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The Chocolate Slide in the museum’s Sunburst Atrium looks like a river of chocolate. People 37 inches and taller are welcome to slide on their own. Children under the height restriction can ride on a parent’s or caretaker's lap. / Image: Chez Chesak // Published: 4.2.19
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The World's Largest Children's Museum Is Less Than Two Hours Away

Cincinnati is full of fascinating museums, but when it comes to sheer size, an Indianapolis museum prevails. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, which is conveniently only a two hour drive from Cincinnati, is the largest children’s museum in the world. Its 29 acres of fun-filled exhibits engross and engage your budding scientist, race car driver, athlete, acrobat, historian, or explorer.

The museum’s accolades are almost as impressive as their five-story tall Brachiosaur that welcomes visitors at the entrance. The museum was named by The New York Times as one of the ten coolest museums in the world (placing fourth), while Lonely Planet, MSN.com, Reader’s Digest, and USA Today all listed it as a must-see attraction. In 2017, USA Today’s readers ranked the museum as the very best children’s museum in the world.

It's no wonder families enjoy visiting so much. Attractions include the following:

  • Dinosphere: a $25 million gallery displaying one of the nation’s largest collections of authentic juvenile and family dinosaur fossils.
  • National Geographic Treasures of the Earth: a 7,400-square-foot exhibit where guests travel to the archaeological dig sites of China’s Terracotta Warriors, the tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh Seti I, and the wreck of Captain Kidd’s ship, the Cara Merchant.
  • Beyond Spaceship Earth: a recreation of part of the International Space Station that offers an immersive space object experience and displays an Astronaut Wall of Fame.

  • Playscape: a gallery for young children (infants through age five) that features several hands-on play areas.

  • The Power of Children: a gallery featuring the stories of Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges, and Ryan White show the impact children have had (and will continue to have) in shaping history.

The list goes on. A 55-ton steam locomotive, a full-sized carousel, renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s largest permanent installation of 3,200 intertwined glass pieces, a giant water clock, live performances in a 350-seat theater, and quite a bit more are all packed into the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

In 2018, the museum opened a $38.5 million expansion, the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience. The indoor and outdoor space combines sports history, physical activity, and health education in a delightful 7.5-acre landscape. Families can practice on kid-sized hoops at the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever Basketball Experience. The Indianapolis Colts Football Experience allows you to practice passing and kicking, as well as other football skills among tackle dummies. Kids can even race pedal cars in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pedal Car Racing Experience, as well as explore, play, and learn in nine other immersive experiences.

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You can plan your visit and save money when you purchase tickets in advance at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ website.

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