I grew up in a small Indiana town that is a little over 85 miles north of Indianapolis. When I first moved to Ohio, I would often tell people I was from Indiana, not mentioning my hometown because no one had ever heard of it. They also unfortunately thought Indiana was synonymous with Indianapolis, which led to a little geography lesson. Although I am not from Indianapolis, I am familiar with the city. Until recently, I had not spent time there with my husband and daughters enjoying the family-friendly attractions that it offers.
This is a sponsored post. VisitIndy.com provided my family with a hosted visit to Indianapolis, however all thoughts expressed are 100% my own.
Our Family Trip to Indianapolis
When you travel with children your top priorities are to find the best way to keep them entertained, fed, and free of meltdowns. Failing in any of these areas, whether during a ten hour road trip or two hour road trip, easily brings headaches for all involved. Our recent weekend road trip to Indianapolis called for a schedule and a map of exactly what we were doing each day. I am just that kind of girl–I need schedules and organization. I simply wanted to be sure to have plenty of time to enjoy each attraction on our list, being sure to include down time for our toddlers so they could recharge for the next activity.
VisitIndy.com makes planning your trip to Indianapolis easy. The site has a cool feature called, Collections, provides itineraries based on the type of visit/travel excursions you are looking for – including a modern family itinerary. Whether you are looking for things to do and see, places to stay or where to dine in Indy, this feature makes it simpler for you to choose what you want to do based on your interests. Our family trip to Indianapolis was planned through the category of ‘Modern Family‘.
Where We Stayed
When we arrived at our hotel, we were greeted by a friendly staff and our children became Marriott Kids. They received darling cookbooks and Nickelodeon themed activity sheets, which of course made them squeal with excitement and kept them busy while my husband and I got our bearings and a minute to relax from the drive.
The children most enjoyed ending our night with swimming and time in the hot tub. The pool area provided us with a spectacular view of downtown and the night sky.
When visiting the city of Indianapolis, I highly recommend staying near or as close to downtown. The location of the hotel could not have been. Every place we visited we were able to get to within five minutes by walking or driving except the Children’s Museum, which was a ten minute drive.
What We Did
This place is almost hidden. It was only a five minute walk from our hotel but took as a few minutes to figure out exactly where it was. When we did, we realized we had been standing outside of the building for a few minutes. We visited on a Saturday morning and found no crowd at the interactive percussion museum. As a mom of toddlers I secretly screamed “Yes!”. The museum offers history of percussion instruments, from drums of different countries to drum sets used by the Beatles. The center includes interactive stations for all ages which made it the perfect place for the girls to make some noise!
The best way to give you an idea of what fun you can have at this place is by showing you.
It has been over a couple decades since I last visited the Indianapolis Zoo. Taking my children to a place of which I have fond memories was special for me. The zoo has grown a lot since my last visit but was just as beautiful, educational and interactive as I remembered. The zoo is only a few minutes from downtown, which made it extremely easy to get to from the Rhythm Discovery Center and our hotel.
Unlike many of the zoos I have visited, the Indianapolis Zoo seemed condensed, so walking between exhibits was not tiring. For once, I was able to leave a zoo without hurting toes, and most of all, knowing we had thoroughly enjoyed our visit.
Some of our favorite exhibits were the Oceans area where we saw sharks, dolphins, sea lions, penguins and more. If you really want a treat, be sure to grab tickets to the Dolphin presentation. Shows are at various times throughout the day and are ticketed, however, they are free.
The Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center was extremely impressive. The orangutans have a large, mainly indoor, area to live and roam. The ground to ceiling outdoor/indoor viewing area allowed us to get a close look at the orangutans. The center has several learning opportunities and areas for the smallest zoo visitor to the oldest.
The Plains area was another favorite of ours. Giraffe, elephants, rhinos, zebra, and cheetahs are animals we always want to see and the Indianapolis Zoo has several of them all. Ever wanted to see if you are as fast as a Cheetah? Well, my husband obviously wanted to know, which is why he had tons of fun “racing” a cheetah. I can tell you, he really believed he could beat the cheetah, however, the cheetah’s time and distance was unbeatable. Good try, honey!
When visiting outdoor attractions during the summer with little ones, staying cool is always a concern. Luckily, riding the carousel a few times (yes a FEW times) and jumping on the train offered us a little rest, shade and a breeze, which greatly helped us to enjoy our time at the zoo.
The last attraction we visited on our family trip to Indianapolis was the beloved Indianapolis Children’s Museum. I say beloved because as a child, it was my favorite field trip to take. It is over four levels of pure family-friendly fun and education. We visited first thing Sunday morning and found it to be fairly quiet, but by that afternoon there were many families enjoying a day at the museum.
We want our children to be exposed to and familiar with cultures from around the world. So, our favorite exhibit by far was the Take Me There: China exhibit. We went on an imaginary trip to Beijing where we flew on an airplane, dressed like locals, shopped in markets and dined at the cutest Chinese restaurant with an all-kid staff. This exhibit is a must-see!
Where We Ate
If you are looking for inexpensive family-friendly eats in Downtown Indianapolis, check out Le Peep for breakfast/brunch, Punch Burger for lunch and Colts Grille for dinner. All offered great food and service and were all within walking distance from the Marriott.
The city of Indianapolis offers a TON more to do with your family. Make it your next family trip and be sure to head to VisitIndy.com for all your trip planning needs! Follow them on Twitter and Facebook, #LoveIndy and #VisitIndy!
Which Indianapolis attraction do you want to visit?
Click HERE for a chance to visit the Rhythm Discovery Center!
This is a sponsored post. VisitIndy.com provided my family with a hosted visit to Indianapolis, however all thoughts expressed are 100% my own.0