Top 10 Family Things to Do in Indianapolis

Make your trip to Indy one for the books with activities that will appeal to kids and adults.

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Photo By: Visit Indy

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Photo By: Visit Indy

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Photo By: Jeremy Meier and Indiana Landmarks

Enjoy Bikeshares and Street Art

While you could definitely spend some time at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, we have a hunch that older kids will enjoy seeing great works outside. Grab a set of wheels from the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare and ride through Indy's 6 different cultural districts, stopping along the way to admire murals by local artists. The mural pictured here can be found ornamenting favorite neighborhood coffee shop and restaurant Henry's Coffee Bistro, if you're looking for a place to grab a quick bite.

Picnic at the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park

Continue the art adventure at the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, which sits on the west side of the Newfields campus. Open from sunrise to sunset with free parking and admission to the public, this 100-acre green space features woodlands, meadows and a lake all in one place. Best of all, there are huge art installations hidden throughout the grounds, like Funky Bones (pictured) by Atelier Van Lieshout. We suggest packing lunch and picnicking while the kids play, then rounding everyone up for birdwatching by the lake.

Walk the Monon Trail

Staying active isn't hard to do in a city like Indy, especially when you have access to the Monon Trail. Once a railroad route, the trail was established as a greenway in 1996 and today spans more than 25 miles. The path is also paved throughout, which means that you can bring strollers, rollerblades and bikes. While there are multiple entry points, we recommend parking at the Monon's dedicated lot (at 1451 E. and 96th St.) and making use of the restrooms and water fountains. Along the way, break for a drink at Books & Brews. Your kids can flip through some of their favorite stories or play games while you enjoy a craft beer.

Try Duckpin Bowling at Fountain Square

Your family is in luck: the only authentic Duckpin Bowling Alleys in the Midwest are set in Indy's Fountain Square Cultural District. A variation of 10-pin bowling, this special game was born in Baltimore, Maryland and is played with balls and pins that are significantly smaller than the standard sizes. Kids are virtually guaranteed to get a kick out of the game and the 1930s decor at Action Duckpin Bowl, but you'll need to reserve a lane online before you go. Though the lane rental is $40 per hour, bowling shoes are free of charge. Once your hour is up, grab a bite to eat at the Atomic Cafe.

Stroll Through Garfield Park Conservatory

There's nothing like a leisurely stroll with the ones you love. If you're looking for a more low-key activity after an afternoon at the Indianapolis Zoo, drive 10 minutes south to the Garfield Park Conservatory. Here, among all the plants and fountains, you'll find a variety of kid-friendly programs, including Saturday Storytime and educational creature encounters. General admission is just $2, while children 2 and under are free.

Climb the Flat Fork Creek Treehouses

When you need a break from the bustle, head to Flat Fork Creek Park, which is about a 30-minute drive from downtown Indianapolis. In addition to 5 miles of trails, the park boasts 3 treehouse forts connected by a paved path. The treehouses will keep your children entertained for hours and wear them out for the drive back to the hotel.

Search for the Ndy Signs

Talk about a picture-perfect moment! Before you head home, take your kids on a quick scavenger hunt to look for the special Ndy Signs, which are located at the Indianapolis International Airport, Mass Ave. and Alabama St., and Lucas Oil Stadium. Your little ones will have so much fun putting the "I" in "Indy" after everything they've done.

Visit The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

We couldn't possibly list the best kid-friendly activities in Indy without mentioning The Children's Museum. Boasting 472,900 square feet and five stories of exhibit halls, this facility is the largest children's museum in the world. Your children can dig for dinosaur bones, uncover Egyptian tombs, experience American pop culture and learn about the day-to-day duties of astronauts all in one afternoon. Our advice? Buy your tickets online two weeks prior to your trip and save up to 25 percent on admission. Or, better yet, visit from 4-8 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month to get $5 tickets (no joke). You can use the money you save for dessert (including vegan and gluten-free cupcake options) at The Flying Cupcake's downtown location, which is only about 10 minutes away.

Peruse the Original Farmers' Market

Given Indiana's history as an agricultural hub, it makes sense that this city is home to 8 major farmers' markets. Visit between May and October to catch the Original Farmers' Market downtown, which sets up shop on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. just outside of the historic City Market. While you and your family browse the stalls (and get a taste for the best fresh fruit, baked goods and cheese in the city), you'll also savor the sound of live music from the Sun King Stage.

Take a City Market Catacombs Tour

Once you've seen the Indianapolis City Market from above, it's time to go below. Down in the Catacombs, you'll find the remains of Tomilson Hall, which was built in 1886 and eventually burned down in 1958. Parents will be pleased to know that there aren't any bones or crypts, only brick barrel-vaulted arches, while kids will love exploring the city via underground tunnel. Guided tours are offered on the first and third Saturday of the month between May and October, and tickets must be booked in advance, but it's safe to say that this will be a big hit.

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