Schools out for a week… what will you do? Forget about the long lines at Disney World and take a staycation in Downtown Indy. Here are 10 things do to in the Circle City without breaking the bank.
Number 10: Explore White River State Park
When working up your list of day-time things to do, White River State Park’s attractions are a must. Purchase a Park Pass which includes admission vouchers into six attractions with more than 25 percent off the regular adult and child prices.
Number 9: Go museum hopping at White River State Park
Use your Park Pass and explore some of Downtown Indy’s best museums and latest exhibits. Browse more than 100 rarely seen artifacts from the Civil War at the Indiana State Museum’s exhibit So Costly a Sacrifice: Lincoln and Loss. Also at ISM, Art Meets News: The Work of Photojournalist Bill Foley (open March 28) showcases Hoosier photojournalist Bill Foley’s groundbreaking photos from the Middle East. Or go behind the scenes during ISM Adventure Camp March 30. Watch Pandas: The Journey Home 3D or Secret Ocean 3D (starting March 20) at the biggest of big screens, the IMAX Theater. At the Eiteljorg Museum, learn how the promise of gold in the West lured people from around the world in the newly opened Gold! Riches and Ruin exhibit.
Number 8: Spend the night at the Indianapolis Zoo
Spend the night at the Indianapolis Zoo during the Spring Family Overnight on March 20 – 21. Explore the Zoo after dark with crafts, games, animal stories, a special after-hours tour and a morning breakfast. If you are just looking for a day trip, head to the Zoo and meet the eight orangutans at the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, touch dogfish sharks at the nation’s largest shark touch pool and immerse yourself in the beauty of butterflies at Butterfly Kaleidoscope (opening March 20).
Number 7: Eat lunch alfresco on the Boardwalk
After you have worked up an appetite exploring an exhibit, head to Georgia Street for Food Truck Fridays every Friday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Number 6: Get in the game
It would be hard to spend a vacation in Downtown Indy without catching at least one game. The Pacers are wrapping up the regular season with the last home game on April 14. And make sure to come back Downtown for a visit because baseball is (almost) in full swing! The Indians open their season April 9 at Victory Field and there will be fireworks following the game. Get in the game for just $10 for adults and $9 for children 14 and younger. Buy your tickets online and save $2.
Number 5: Watch live animal shows at the Indiana Historical Society
Clown around at the Indiana Historical Society for free for Circus Day on March 28. Enjoy the Hampel Family Circus, live animal shows, clowns, magicians, jugglers, face painting and more. Try your hand at carnival games to win fantastic prizes. Get silly with kid karaoke too!
Number 4: Enjoy free fun at Central Library
There are plenty of free activities taking place at the Central Library. Dive into the world of superheroes and super villians at the Superhero Magic Show on March 29 at 2 p.m.; rediscover your favorite board and card games at Game Night at Central on March 30 at 5:30 p.m.; or get artistic in Superhero Drawing Class on March 31 at 11 a.m.
Number 3: Become an alien robot at The Children’s Museum
Head to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to check out the newest exhibit, TRANSFORMERS: Robots in Disguise. Transformers fans of all ages can use their imaginations to explore the design and engineering that goes into crafting these characters.
Number 2: Feel the LOVE at The Indianapolis Museum of Art
Bring the family and enjoy a “staycation” at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Take advantage of warmer weather (it will be here!) at the Oldfields Estate-Lilly House & Gardens. Bring a blanket and a picnic basket for the perfect spring afternoon. Other options: go for a walk or take a bike ride around the lake in The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres. College students can enjoy the IMA’s evening hours on Thursday nights and wander the world-renowned galleries until 9 p.m. Grab a drink and flatbread in the café to refuel.
Number 1: Experience March Madness with NCAA Final Four
The 2015 Final Four on April 4 & 6 will mark the 22nd time since 1940 that the men’s basketball championship has come to Indianapolis and the 35th time that Indiana has hosted the tournament. Meet legendary coaches and former college stars and participate in youth clinics at the Final Four Fan Fest April 3 – 6 at the Indiana Convention Center. Run or walk in the Northwestern Mutual Road to the Final Four 5K on April 4. For a budget-friendly option, check out the Reese’s Final Four Friday on April 4. Fans can watch one of the final practices before the national semifinal games for free. Also free – the three-day NCAA March Madness Music Festival on April 3 – 5 at White River State Park. More than 3,000 kids will have the chance to dribble their way through Downtown Indy at the Final Four Dribble on April 5.