Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Learning Adventures and Educational Roadtrips
Favorite spots for hands-on learning

by Rachel Oren

September 01, 2011

The new school year has arrived and itís time to plan a year packed full of learning adventure fun. Local schools, home-educated children, and families can all benefit from a hands-on approach to learning. So stop on by some of Indyís favorite local spots.

NCAA Hall of Champions

Your students will have a ball exploring the ins and outs of the NCAA. Students will be greeted by a former NCAA student athlete and will learn about NCAAís history, character development, an overview of their 23 sports, and see a replica of a 1930s gymnasium. A hands-on play area allows students to shoot baskets, throw a football or kick a soccer ball on simulators, and more. Students will get to see the Hall of Honor including some famous athletes such as Peyton Manning and David Robinson.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art

The IMA offers guided tours for preschoolers and up. Groups can schedule a themed tour such as African Life Through Art, Children in Art, Life in Early Europe, Indiana Artists and much more. A special collections tour can also be arranged where groups take an in-depth look at one specific gallery. The Lilly House and the 100 Acres consisting of art, wildlife and gardens can also be toured. For more information and a full list of themed tours visit www.imamuseum.org.

The Indianapolis Zoo

Come get up close and personal at Indyís zoo and White River Gardens. New exhibits include tigers and bats along with the oceans exhibit, marine mammals, the desert and plains animals, as well as the favorite dolphin show. Education kits are available for teachers to borrow. Kits are for elementary and secondary grades and contain a teacherís manual, books, artifacts, posters, and activities. Check out www.indianapoliszoo.com for full list of exhibits and events.

The Indianapolis Art Center

The Indianapolis Art Center provides guided tours as well as a large variety of hands-on activities led by a professional artist. Students can participate in glass blowing, drawing, painting, ceramics, pottery, collages, beaded jewelry, mixed-media sculpture, and fiber arts. Self-guided tours, demonstrations, and customized activities are also available. Visit www.indplsartcenter.org for more details.

The Childrenís Museum of Indianapolis

The Childrenís Museum is a self-guided trip of learning and discovery. Units of study along with classroom activities for before and after your visit are available. The National Geographic Treasures of the Earth exhibit is now open, and Frogs: A Chorus of Colors (arriving September 17) joins 17 other current exhibits. For a field trip brochure and a full listing of available shows and museum programs visit www.childrensmuseum.org.

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Come explore American Indians and Western art through guided tours of the Eiteljorg Museum. Students of all ages can learn about things such as Native American communities, traditions, culture, art, and much more. Visits with an artist in residence are also available, as well as teacher-guided tours. Classroom activities and free downloads for educational use are available at www.eiteljorg.org

Conner Prairie Interactive History Park

Jump right in the fun of Indianaís interactive historic park. Pet some animals in the barn, find out what itís like in a Lenape Indiana Campsite, and see how you would have lived in 1863 Prairietown. For more information visit www.connerprairie.org.

Indiana History Center

You wonít want to miss a visit to the Indiana History Center. Several exhibits bring history to life with three-dimensional historical photographs and characters. There are virtual journeys to take, hands-on activities to do, and mysteries to solve. For a complete listing visit www.indianahistory.org

These favorite spots in the Indianapolis area are learning experiences your students will remember forever. Take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities to learn by doing and sign up today.