18 fun Indiana kids activities in Indianapolis and beyond

Indianapolis and the greater Indiana area have virtually endless adventures just waiting for your family to experience. You'll find fun for kids and adults alike with activities that cater to a wide variety of interests and capabilities. Whether you're looking to explore the outdoors or dive into the Hoosier State's indoor activities, you'll find no shortage of exciting things to do. You can even mix and match different kinds of activities to add some satisfying variety to your adventure that you and the kids are sure to enjoy. Discover the best Indiana kids activities in Indianapolis and Indiana as a whole.

Kid-friendly activities in Indianapolis

1. Scavenger hunt

When you arrive in Indianapolis, one of the first things you'll need to do is get your bearings, and there's no better way than embarking on a scavenger hunt. This interactive tour will take you to a variety of top spots across Indiana's capital including downtown art installations, historical sites, and impressive memorials. Scavenger hunts take about 2 hours, so make sure your phone has enough battery power to get through the entire journey as the clues and maps are available via an app.

2. Children's Museum of Indianapolis

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is one of the most popular destinations in town, and your kids will find plenty to do here. It's one of the largest children's museums in the world and functions more like a giant playground than anything else from your kid's perspective. Even so, they'll have educational benefits to enjoy throughout the journey including an interactive science lab and mock ancient tombs. You'll even find things to do for kids as young as toddlers along with outdoor activities in the surrounding fields.

3. Newfields

Newfields is a part of the Indianapolis Museum of Art that adds a new kind of experience that families can enjoy. This is an outdoor area and art sanctuary that kids can explore to find impressive sculptures and artworks that are more interactive than typical museum pieces. Much of the art among the natural beauty here is accessible to kids, as they're even allowed to climb on the pieces. If that weren't enough, admission is free, so it's an ideal destination for Indiana vacations on a budget.

4. Rhythm Discovery Center

When you take your kids to the Rhythm Discovery Center, you can enjoy a more active experience compared to what you might expect from a standard museum. This is a percussion museum where kids are free to experiment with a variety of different instruments. Kids who long to become musicians will certainly enjoy their time here, but any kid interested in knocking things together or making noise will have no problem finding fun. Be sure to keep an eye out for the more obscure instruments here in addition to the standard drums, as the oddities can provide valuable insight into music history that adults can enjoy.

5. NDY sculptures

The NDY sculptures around Indianapolis let your kids become part of the action. You'll find several sculptures throughout town that depict the letters "ndy" with room for your kid to become the "I" in "Indy." You'll find these sculptures in several different places such as the Washington Pedestrian Bridge, the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Alabama Street, and at the airport. Snap photos with your kids acting as the "I" in Indy, and you'll have treasured memories from your adventure.

6. Action & Atomic Duckpin Bowling

If you're looking to go bowling on your adventure, one of the best destinations in town is Action & Atomic Duckpin Bowling. This bowling alley isn't quite like your typical bowling alley in that it's specifically designed to be kid-friendly. It uses smaller balls and pins, and it sports a retro aesthetic to keep kids and adults entertained. Keep in mind that there are only 8 lanes, so you'll want to book your game ahead of time.

7. Indianapolis Zoo

Kids who are interested in animals will love a trip to the Indianapolis Zoo. Kids who aren't interested in animals certainly will be after seeing the diverse array of species here. You can see a massive orangutan exhibit dedicated to preserving these incredible, endangered animals. Additionally, you'll find sea lions, polar bears, rhinos, and zebras—and that's just the beginning. This zoo also features a 4D theater, a carousel, and even coaster and gondola rides. Don't forget to check out the shark touch tank as well.

Things to do in Indiana outside of Indianapolis

8. Conner Prairie Interactive History Park

At the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, your kids can feel what it was like to live here during Indiana's early years when European settlers were new on the scene. The staff here wears historical clothing and offers demonstrations of various practices, such as what household chores were like centuries ago. Much of the time-appropriate art and practices are taught as well, like animal tending, pottery, and cooking. Plus, you can enjoy theatrical performances and music, all historically accurate to the time period.

9. Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

At the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, you'll find 1,000 animals among 4 distinct biomes that you and your family can explore. They include a standard zoo section, one dedicated to Africa, an Indonesian rainforest biome, and a biome reminiscent of Australia. Among these animals and experiences, you can enjoy giraffe feedings, pony rides, and touch tanks with stingrays. Children as young as 2 can find fun at this unforgettable adventure.

10. New Harmony Labyrinth

If you're looking for a more historical experience, the New Harmony Labyrinth could be the perfect destination. This labyrinth is a hedge maze that holds a temple in the middle that's several centuries old. The maze is relatively challenging as well, so if you just want to see the temple, there are gates that act as a shortcut. Keep in mind that toddlers probably won't find much to do here. In general, kids 7 years of age and older tend to have a better time.

11. Indiana Dunes National Park

One of the best kid-friendly things to do in Indiana is to visit the beach. With 15 miles of shoreline and 15,000 acres of land in total, Indiana Dunes National Park offers outdoor fun that lasts the entire day. The water is welcoming, making it an ideal place for kids to swim, but you'll also find opportunities for boating, fishing, and hiking. Don't forget to check out the local drive-in theater and bison farm as well to add a bit more variety to your stop.

12. Brown County State Park

Embracing the great outdoors is easy with a trip to Brown County State Park. Not only will you find opportunities for fishing, swimming, and picnicking, but you'll also find biking trails and even horseback riding. Additionally, this park features a comprehensive nature center with interactive displays offering valuable insight into the local environment. Given the calm waters and low difficulty of the hiking and biking paths, it's easy for families to find fun here, including young children.

13. WonderLab

Play areas for kids can be as educational as they are fun. At WonderLab, you'll find a massive play area specifically designed to teach kids more about science and cultivate their curiosity and sense of wonder. Think of it as an augmented reality sandbox that allows kids to do things like build their own volcanoes. Additional activities cover topics like natural science, the phases of matter, and others that portray these areas of study as much simpler than a kid may initially believe. Some exhibits may have different age requirements compared to others, so look into their specific offerings before coming.

14. Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum

Considering just how popular superheroes are in popular culture with kids and adults alike, there's never been a better time to visit the Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum. Be sure to stop by if you find yourself in Elkhart to explore a history of comics and superheroes spanning nearly a century. The museum is even modeled after the Hall of Justice from the classic Super Friends cartoon. Kids can enjoy the fun toys on display and even catch episodes of classic superhero television shows.

15. Indiana Transportation Museum

Trains are among the fascinations that adults and kids alike tend to share, and there's no better place to explore their splendor than the Indiana Transportation Museum. The history of rail in the state is quite comprehensive, and it's all documented here along with actual models of trains. In fact, you'll find 5 fully operational EMD model trains, and you and your kids can take a ride on a historic train representing what it was like during Indiana's peak railroad era. This museum additionally hosts seasonal events, so check the calendar before visiting.

16. Muncie Children's Museum

The Muncie Children's Museum is a fun destination for families with kids. Kids can learn about a variety of topics through a fun and interactive environment covering themes like recycling, farming, theater, and books. You'll additionally find workshops available here that kids can take part in that are designed to cultivate experimentation and exploration in young minds. Regardless of which part your kids participate in, they can enjoy a safe and creative environment throughout.

17. Museum of Miniature Houses

The Museum of Miniature Houses offers a fascinating look into scaled replicas of houses. These miniatures are designed to be realistic, but that's just the beginning. The central focus of the items on display here is the incredible art of miniature making. You'll find intricate details within all the rooms, including individual items that contain extensive details in their own right. You'll find thousands of miniatures on display that provide insight into some architectural practices.

18. National Model Aviation Museum

Models are a popular pastime for parents and kids to enjoy together, and you can see some of the best at the National Model Aviation Museum. This museum specifically focuses on model planes, helicopters, engines, and other flying kits and equipment. You'll be able to take part in hands-on activities and even fly some models. You'll find more than 11,000 items on display, including some that date back to the earliest years of aviation.