Indianapolis’ ‘Children of all Ages’ Museum is a must visit

The exterior of the museum’s IMAX is an exhibit itself.

The Indianapolis Children’s Museum should be called the “Children of all ages” museum. The exhibits appeal to people of all ages, not just children. Who doesn’t like dinosaurs? Space? Chihuly sculptures? They’re all here, along with a few historical and cultural exhibits.

This Chihuly sculpture runs from the fourth floor to the lower level.

You know you’re in for a good time when there’s a brontosaurus sculpture peering into the museum from the outdoors.

This is the entrance to the museum. Is this cool, or what?

Then, Bumblebee from “Transformers” greets you in the lobby.

A life-sized Transformer greets visitors.

We visited the museum courtesy of our friend Katy from Indy with Kids blog. We had a limited amount of time to visit, as we arrived late in the day, but we managed to pack a lot in. next time we’re in Indianapolis, however, we will devote a good half day or so to this place. It is THAT amazing. Katy pointed out a few attractions we should target, so off we went.

Indianapolis is home to the world’s largest children’s museum. It offers almost 15 exhibits or features over five floors. Scienceworks is one of the most popular exhibits. It allows children up-close experience with agriculture-related displays, such as life underground or in the water, as well as sitting on top of a John Deere combine.

The fourth floor is home to a working carousel. It was popular with the children during our visit.

An old-fashioned carousel between rides.

The Indianapolis museum is home to Doc McStuffins, an exhibit based on a Disney program. It runs through Jan. 22, when it will begin a nationwide tour.

Doc McStuffins.

One of the best exhibits we’ve seen anywhere at any museum involves the social impact three children had on the world. These are impacting and address mature information, so they are recommended for people older than eight years old.

Raise your hand if you haven’t heard of “The Diary of Anne Frank?” If you raised your hand, get to your nearest library or google her. Plus, you should have paid better attention in school.

Replica of the kitchen inside the home where Anne Frank and her family lived before being captured by Nazis during World War II.

Anne Frank was a Jewish girl during the Nazi occupation of Europe. Living in Amsterdam, Anne and her family hid in an attic from 1942-44 to avoid being captured by the Nazis. She kept a journal – her diary – of their life in hiding. The exhibit examines the fear and hope she and her family had.

The Anne Frank exhibit pulls no punches in describing life in World War II Europe.

Anne Frank and her family were eventually captured and sent to concentration camps. Only her father, Otto, survived the camps. Anne, her mother and sister perished.

Anne Frank’s father, Otto, likely wore a prison uniform like this.

The exhibit is presented factually. It doesn’t withhold what happened. However, it does drive forward a hope that the future will be better for the world.

The second exhibit features the desegregation of American schools during the 1950s. In 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges became the first African American child to attend a previously all-white elementary school in the South. She was one of six selected to help integrate New Orleans schools. Two children decided to remain at their original school. Three others went to a different school than Ruby.

Ruby Bridges’ story cover the bravery of a six-year-old girl heading into uncharted waters for school in 1960 New Orleans.

Once she entered, white parents pulled their children from the school. Teachers refused to do their job with an African American in their classroom. How threatening was a six-year-old?

A classroom replica.

As the school year passed, life got a bit easier for her. Her second year at the school was drastically different. It was like a normal school year. Eventually, schools were integrated.

Ruby grew up to become a Civil Rights activist. She was honored by President Bill Clinton with the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2001.

It’s sad that racial and religious hatred hasn’t gone away in the United States.

The third voice of the exhibit belongs to an Indianan. Ryan White became the poster child for the HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in the 1980s. Ryan was a hemophiliac, who became infected with the disease through a contaminated blood transfusion.

Ryan White was an Indiana child who acquired HIV/AIDS through a contaminated blood transfusion. His story was another of bravery by a child.

Ryan and his mother worked to share true information about the illness. Ryan ran into discrimination at school, where he was denied attendance because of his illness. People feared they could get AIDS just by touching him.

Prior to the start of his freshman year of high school, his family moved from Kokomo, Indiana, to Cicero. The school’s administrators and students welcomed him with open arms. They supported Ryan and his family.

The exhibit features a replica of the bedroom used in the 1989 TV movie, “The Ryan White Story.” Lukas Haas portrayed Ryan. Judith Light played the role of his mother.

Replica of the bedroom scene from “The Ryan White Story” TV movie.

Ryan White passed away in 1990 at the age of 18. His legacy helped bring awareness to the world about HIV/AIDS. He was an unsung hero in American history.

Ryan White’s positive affect on society.

The three children’s stories are emotionally moving, but share the bravery they displayed. It’s difficult to find that type of character in adults. This was perhaps my favorite exhibit during our visit.

As we moved along, we checked out “Beyond Spaceship Earth.” The exhibit explores the history of space travel, from the days of the Mercury program to today’s International Space Station.

Space station model.

One of the items on display includes a look at space travel through the eyes of fiction writers and movies.

Space has always been a fantasy of many authors.

As we wrapped up our tour of the museum, we had to check out the “Dinosphere.” Here, visitors can “dig” for fossils.

We enjoyed the dinosaur fossil replicas on display. It’s enjoyable when museums position them doing things they likely did during their time.

The Dinosaur exhibit was impressive.

We enjoyed our visit to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. As you can tell, most of the exhibits we visited could be aimed at all age groups. We will visit again on our next trip to Indianapolis. We recommend visiting the museum.

For more information on the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and all of its exhibits, please visit or