We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Indianapolis and Bloomington - with a 5 year old

Which Indianapolis hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Perth, Australia
posts: 49
reviews: 46
Indianapolis and Bloomington - with a 5 year old


We'll be in Indiana in mid-January, mid way through our one month US trip (we're from Australia). We were due to spend time with friends in Bloomington, but unfortunately, one is quite unwell...so plans have needed to change.

Just wondering, what can we do in Indianapolis? We'll do the Children's museum (sounds great!)...but any other recommendations, given we have a 5 year old? Would love to do some things that are quintessentially "Indiana" as we will be visiting a few other US cities (NYC, Washington DC, Chicago). Have looked at Ice Hockey and Basketball, but no games seem to be on when we are there (15-18th January)...can you go to training sessions?

Also...where would be some great places to eat? Again, would love something that really captures "Indiana"


Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
posts: 6,172
reviews: 21
1. Re: Indianapolis and Bloomington - with a 5 year old

Sorry to hear you had to adjust your plans. A few comments, suggestions, observations, etc; I'll start with some related to your questions:

1. Certainly the Children's Museum should be near the top of your things to do list. Beyond that there is the Zoo (weather might cooperate for that) as well as a few museums in the downtown area. I'd check to see what the Indiana State museum has in the way of special exhibits as sometimes these will have interests for children; also it has an IMAX theater often have 2 rotating shows going on (usually one is nature oriented & the other an "entertainment" type movie). Don't really have any other ideas for 5 year olds off the top of my head., will try to come up with some & post another response (did I miss a gender reference?).

2. Even though your plans have fallen through, I'd still encourage you to spend time in Bloomington. To me, smaller cities/towns, such as Bloomington, have a more "Indiana" feel to them than Indy - which while it certainly is an Indiana city - still has more in common with other major cities. Some others you might want to check out (most are in the general Bloomington area), include: Nashville, French Lick/West Baden, and Columbus. (I believe there is a thread in the Bloomington forums discussing these and others in more detail.)

3. A few Bloomington ideas: Wonderlab (hands on children's science museum), there are many museums (most, but not all, part of IU and would have some appeal to small children, we're not talking purely art here), walking around the IU campus, etc. Then there's *lots* of outdoor stuff, but it's a little iffy to plan on that as the weather could be nasty (or nice).

4. As for Basketball, it's likely you can find a game; but perhaps not a *pro* game. There's also multiple college teams (although IU, in Bloomington, might be hard to get a ticket for, the teams doing well this year) which will play just about any night of the week, and if your dates are over a weekend (too lazy to check), there will certainly high school games you could see. Personally, I *much* prefer college and/or high school basketball to pro. I often use the Indiana small town/high school games to describe how big basketball is in Indiana: town of maybe 5-10,000 people, high school gym will seat maybe 2,000+ and it will fill up for most games. If you could catch a game at Hinkle Fieldhouse (that's Butler University in Indianapolis), I'd say go for it; this is perhaps *the* classic/old school basketball venue in the entire state.

5. As far as great places to eat. I guessing that with a 5 year old you're not looking for 4/5 star fancy restaurants, but some more guidance would help (budget, location, cuisine, etc.). As for a "quintessential" Indiana food, I'd probably go with a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. Plenty of places have it, some better than others. I'll try to come up with some specific suggestions later, in the mean time you might check out Urbanspoon. This is restaurant oriented site that crowdsources (much like TA) and Indianapolis & Bloomington both have the necessary critical mass of users that make the data significant.

6. Your location could also influence suggestions, where in the Indy area are you staying and/or let us know any other cities/towns you might be passing through and/or staying in (such a Bloomington).

Lastly, for what it's worth, "Hoosier" is probably a better phrase to use than "Indiana." Indiana is the Hoosier State and people from here are known as Hoosiers. As for the origin of this name, it's lost to history; there are multiple stories, but none of them has any definitive proof that it is the source.

That's all for now, maybe more later,


Perth, Australia
posts: 49
reviews: 46
2. Re: Indianapolis and Bloomington - with a 5 year old


Thank you so much for such a wonderful reply!

Greatly appreciated!

Will definitely follow through with the suggestions.

Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
posts: 6,172
reviews: 21
3. Re: Indianapolis and Bloomington - with a 5 year old

No problem.

Just did a little poking around and it appears that the "Butler Bulldogs" are playing a home game during your time in Indy. The game is January 16th at 7:00 pm versus the "Richmond Spiders." Here's a link to the Butler website for ticket information:


That's all (for now),


Indianapolis, IN
posts: 3
reviews: 102
4. Re: Indianapolis and Bloomington - with a 5 year old

I second the Wonderlab and Children's Museum recommendations. If you get a chance to go to Garfield Conservatory or to Trader's Point Creamery. Mom of 4 and 3 year old boys.

Chula Vista...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 2,576
reviews: 102
5. Re: Indianapolis and Bloomington - with a 5 year old


One other museum you may want to consider is the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art which has some interesting artifacts (tools, clothing, jewelry, pottery, etc) from Native tribes from the Inuits in Alaska and the Northwest Territory of Canada to the Hopi and Navajo tribes of the American Southwest. It does have some family friendly activities:


As far as dining out is concerned, there's:

Bazbeaux Pizza - Gourmet pizza, salads, and sandwiches. Very informal and a little quirky. Located on Massachusetts Ave in downtown (with locations in Broad Ripple and Carmel, too). Reasonably priced.


St. Elmo Steakhouse - It's an Indy institution since 1902 known for its wickedly hot shrimp cocktail sauce (about 80% freshly ground horseradish that will clear your sinuses in an instant). Quite expensive. Plan on $50+ per person. Probably not the best with a 5-year old along (not that it's all that formal, just not much for kids on the menu). Reservations highly recommended.


Rathskeller - A little tast of Germany in Indy. Moderate to expensive. Does have a small kids menu.


Hope that gives you some additional ideas to consider.

6. Re: Indianapolis and Bloomington - with a 5 year old

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 5:15 am, January 01, 2014