I know, I know – the weather has been gorgeous here lately so no need to hang out indoors. But this afternoon is calling for storms and typically spring brings lots of rain, so it’s good to have a back-up plan (or 5) for when the poor weather day comes and your sanity needs you to get out of the house.
I don’t take for granted how lucky we are in Indy. There are a plethora of options of things to do, so I thought it would be beneficial to make a master list you can come back and reference as needed. I broke it down in two categories: free and charged. For our readers not in Indy I definitely suggest adding us to your “places to see” list! We’re such a family friendly city and even have the largest children’s museum in the world – how cool is that?? Onto the list! The list includes Indianapolis and the surrounding metro area (Carmel, Noblesville, Avon, etc).
- The Park at Trader’s Point Christian Church
- Indoor Playground at Lakeview Church – We go to this indoor playground more than any other. It’s just a nice playground for the current ages of my kids. It’s not huge so I can actually sit on the bench and watch them play because I always know where they are. There is a mini playhouse perfect for the 2 and under crew and it’s rarely crowded. Photo below:
- The Treehouse at Plainfield Christian Church
- Public Libraries – Here you can find a rundown of all libraries near you, but I especially suggest making the trip downtown to the Central Library. The children’s area is great, they have wonderful programming throughout the year and if you go to the top floor you get a view of the downtown skyline which my kids think is especially fun!
- Holliday Park Nature Center – Learn all about nature and animals in a kid-friendly environment! They also have party rooms and Betsy hosted Nora’s first birthday there. Photo below:
- The Well Community Center
- Eagle Creek Ornithology Center and Earth Discovery Center – Eagle Creek Park is especially great during nice weather too because then you can take a hike outside and then go inside for some additional learning! Photos below:
- Playland at Brookville Road Church
- Cornerstone Lutheran Indoor Playground
- Your Besties House – seriously is there anything better than having your kids run around at someone else’s house or having the fun come to you so you don’t even have to change or get off the couch? Not really. Typically it’s a last minute text like “hey, you in?” “yea i’m in.” and then we discuss lunch. Instead of everyone bringing their own individual packed lunch that everyone is just going to fight over it’s much easier to crowd source. “I have pizza and fruit.” “Great! I’ll bring the string cheese and pretzels.” “I have leftover dinner casserole for us moms.” It’s perfect! Then at the end (and this is super important) everyone cleans up together. Seriously, don’t go to someone’s house for a playdate and then say “peace” leaving the place like a tornado came through. Not good for the person’s house, not good for your kids to think that’s ok. Team effort!
ADMISSION CHARGED (although many do offer free or discounted days each month so be sure to check out their websites!)
- Garfield Park Conservatory – A few photos above. We hit this place up once or twice a year. Only $2 per person so not going to break the bank. My kids love the conservatory. We pretend we’re walking in the jungle and they love looking at the fish and seeing the mini waterfall. It’s small and the path is circular meaning it’s not very hard to lose a child…you know if you have a kid that likes to run…not that I would know anything about that…
- The Children’s Museum – they also have an annual membership which I highly recommend if you know you’d get use out of it. We usually ask for our renewal as a gift at Christmas instead of more toys. It pays for itself in like 2 visits. It’s also nice to be able to just go for an hour here and there. Photos below:
- Monon Community Center Indoor Pool & Water Slides
- Krannert Family Aquatic Center
- Atomic Duckpin Bowling – for those unfamiliar, duckpin bowling uses much smaller (and therefore lighter) bowling balls. The lanes are also shorter and kids are even allowed to walk partway down the lane to throw to make it easier on them. Bowling shoes were also not required. Photo below:
- Discovery Station at Conner Prairie – while Conner Prairie has lots to do outside, when the weather isn’t nice this is a great option for indoor fun. Parker and Ellie especially loved the “build your own fort” area.
- Monkey Joe’s – 2 locations in Indy. One in Castleton area and on in Greenwood.
- Bonicci’s Fun Place – Betsy took her family here recently and immediately sent me texts, photos and praises about how fun it was. Photos of it included below:
- Carter’s Play Place – we have not checked this place out yet, but it looks like a ton of fun and is definitely on my “must try” list. It is an indoor adaptive playground – meaning an inclusive play place built with kids of all abilities in mind.
- Recreation Unlimited – this is actually where you go to buy play set equipment, but they have a “test” area where your kids can try it all out. They also host birthday parties!
- Rhythm Discovery Center
- Urban Chalkboard – Regular activities and amazing toys and an awesome reading area makes this place a great place to meet up! Photos below:
- Flip Zone – On Thursdays they have a pre-school open gym for ages 6 and under so even if you don’t take classes there you can come and experience all the equipment!
- The State Museum
- Kid’s Planet – brand new place in Brownsburg. It looks like so much fun and I can’t wait to try it out!
- Eiteljorg – we typically don’t go to the Eiteljorg until Christmas time so we can see the Jingle Rails exhibit, but they do have a kids area in the basement as well. Photos below:
- Indiana Historical Society – the link takes you to the “You Are There” experience. This is really fun for kids because they get to experience different eras as if they were really a part of it. There are even actors that stay in character when talking to you. A fun, interactive way to learn history!
- SkyZone Trampoline Park – there are 2 locations in Indy. One in Fishers and one in Plainfield. They offer toddler days on Fridays (5 years and younger) and are also a fun place to host a birthday party. Both Hank and Parker had their birthday party there last year. Even Maren loved it! Photos below:
Hopefully these ideas spur some fun for your family! If all else fails (and weather isn’t too inclement) then I also suggest simply strapping them in your vehicle and going for a nice long drive while rocking out to some Disney tunes. This usually leads to a car nap for my kids and that’s not so bad either!
I’m sure I missed some other hidden (or not so hidden) gems. Please share! What are your favorite indoor places for kids??