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The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis may be the best children's museum in the U.S., but it is also one of the best science museums in the country. The museum offers 5 levels of display space with plenty of major permanent attractions and featured attractions that change periodically, providing new experiences.
Dinosphere: Now You're in THEIR World
As indicated by the different full-scale dinosaurs on the exterior of the museum, the Dinosphere offers something special to guests. The Dinosphere, which is a dome-shaped building containing interactive dinosaur exhibits, is one of the highlights of this museum. The upper level of the Dinosphere contains a viewing area and the Dinosaur Art Gallery. The lower level contains the dinosaur attractions. The main area of the Dinosphere contains dinosaur fossils in realistic surroundings including lighting and sound. Some of the dinosaurs contain a majority of real dinosaur bones, but others only a few, enhanced by replica fossils cast from real bones. The plaques near each dinosaur indicate the amount of actual dinosaur bones in the skeletons.
Younger visitors will have plenty to do in the Dinosphere. Little ones can dress-up as baby dinosaurs or dig for dinosaur bones at the Family Dig Site. The dinosaur fossils are not simple concrete bones covered by rubber pellets. The fossils are covered with a real rock composite material that must be dug away from the pretend fossil bones similar to the way a real paleontologist must uncover dinosaur fossils.
Older kids will also have plenty to experience in the Dinosphere area. There are interactive video games, tests, and displays to bring science alive. Three unique items that should not be missed are the dinosaur egg fossils, the meteor you can touch, and the dinosaur bone you can touch. The museum also hosts paleontogists who work on real fossils on-site in a laboratory called the Paleo Prep Lab, where guests can view the work and ask questions. The dinosaur bones are excavated from a site in the Dakotas over 500 miles away.
ScienceWorks, sponsored by Dow, is located in the 4th floor of the museum. Most areas of science are represented here. The ScienceWorks attraction is also home to the Health House, rock climbing wall, SciencePort, and Biotechnology Learning Center. There are many different hands-on activities kids can try at ScienceWorks including a flood control model, water and hydraulics area, building and crane area, and a real freshwater pond with live animals.
The Health House is a place to help kids learn about healthy eating. The Couch Potato and Teeth Rex characters help introduce kids to healthy foods in a fun way.
To use the rock climbing wall, kids must have a ticket, which gives them a reserved spot at one of the climbing times. An instructor reviews safety with the kids and helps them to put on the safety harness. Kids can then climb the indoor rock wall. The tickets are free and distributed on a first-come basis in the ScienceWorks area starting at 10:00 AM.
The SciencePort is one of the highlights of the this area. SciencePort can be accessed up the stairs near the back of the room. Kids must have an adult with them when entering the area. There are multiple stations set up, which a resident scientist will help kids to understand the purpose. The stations offer anything from microscopes to making things to creating your own movie. The subject of SciencePort changes frequently to offer repeating guests new challenges.
The Biotechnology Learning Center is similar to a chemistry lab. The recommended age for kids is 10 and up, and kids must be accompanied by an adult. Check with the museum information desk to find out what times this center will be open during the day.
At 26 feet in height, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis features the largest water clock in North America. Water clocks use a hydraulic mechanism to keep time instead of strictly mechanical parts. Kids and adults love to watch all of the liquids fill up the different tubes and cylinders keeping track of hours, minutes, and seconds.
The museum also contains a food court and a nice museum gift shop. The museum gift shop contains toys and gifts that match many of the museum attractions, artwork, unique toys, and one of the best collections of science-related toys and games available.
INDIANAPOLIS CHILDRENS MUSEUM
- Location: Indianapolis, IN
- Science Learned: Paleontology, Energy, physics, hydrology, health science, engineering
(check schedule online for holidays)
- Tuesday-Sat.: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Sunday: Noon – 5:00 PM
- Cost: See website to verify
- Adults (18 and older): $18.50
- Kids (2-17): $13.50
- Seniors (60 and older): $17.50
- Children 1 and under: Free
- parking is free
- URL: www.childrensmuseum.org
Address: 3000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208
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