Hopefully you noticed I was gone for four days last week. We were out of town on a family vacation with my three and one year olds, Max and Macy. In the planning stages of this, my wife brought up Indianapolis as a possible destination, a suggestion I scoffed at at the time. I mean…Indy? Really?

Eventually, we settled on it because of the reputations of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (the largest kid’s museum in the world) and the city zoo. I’ll tell you what. We had SO MUCH FUN with the kids for an entire week, I’m so glad we went.

Let me pause here in the interest of full disclosure.

After we had made the decision to travel to Indy, I was put in contact with people from the children’s museum and the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Bureau who comped me media passes for the museum and zoo, and a discounted media rate at a hotel in downtown Indy. They were not promised anything outside of the fact that I’d be talking about my trip and writing about it here.

We left on Monday, making a quick stop at the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, IN. This place is hilarious and we had a ball! It really is a kids museum with a mascot theme, with so many fun and interactive exhibits.


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Stop #1 of our trip to Indy… @mascothall

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Once arriving in Indy, we scouted a place for dinner. Since I’m a beer geek, I had to find a brewery (I knew this may be my only opportunity all week). We decided on this cool joint called St. Joseph Brewing…an old church turned into a brew pub. I HIGHLY recommend it for the food, beer and vibe of the place.

We spent all day Tuesday at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Even though we shut the place down, we didn’t have a chance to see everything we wanted to see. This really was the crown jewel of our trip. They have an extensive dinosaur exhibit, which my son Max was flipping out for. He actually loved the dino area so much, we could only pry him away with promises of coming back later! This museum is Disney-esque in their attention to detail and overall experience. They have exhibits ranging from dinosaurs (with real fossils), a space station, blown glass, trains, a carousel,  and so much more. My words barely do it justice!


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The only way we get him put of the dino area is with a promise of going back to the dino area! @childrensmuseum @stefficee #attcm

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And that’s just the inside! The outside is a multi-million dollar area with courts and fields for all the major sports! You can shoot hoops, play hockey or soccer, hit a baseball and even climb this huge tree house! It is absolutely incredible!

We stayed from the time they opened their doors until they kicked us out. And, I have to say, the way they kick people out is genius! About half an hour before closing time, they do a “parade” with their dinosaur mascot. They start at the top floor and parade down the ramp, families joining in as they go. Is that not the best way to say “Get out, please!” ever!?

This is a MUST VISIT if you have kids!

Day 2 was a stop at the Indianapolis Zoo. The exhibits were awesome, and the dolphin show is included in your general admission ticket (my son loved the jumping dolphins!). My favorite experience though was the macaw show, which featured a dozen or so birds flying in and out right over your head! Take a look:


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Super fun day at the @indianapoliszoo with a ball game night cap. @stefficee

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And, for a small fee of about $12, you have an opportunity to feed some of the animals, like flamingos, birds and the giraffe. The orangutan area was another awesome spot! Sure, you can go inside to check out these amazing primates, but even better, there are platforms high above the exhibit with ropes attaching them. Orangutans would climb the hundred feet or so, and tight rope walk from platform to platform. So cool to see them out of the enclosures and acting as if they would in the wild!

Since they close at 5:00, we had a decision to make for dinner. Stay in the hotel room (which isn’t fun with a three and one year old) or find something else to do. We decided to check out the minor league baseball team who had a home game that night. We grabbed some lawn seats, hot dogs and it was a perfect end to the day.

Our third day was free to find something to do, after Googling and checking reviews, we decided to head out to Conner Prairie – which reminded me a lot of Naper Settlement or Lincoln’s New Salem here in Illinois – except bigger and more varied.

They had a visitors center where kids can play with various STEM related exhibits. A huge reconstructed town circa 1836, complete with actors who played the parts of blacksmith, shop owner, potters, etc. The best part for us though was the tethered hot air balloon ride that took you 377 feet above the prairie for the best views in the area. I’m so glad my three year old mustered up the courage to climb aboard!

All in all, if was the perfect family vacation, and if you have kids between 3 and 15, I’d highly recommend the quick three hour drive to Indy. You will not come home disappointed.