The Children's Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana is a non-profit institution that is committed to the enriching the lives of children everywhere. The museum is the largest children's museum in the world and has a 40,000+ square foot facility that is home to eleven galleries that encompass physical and natural science, history, world cultures and the arts. Most of the exhibits are hands-on whenever possible and invite children to participate and learn by being involved. Every year the nineteen acre facility presents thousands of programs and activities, that raise the intellectual curiosity and learning desires of children from all over the world.
Mary Stewart Carey was an Indianapolis civic and social leader, it was she who provided the initial inspiration and stewardship that contributed directly to the founding of the museum. The civic leaders met for the first time in 1924, to discuss the founding of a children's museum. In 1925, the museum was founded and first located behind Indianapolis North Side and at the Garfield Shelter House, in a carriage house. Between 1926 and 1927, the museum changed locations to the home of Mary Stewart Carey and between 1946 and 1976, the museum relocated to the St. Clair Parry mansion. In 1976, the original building was demolished and a new facility was constructed and is still in use.
The museum boasts a collection of over 100,000 artifacts and the collection is a powerhouse of ideas and concepts. Since 1926, the museum has increased the size of its collection and is now divided into three domains; the Natural World Collection, the Cultural World and the American Experience Collection. The collections are important because the artifacts tell the complete story of generation to generation and are a reference point for children to assimilate their lives with other people of different time periods and cultures.
The museum has highlights that visitors find interesting and enjoyable. The Polar Bear which was acquired in 1965, journeyed from the Bering Strait to find its home on the second floor of the museum. The Reuben Wells is a 55-ton steam engine that is 35 feet long, and sits in the center of the All Aboard exhibit. The Carousel was acquired in 1976 and the animals were handcrafted by Gustav Dentzel in the 20th century. Other exhibits of interest are the Mastodon, the Water Clock and the Supercroc.
The museum is open daily during normal business hours; however, the museum has special holiday hours that should be taken into consideration when planning a visit. Guests can enjoy a gift shop, snack bars and a cafy. The first Thursday of every month is family night, with special events and activities many people enjoy. The museum is a very popular attraction in Indianapolis and each year more than one million people flock to enjoy everything the museum has to offer.