When you want to plan a fun yet educational day with your kids, museums offer the perfect experience. Fortunately, the area in and around Carmel, Indiana, features a wide array of awesome museums to check out with your family. From history to music to paintings and more, these museums close to home make having a great time while learning easier than ever before. Crème de la Crème of Carmel put together this list of seven of our favorite educational sites to get you started.
Carmel Clay Historical Society
Spend a day with the kids learning about local history beyond the history books thanks to the Carmel Clay Historical Society. This society runs the Monon Depot Museum as well as its archives. When you visit the museum, you’ll get to check out a rotation of exhibits, making this local attraction a must on your list whenever you’re planning an educational outing. The historical society even displays photos so you can check out how Carmel looked in the 1800s, when it was known as Bethlehem.
Visit the museum Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., or on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Hours can change, so call ahead before your visit. You can get in for free or make a donation to support the society.
Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections
The Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections, another fun attraction located right here in Carmel, is one of just a few museums in the whole country dedicated to the art of fine-scale miniatures. Explore thousands of miniatures such as miniature houses, room boxes, and other individual items as well as a range of rotating collections. Currently, the museum is open Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission costs $10 for general admission, $8 for seniors and military, and $5 for kids ages 3 to 9.
The Inspiration Room, which displays 81 room boxes and vignettes, is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is the place to go to check out artists’ varying approaches to building and decorating miniatures. Admission costs $5, but you can get that reimbursed if you spend $5 or more in the Inspiration Room Shop.
The Great American Songbook Foundation’s Songbook Exhibit Gallery
You won’t want to miss the Songbook Exhibit Gallery if you have a musical brood. Learn about artists and themes as you delve into musical history at The Center for Performing Arts, located here in Carmel. Admission is free to the Songbook Exhibit Gallery. You can visit Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so get that musical inspiration flowing with a fun outing in our hometown.
Known as Indiana’s living history museum, Connor Prairie is a must-visit for locals looking for an interactive learning experience. The land and cabin that once belonged to statesman William Connor is now the place to go for re-creations of 19th-century life in our area. From the Lenape Indian Camp to Prairietown to Animal Encounters and beyond, there’s something for everyone here. The best part? Connor Prairie is incredibly easy to reach since it’s located close to Carmel in Fishers.
Hours of operation vary by season, and general admission to indoor experiences costs $9 for non-members but is free for members and kids under 2 years old. Outdoor experiences are open seasonally depending on the weather. You can also take advantage of sensory-friendly hours.
Children’s Museum Indianapolis
You can’t go wrong with a quick trip to Indianapolis if you’re seeking a kid-friendly museum experience. Children’s Museum Indianapolis features plenty of ways to create a day full of fun for the whole family. Whether your kiddo is into dinosaurs, sports, trains, theater, or anything in between, they’ll find something to love here. Oh, and don’t miss Fireworks of Glass, a 43-foot blown glass tower sure to impress kids and adults alike. Created by Dale Chihuly, the breathtaking tower is one of the renowned artist’s largest permanent sculptures.
Hours vary seasonally. You can save on admission by taking advantage of Plan-Ahead Pricing and buying online or over the phone at least two weeks ahead of your visit. Children under 2 years old can get in for free.
Indiana State Museum
Looking for another museum to check out while you’re in Indianapolis? Head over to the Indiana State Museum, a world-class institution boasting interactive installations and unique experiences to give your family a firsthand glimpse into the events, people, and stories that shaped our state’s history. The museum is located in downtown Indianapolis in White River State Park, making it the perfect addition to a family outing to the city.
The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs $17 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $12 for youth ages 3 through 17. Kids under 3 years old can visit for free, while college students with a valid ID from any Indiana college or university can get tickets for $15. If you plan ahead and buy your museum tickets online, you can save $1 for each ticket you purchase.
You’ll also find the Eiteljorg Museum in White River State Park in Indianapolis, and you’ll want to make sure you add this museum to your list of local places to explore. The Eiteljorg lets visitors learn about Native America and the American West. It’s the place to go for stunning art from legends like Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol as well as contemporary work of Native American artists.
Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., the Eiteljorg Museum offers free admission to members, Native Americans, IUPUI students and faculty, and children 4 years old and under. Regular admission costs $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $8 for youth ages 5 to 17.There you have it, Crème de la Crème of Carmel’s list of museums you can’t miss close to home. Does your family have another favorite we didn’t include? Let us know so we can add it!