Pack up the car, hit the road, and enjoy some quality time with a good old-fashioned family road trip. You may be thinking, that sounds great – but where should we go? Here’s an idea: just five hours north of Nashville, you will find Indianapolis — a family-friendly city with plenty to offer people of all ages. With museums, parks, splash pads, an incredible food scene, and more — this is a vacation that is sure to leave everyone in your family wanting to come back again and again.
Family-Friendly Things To Do in Indianapolis
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Address: 3000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis
The Children’s Museum, featuring both indoor and outdoor exhibits that are fun for the entire family, is reason enough to bring your family to this incredible city. Take a ride on the indoor carousel; journey to space and gaze at the stars at the Planetarium; enjoy a colorful and fun seasonal play at the Lilly Theater; walk amongst the dinosaurs at the Dinosphere; enjoy sports, sports, and more sports at the outdoor Riley Children’s Health Sport Legend Experience — and there’s more. Fun awaits you and your family at this one-of-a-kind museum.
Address: 1200 West Washington Street, Indianapolis
Lions, tigers, and bears! Oh, my! When you plan your trip to Indianapolis, be sure to check out the Indianapolis Zoo where you are guaranteed to have a wildly good time.
Cake Bake Shop
Address: 6515 Carrollton Avenue, Indianapolis
The foodie scene in Indianapolis is pretty amazing and warrants a blog post all its own, but this is one we just couldn’t leave out. The Cake Bake Shop is everything pink and frilly and flowery and beautiful — and utterly delicious. The Cake Bake Shop’s Mint Chocolate Cake is so good that it even made Oprah’s ‘O’ List. This place is popular, so you definitely want to make reservations. While you are there, be sure to check out the shops of Broadripple Village. They won’t disappoint.
The Canal and White River State Park
Located in Downtown Indianapolis, you will find The Canal and White River State Park with restaurants, bars, museums, shops, and more. With a variety of vehicles to rent — including bikes, Surreys, Choppers, Quad Sports, or Deuce Coupes — there are plenty of ways to get around. Want to enjoy some time in the water? Rent a pedal boat or kayak, and take a cruise on The Canal. Or go by land, and learn about the area with a guided Segway tour.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Address: 4790 West 16th Street, Indianapolis
Home to the Indianapolis 500 and known as the “racing capital of the world”, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a race fan’s dream come true. If you aren’t there during a race day, don’t worry! The IMS offers On-Track Experiences such as Grounds Tours and the Indy Racing Experience Two-Seater.
Address: 13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers
Conner Prairie is an interactive history museum with over 1,000 acres of both indoor and outdoor fun, featuring the following experiences: 1836 Prairietown, 1859 Balloon Voyage, 1863 Civil War Journey, Lenape Indian Camp, Animal Encounters, William Conner House, Treetop Outpost, Discovery Station, Create. Connect, Nature Walk, Makesmith Workshop, and Historic Trades & Food. Looking for something to do in the evening? During the summer months, bring a blanket and your dancing shoes, and enjoy some live music by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, with a remarkable view, at Symphony on the Prairie.
Address: 1235 Central Park Drive East, Carmel
Perfect for a hot day, The Waterpark offers guests the following incredible amenities: FlowRider® (must be 48” tall), The Wall – AquaClimb® 3D Ice, zero-depth activity pool, lap pool, kiddie pool (must be under 48” tall), 1/8-mile lazy river, two adventure slides and a plunge slide (must be 48” tall).
Rhythm! Discovery Center
Address: 110 West Washington Street, Suite A
If you have any music lovers in your family, you will want to check out the world’s first interactive drum and percussion museum. On Saturdays, they offer two interactive family-friendly programs beginning at 11 am and 2 pm, featuring: community drum circles, live performances and educational lessons on percussion instruments from around the world.
Indiana State Museum
Address: 650 West Washington Street, Indianapolis
Learn about the history of Indiana and so much more at the Indiana State Museum. While you are there, check out the educational exhibits, IMAX theater, daily experiences, family programs, events on the canal and more. If you are planning to visit the museum, be sure to see if Peewinkle’s Puppet Show is performing that day. It’s a show you won’t want to miss!
Address: 500 West Washington Street, Indianapolis
Featuring Native and Western Arts and Artifacts, with beautiful works of art and interactive areas in the galleries for children – this museum is both educational and fun. The Eiteljorg also features an area devoted entirely to little ones where they can learn, play, explore and let their imaginations run wild. If the weather permits, take a stroll outdoors and enjoy the beautiful gardens and canal. Be sure to check the calendar to see what events are taking place while you are in town. You won’t want to miss the Indian Market & Festival or outdoor concert series.
Newfields: A Place for Nature & the Arts
Address: 4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis
The Indianapolis Museum of Art offers guests a beautiful, unique indoor and outdoor experience that spans over 100 acres. With exhibits to enjoy indoors, including a weeWonders exhibit for the little ones in your life, and incredible outdoor gardens, sculptures, water features, bars, restaurants and more – a day spent at Newfields is a day well spent.