If you’re like us, you’re constantly searching for fun, educational activities that will keep your kids entertained while they learn. Fortunately, the area around Carmel, Indiana, offers tons of cool educational destinations. Whether you’re looking for interactive games and activities that will get the kids moving or something low-key like a good book and a bite to eat, our area has it all. Crème de la Crème of Carmel put together this list of easy-to-access educational destinations you’ll want to check out ASAP.

Indianapolis Art Center

A table space where a child has been expressing their artistic creativity with acrylic paints, brushes and fingers.

Image via Unsplash by dragos126

If your kid is into art, check out the Indianapolis Art Center. This organization offers a wide range of art classes and camps designed for kids from the ages of 2 to 18. From painting to ceramics to jewelry making to glassblowing to woodworking, you’ll find an artistic medium any kid will love learning about here.

You can become a member if your kid wants to keep coming back here for classes, or take part in a pop-up class if there’s a subject particularly interesting to your child. Can’t make the trip into Indianapolis? The Indianapolis Art Center offers a range of online classes, as well, so your kid can start learning to paint, draw, and more from the comfort of your home. Whether your child’s a Monet-in-the-making or just wants a fun method of creative expression, this is one area organization that should be on your list of places to check out.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

You can also make the quick trip to Indianapolis for a fun-filled, educational day at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. You’ll arrive to find 29 acres of exhibit space chock full of activities sure to keep kids of all ages entertained.

Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy the Playscape, an area designed for the museum’s youngest guests that features story time, singalongs, and sensory play. Other exhibitions introduce kids to cultures from around the world as well as the local community, transport them to the land of the dinosaurs, take them on a trip to outer space, and much more.

If you’re visiting in the summer months, check out the outdoor Sports Legends Experience. Have a budding artist in your family? Take a workshop with a visiting artist. Want to see a performance? The museum features live shows, too. No matter what your kid is interested in exploring, this museum is sure to inspire them to learn.

Conner Prairie

Conner Prairie makes learning fun for kids (and the adults with them!), and you’ll find this kid-friendly destination super close to Carmel in nearby Fishers. From the Craft Corner that lets kids design and create to hot air balloon rides to Prairietown, an interactive place where kids can step back in time, Conner Prairie makes the perfect day trip when you’re looking for an adventure close to home.

Take a nature walk as a family and learn about the plants and wildlife native to the area, or get immersed in a 19th-century village at Prairietown. That’s not the only historical adventure awaiting you at Conner Prairie, though — there’s also a Civil War Journey and Lenape Indian Camp to explore. The Treetop Outpost offers a four-story treehouse for playing and exploring, while the Animal Encounters experience lets kids get up close and personal with livestock. Conner Prairie makes it easy to get kids engaged with history and beyond.

That’s just the start of what you’ll find at Conner Prairie. With special seasonal events, theater, and workshops available, you’ll find yourself wanting to bring the family back here time and time again. You can even continue the educational experience by taking home and cooking some of the historical recipes they provide.

Indianapolis Zoo

Known as one of the best zoos in the country, the Indianapolis Zoo offers the perfect educational adventure for kids who love animals. Travel from the plains to the desert to the oceans and beyond, learning about unique and intriguing animal species as you go. There’s so much to do here, you might need to plan more than one trip to see all the different animals.

Highlights include the International Orangutan Center, the only underwater dolphin-viewing dome in the world, and the biggest Shark Touch Pool in the country. Adventurous kiddos can touch the sharks in the aquarium area., but if your child is hesitant around those intimidating animals, the zoo features plenty of other interactive activities sure to delight kids, like their “Feed a Flamingo” sessions.

Breeding plays a key role in this zoo’s animal conservation efforts, which brings another added perk to Indiana families: a variety of adorable baby animals! Reserve a time to check out the super cute orangutans, bottlenose dolphins, greater kudus, and more. Getting to experience the Zoo Babies is sure to inspire a love of learning about animals in your own youngsters for years to come.

Books and Brews

What might sound like an adult-only spot is actually super kid-friendly. With multiple locations around the Indianapolis area, including one right here in Carmel, these small brewpubs feature beer for the adults and puzzles, games, and other activities for the kids. In fact, the front half of each pub is a used bookstore.

Each location has a “Kids Eat Free” night, and the menu includes favorites like PB&J sandwiches and grilled cheese, all named for beloved books or characters. The Indianapolis-based chain sells affordably priced books of all genres, and they donate 10% of their proceeds to IndyReads, a nonprofit offering adult and childhood literacy programs. All in all, it’s a great place to get kids interested in reading as well as give back to the community.

There you have it! Five of the coolest places to check out in and around Carmel when your kids are eager to learn. We hope we’ve inspired you to explore these unique locations close to home. But maybe we missed a place that’s one of your favorites. If you have a go-to educational spot near Carmel, let us know so we can check it out and add it to our list!