Road Trip: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

TCM exterior

Photograph courtesy The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Once in a blue moon, I have an epic mothering win. Last week it was our visit to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to take in the ultimate double header: the Hot Wheels: Race to Win exhibit (through August 16) and Transformers: Robots in Disguise (through July 26).

If you haven’t been to the museum in a while, prepare for squeals of delight as you pull up to the building, whose façade appears to be the victim of a dinosaur jailbreak. We parked across the street in the free garage and took the skywalk across. So intense was my son’s excitement that he struggled to keep from breaking into a run. Hot Wheels and Matchbox are a religion in our house—more than 130 and still counting—and favorites are marked on the underside with names like “Bad Ratitude,” “Back Slider,” and “Audacious.” The high-octane exhibit featured life-size replicas of certain cars—my kid loved the 1972 Perfect Circle Victor “Project Rotary” Dragster—not to mention the interactive pit stop area (complete with working jack and simulated air wrenches), lots of ramps and raceways for little hands and small cars, and plenty of collectables from the Indianapolis Speedway.

Transformers, on the other hand, with its intricate moving parts and heavy military artillery, can be geared towards the slightly older child. The exhibit is heavy on interactive video and digital imagery as well as impressive components about the design of the toys. Many of the original collector editions are on display with plenty of video footage documenting the evolution of the brand.

Pro Tip: If visiting with younger children who aren’t ready to throw elbows to earn their turn at choice activities, avoid heavy school group traffic on Thursdays and Fridays (supervision was meager at best) and the public crush of weekends.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, 3000 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN, (317) 334-3322,

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