Who doesn't love a field trip? Exploring someplace new in and around the city, or familiar to you but new through the eyes of a child, is always an adventure. While the perennial favorite Children's Museum and Indianapolis Zoo are always on the list, check out some other ideas for outdoor learning and spots more off the beaten path, from dairy farms to nature centers to monuments and a very noisy museum.
Tip: Plan a 'Family Field Trip Day' and mark it on the calendar. Involve your child(ren) in the planning: decide where to go together, find it on the map, determine what time to leave, how long it takes to get there, plan lunch, and encourage your child to journal about your adventure afterward. If your child is old enough, giving them free reign to document the trip with a camera is a fun learning experience in itself.
The Indianapolis Public Library is a treasure trove of learning. With twenty-two branches around the city, find not only books, music and movies, but exciting learning programs, storytimes and movie and craft times. Branch out and visit a different location or two, like the historic Central or Spades Park Libraries and enjoy the beautiful architecture as well as the books. Visit www.imcpl.org.
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, in the heart of the city, is a must-see and do. Take the 331 steps or a combination of elevator and steps to the Observation Level and be rewarded with a 365 degree view of downtown from almost 300 feet up. The Monument also houses the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum, and Teachers Educational Packets on Civil War Life are available online. Visit www.in.gov/iwm.
Make some noise at your visit to Rhythm! Discovery Center, a hands-on percussion museum, where you'll get to try all kinds of percussion instruments from around the world, including an eight-foot gong drum. Guided tours are offered to educational groups of ten or more, ending with a drum circle starring your group. Visit www.rhythmdiscoverycenter.org for more info!
Experience learning through the arts with the Clowes Memorial Hall School Matinee Series, offering a range of theater shows from adaptations of popular storybooks to a We the People musical revue to the classic Nutcracker Ballet. See www.cloweshall.org/education for the 2012-2013 program schedule for ages PreK-12 and to download registration forms.
People of all ages will enjoy the scenery and farm animals at Traderspoint Creamery in Zionsville. Watch the herd of Brown Swiss cows in the pasture, see chickens and calves and view milk production in the Creamery. Self guided tours are available daily for small groups. Groups of 15 or more must schedule a private tour in advance, which includes dairy and ice cream tasting options for an additional fee. Visitwww.tpforganics.com for more information!
For a south side dairy farm option, check out Kelsay Farms and their Experience the Farm tours for educational groups. Kelsay Farms is located in Whiteland. See www.kelysayfarm.com for details.
Train lovers unite at the Indiana Transportation Museum, located in Forest Park in Noblesville. Plan a picnic in the park (school groups can use the picnic shelters at no cost) and ride on a passenger coach or a caboose as you learn about historic railroads and their importance in Indiana history. Visit www.itm.org for more information on when the trains are running or scheduling a group tour.
Combine a trip to White River State Park with the Indiana State Museum for a full day of exploration. Learn about our state's history and enjoy special exhibitions with an Indiana focus. See the event schedule at www.indianamuseum.org for weekly programs and Community Tuesday events. View a map of White River State Park attractions at www.inwhiteriver.org.
Cool Creek Park and Nature Center is a popular spot for families and school groups to explore and learn about native animals and their habitats. The park includes miles of wooded trails if you'd like to include a hike in your adventure. See www.hamiltoncounty.in.gov and click on Parks & Rec for more information. Also check out Strawtown's Koteewi Park, well known for it's archaeological digs and programs on Native Americans, star gazing and nature hikes.
More Learning Adventure Ideas:
Tags: In This Issue, Local
• Indiana History Center, www.indianahistory.org
• Indianapolis Art Center, www.indplsartcenter.org
• Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, www.eiteljorg.org
• Indianapolis Zoo, www.indyzoo.com
• Indianapolis Museum of Art, www.imamuseum.org
• NCAA Hall of Champions, www.hallofchampions.org
• Children's Museum, www.childrensmuseum.org
• Conner Prairie, www.connerprairie.org