rotating exhibits coming in. My favorite? The Pop Culture exhibit, which is permanent, although I have never felt so old. There is a lot of 80s and 90s memorabilia. I basically walked through my childhood bedroom. The comic book collection there will keep most geeky parents, including my husband, happy for a few hours as well.
There is a really good “Power of Children” exhibit that explores the lives of Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges and Ruby White. Bullying and discrimination are not easy subjects to talk about with your kids. Through interactive displays, as well as plays and performances within the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, parents and their children can learn more about the importance of the past and how it can shape our future. This may be the best part of the museum for the whole family. Of course, there are many more spots you can explore and have fun together.
Chat with Ray the Sea Lion at the Indianapolis Zoo
I’ll happily admit that I love a good zoo (ex. the Woodland Park Zoo). As my boys get older, I am much more conscious of the types of zoos I expose my family to though. The Indianapolis Zoo is one of the few zoos in America that is actually accredited (only 10 percent are in the U.S.). They also work hard with partners on conservation efforts, educational programs in the zoo, as well as outside of the zoo, and rehab and rescue partnerships with outside agencies.
The most curious thing of all that I found out is that the zoo accepts surrendered house pets from time to time, particularly exotic pets like macaws and Burmese pythons. Many times, people will buy a cute bird or tiny python as a pet and not realize just how long they will live or how large they will grow. They have no idea what to do with the animal when that bird outlives their mother or they have nowhere to put the snake anymore.
Aside from the zoo practices, there are several amazing creatures you can meet throughout the park including a very loud Pakak the Walrus, who was stranded as a baby in Alaska. You can also meet Ray the sea lion and his harem of ladies. Ray is missing his right eye and is now completely blind. He was stranded off the coast of California after being shot by fishermen. Ray was rehabbed and released, but found again the following year after being shot again which is when he lost his eye and could no longer be released back into the wild. He has since become a great educational tool for the zoo to teach fishermen and children to respect the native creatures who are also fishing the same waters we fish for food.
Monuments and Murals walk
Indianapolis isn’t well-known for its public art, but it is known for its monuments. In fact, it is second to Washington, D.C. for monuments, which was a definite surprise. Even more surprising was the number of murals on Mass Ave and sculptures along the Canal. These are perfect spots for taking photos with the kids. Even better, parents with little ones who can’t last at the Indianapolis Museum of Art don’t have to miss out on the city’s incredible art scene. All you have to do is let your kids run wild on the grass while you walk from piece to piece.
Crashing on a cloud at the JW Marriott Indianapolis
Whenever you are in a new city, you need a place to lay your head. If you are travel solo, with your sweetheart or have the kids with you, the JW Marriott Indianapolis is an easy spot to set up camp. Their beds are amazing. Cloud-like in fact.
While teaching at a conference for a few days my body hurt so much. I woke refreshed after I crashed into my bed each night. My room was large enough that it could easily fit my family of four. The Concierge Lounge offered a filling breakfast, evening snacks and dessert, which save a ton of money on food as well.
Need a second opinion? Read more reviews for the JW Marriott on TripAdvisor.
This post is in partnership with Bloghouse, Visit Indy, Visit Indiana and JW Marriott. As always, my opinions are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of those links I will receive a small commission.