Who knew that a long weekend in Indianapolis could be so fun! My family and some of our neighbors made the trip to Indy for a long weekend in October. We knew that we wanted to visit the award winning children’s museum and probably the zoo, but the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association recommended we make time to visit Conner Prairie, which I had never even heard of and ended up being our favorite part of the weekend!
The Children’s Museum
The Indianapolis Children’s Museum is certainly one of the nicest in the country. With 5 floors of interactive fun for all ages take your time and explore. I tend to want to see it and then move on to the next thing, but here you really have to slow down and take your time. Some of my favorite exhibits include the dinosaurs and talking to the archaeologist that was working on cleaning and authentic T-Rex bone. My other favorite exhibit was the Power of Children exhibit. Here you can learn all about children who used their unfortunate circumstances to change the world. I was moved to tears watching the Ryan White story, felt inspired by Ruby Bridges and her bravery, and mourned for Anne Frank and all she endured. You can read more about the Indianapolis Children’s Museum on a previously written blog, click here.
Our time at Conner Prairie
Next, our group had a big discussion about whether we should go to the zoo or Conner Prairie that none of us had ever heard of. After some discussion, we decided to give Conner Prairie a try. I only have one word for this attraction: AWESOME! We had the best day and have since recommended the place to anyone who would listen. I could just go on and on about it. Conner Prairie is an interactive history park, or living history museum that gives guests a glimpse into the lives of Native Indians, an 1830’s prairie town, a glimpse into the civil war in Indiana, and a cool four-story tree house. Staff in historical clothing (and in full character) demonstrate the way early inhabitants in the area lived in each of the sections. Kids are encouraged to touch and learn with most of the buildings offering hands-on learning. My 13-year-old son was fascinated with the sewing building where he asked a million questions about the process of taking wool from a sheep and turning it into a sweater. I never dreamed a wool loom would hold his interest for close to 45 minutes. It’s a great place for people of all ages to visit, we had kids with our group as young as four and they all enjoyed it. The only down side to our day was that we had plans to go up in the tethered balloon and it was not operating due to wind. Make sure you stop in the Apple Store for an apple slushy before you leave! We got to the attraction at 10 am and didn’t leave until it closed at 5 pm, Conner Prairie alone was worth the drive to Indianapolis. I have included more photos from Conner Prairie at the end of this blog.
On our last day in Indy,we went to the Indianapolis Zoo. I just want to highlight a few things that this zoo has that many others don’t and I’ll start to the most important thing: DOLPHINS. I love dolphins and included in your admission is the dolphin show, so you get a little taste of Sea World in Indianapolis. If you visit on a hot day sit down front and be prepared to get wet. There were a lot of cool extras at the zoo like the race a cheetah exhibit, a roller coaster, a skyline, 4-D theater and more. All of these extras, of course, cost extra and could really add up if you did them all, so we recommend just picking a few. Another great feature of the of the zoo is the included admittance to a 3-acre landmark botanical garden, there is also a nice summer splash park for the littles.
The Drury Inn
Finally, I’d like to tell you where we stayed in Indy because I’m a huge fan of the Drury Inn and Suites chain. We have stayed with them on many trips and just can’t say enough good things about this chain. There are several locations in Indianapolis, we chose to stay outside of downtown, closer to Conner Prairie. My kids had a fabulous time swimming outdoors in October with their indoor/outdoor pool, us adults thought they were nuts! The Drury Inn offers FREE happy hour drinks, a great free hot breakfast, and happy hour food in the evening, which you could totally make a meal out of if you want. This might be an odd thing for me to love, but I absolutely love the way Drury does their shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner in giant dispensers in the shower rather than the annoying little plastic bottles. My hair needs lots of conditioner, so at other hotels, I always have to bring some, plus I hate to think of all those little plastic bottles in the landfill. It’s the little things like that that make staying at Drury Inn and Suites so enjoyable.
Note: Portions of this trip were provided in-kind, however, we have provided an honest review.