Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Visiting: the World’s Biggest Children’s Museum

Courtesy The Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis dates back to 1925 and now, with more than 130,00 artifacts and more than 4,00 programs, is the world’s largest children’s museum.

Highlights include the Dinsophere, the historic carousel, a 55-ton steam engine, cultural exhibits, a 43-foot tall tower of Chihuly glass, an international space station exhibit, and a plethora of sports-themed, interactive outdoor exhibits.

If you visit, be sure to set a good part of your day, because it’s the kind of attraction that offers something surprising and engaging at every turn for both kids and adults.

Behind The Scenes At The Children’s Museum

Like most museums, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis can only display a very small part of its collection. And with such a large collection, that means that a lot of really great stuff is kept in storage.

Lucky for us, Chris Carron, the museum’s Director of Collections, offers occasional behind-the-scenes tours of the treasures.

Here are just a few of our favorites.

The Children’s Museum has the world’s largest collection of Mr. Potato Head memorabilia

Inside this matchbox is a diorama of a village populated with dress fleas. It is one of the smallest objects in the collection.

This Steiff bear was once used as a store display. It’s big, but the museum’s dinosaurs are far bigger.

Museum Monday: Amelia Earhart’s Goggles

Courtesy Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Here’s proof that you never know when you’ll come across something cool in an unexpected place.

Case in point: the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The sprawling museum is not just the largest children’s museum in the world. It is also home to more than 130,000 artifacts, many of them true treasures.

One example: these aviator goggles that belonged to Amelia Earhart. According to museum notes, Earhart “supposedly didn’t enjoy wearing goggles, and would only put them on at the end of the runway and would take them off as soon as she landed.” The museum says these goggles were given to Earhart by a friend who also gave her a leather jacket and a flight cap.

No word on what happened to the leather jacket and the flight cap. But the goggles are on display at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis right now as part of an exhibit called Barbie You Can Be Anything: The Experience. In addition to telling the story of the iconic doll, the exhibit highlights more than 200 careers Barbie has had over the years. Airline pilot is one of them.

Mattel’s Amelia Earhart Barbie doll and the museum’s Amelia Earhart goggles are part of the exhibit.

Barbie as Amelia Earhart

Love the layover: Indianapolis International Airport

All of a sudden there are lots of (free) reasons to visit Indianapolis.

The city has just opened its brand-spanking-new terminal at Indianapolis International Airport (IND), complete with free wireless Internet access, swanky shops and restaurants, and several million dollars worth of brand new public art.

Now museums, attractions and tourist destinations in town have banded together to offer free admission and other freebies, one each day, during the 12 days leading up to Christmas. The promotion begins Saturday Dec 13, with free admission to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum and ends on Christmas Eve with free admission to see Santa, a snow castle and other attractions at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. I have my heart set on flying in by Dec. 20th. That’s when there’ll be free tours at the Indiana Medical History Museum, which bills itself as the “nation’s oldest surviving pathology laboratory.”

(The “Anatomical Museum” room inside the Indiana Medical History Museum. Photo courtesy the IMHM.)

Here’s a link to more information about the 12 days of free events in Indianapolis leading up to Christmas.