Indianapolis is full of great opportunities for families to explore, learn and have fun together. Here are a few of my favorite things to do.
Art may sometimes seem inaccessible to kids, but it doesn’t have to be. The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) is always a good place to start. Most of the exhibits are free, and both the indoor and outdoor spaces offer hours of education and entertainment. Let the kids lead the way and be sure to ask them questions about why they like certain pieces. The Contemporary Art collection, with its interactive exhibits, is usually a big hit with kids.
I’ve also found that many of the local art events have kid-friendly opportunities. The First Friday Art Tour, April 2nd, offers a wide variety of artistic experiences and is an excellent way for kids to see local, professional artists. Plus it’s FREE! Galleries, open studios and alternative spaces are open for your family to explore. While most of the artwork is acceptable for all-ages, provocative pieces or art using nude figures can be good starting points for discussion on such topics as body-image and sexuality. My favorite regular First Friday stop is the Murphy Arts Center in Fountain Square (1043 Virginia Ave.). This month, drop in at Big Car Gallery for Ploplop – a selection of paintings, drawings, ephemera, objects found and transformed, flyers, posters, and documentary video clips. Other highlights this month include nature-inspired artwork created by VSAI artists at the enRoute Gallery in the Harrison Center (1505 N. Delaware) and the INFiber exhibit at the LCi Gallery (158 East 14th Street). Also, the Indiana Humanities Council (1500 N. Delaware) is hosting a pre-party featuring art on loan from the National Art Museum of Sport.
The Stutz Artists Association Open House (1060 N. Capitol Avenue) on April 23 & 24th is a great way to see where artists work and how art is created. Artwork ranges from paintings, drawings and photography, to sculpture, jewelry and furniture. Advanced sale tickets are $10, $12 at the gate, with a special $8 Saturday re-entry (with Friday’s ticket stub). On Saturday only, kids 16 and under are free.
Stuck at home, but want to explore art in Indy? The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporay Art (iMOCA) has a series of videos from local artists explaining their art and inspiration. Watch the clips with your family and use them as a spring-board for discussion about inspiration, art and career.
The Earth House and IndyFringe are partnering for Spark a Revolution on April 9 (237 N. East St.) for a interactive experience of theatre, music and visual arts. It begins with Fringe Storytelling — local actors will recreate your favorite childhood stories as you never imagined them before. “There’s a lot of activity in the performance art that would be fascinating to all development stages,” says Jordan Updike, Executive Director at The Earth House Collective. “The event is going to be fantastic and I recommend it for all ages.”
The Intermedia Festival, April 23 – 25, at the Central Library explores the qualities of art related to technology. The festival will feature artists, musicians, videographers, dancers, actors and writers from around the world. While some will travel to Indianapolis, others will participate by performing online interactively with festival collaborators. Live drama, dance, music, visual arts, videography, scientific presentation, commentary and multi-tiered discussion platforms will come together to create a provocative and compelling set of experiences. Performers who will appear locally include Pamela Z, R. Luke Burtner, Bora Yoon, Big Robot, and Dance Kaleidoscope. Plus, it’s FREE!
Now that the weather is warmer, combine a walk (or bike ride) around town with some art spotting. Here’s an online guide to Indy’s public art.
Speaking of bike-riding, Bicycle Indiana is offering Bicycle Traffic Skills 101 on April 10th. The course covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques and includes a student manual. The fee for the class is $25 per participant and all registered participants who complete the course will receive a $25 gift card from Matthews Bicycles. For ages 14 and up.
Celebrate nature at the White River State Park on Earth Day. The Earth Day Indiana Festival, April 24th, combines 130 environmental and conservation exhibits with live music from some of Indiana’s best new bands, special activities for kids and good food. (They’re also looking for volunteers age 15 and up.)
Get your hands dirty at the Indiana State Museum Arbor Day Celebration on April 30th. You’ll help plant a redbud, learn about volunteer opportunities to beautify neighborhoods, and get a free tree.
April marks the beginning of the season for the Indianapolis Indians. For $15, children 14 and under can join the Knot Hole Club, which provides them with a season pass to all 72 home games. Individual ticket prices for parents range from $9 – 15. Here’s April’s schedule.
April can be rainy. Very rainy. Luckily, there are many indoor activities that can be fun for the whole family. Let’s start at the library. Visit the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library website for a whole host of events for all ages. One event of interest this month is the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers Student Reading on April 21st at the Central Library downtown. Twenty area students in grades K – 8 will read poems, memoirs, fiction and other original writings. What a great way for kids to listen what other people their age are writing!
On April 25th, celebrate El Día de los Niños day with free admission to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. While you’re there, stop in at the library’s InfoZone to create a fun maraca craft to advocate literacy among children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
The Indianapolis Children’s Theatre will present School House Rocks from April 12 – 17th. The award-winning Saturday morning cartoon series “Schoolhouse Rock” taught history, grammar, math, science and politics through clever, tuneful songs. Now, the popular 1970s TV show comes to life on stage instructing a whole new generation to “Unpack Your Adjectives” and “Do The Circulations.” Tickets are $10 for youth (18 and under) and $15 for adults.
Think that the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is for adults only? Think again. The St. Vincent Family Series concerts are designed just for kids and this month’s feature is Peter and the Wolf on April 18th, which combines the classical musical with a brand new stop-motion model animation film. Tickets range from $8 – 19 for kids and $16 – $36 for adults.