When we started planning this trip we knew we had to visit The Children's Museum of Indianapolis simply because it is the world's largest. We started planning the day before looking at the museums website which I highly recommend. There is a section for tips and it lists which exhibits are free but require tickets, mainly the play and planetarium. There are several talks, mini demonstrations and more throughout the day but the museum in itself is huge! Knowing this we sat down and discussed each exhibit and planned our day around each child's interest and talks or activities. The two of them picked one exhibit together and each of the them choose two exhibits which were guaranteed, another two which would be attempted and anything else was a bonus. They were not allowed to complain about exhibits they did not pick. I highly suggest this with multiple children.
National Geographic: Treasures of the Earth was the first up exhibit. A1's pick because she had been asking to visit a Tut themed exhibit.
To her surprise it also introduced the concept of underwater archaeology in more depth.
Put together King Tuts sarcophagus! A1 really wanted to do this alone (cough- mom forced sister into it) but several kids kept grabbing pieces. I suggested her being firm and asking other kids to wait patiently. To my surprise, she did and the other kids (and parents) were respectful of that choice!
When learning about Ancient Egypt (we spent roughly 60 hours learning about Egypt!") A1 was interested in the canopic jars. It was nice for her to see the size approximations and what they looked like. A1 appreciated the museum feel to the Children's Museum. It would give parents something to do and it allows the museum to grow with older kids.
I mentioned the museum has talks, while visiting family, A1 watched a documentary on the terracotta soldiers, she was excited to attend the talk. It wound up being a little basic so we skipped the Tut talk later that day.
The girls completed the terracotta soldier puzzle together.
A2 chose dinosaurs and the train exhibit. The train exhibit wasn't spectacular so we moved on pretty fast.
Leonardo the Mummified Dinosaur was pretty special though:)
The girls have a friend who was inspired by Chihuly and passed the passion along to A1 at a birthday party.
A1 chose the China exhibit as her second choice. Both of them loved it equally! They learned about food presentation, the opera, caring for panda's and even did a little water brush painting.
The science exhibit they chose together, it was crowded and in my opinion equivalent to most other children's museums nationally.
Their toss up exhibits they missed were Power of Children (8+) and Playscape (pre-k) but neither were disappointed because the day had been so full.
We loved the museum but the two things I would like to see are longer hours and reciprocity. For a family of three to visit we paid $58.50 for admission... But all of us loved our experience and the staff was outstanding so I'd rate it an 8/10.
I'm knocking two points off because I think it can be a little overwhelming for younger kids from what I could tell. Also, another point because I think they could be open 9-6 and it would make it less rushed in the summer when more people are visiting.