Photos provided by the Children’s Museum and used with written permission.
By Leslie Olsen
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Have you ever thought about running away to join the circus? Now you have a unique opportunity and you don’t even have to pack your suitcase!
“Circus — Starring YOU!” is a colorful, highly interactive exhibit filled with the sights, sounds and even some of the enticing food smells of some of the greatest shows on Earth.
Opening at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis on February 18, 2017, children and families are invited to step right up and join three rings of circus fun and history under the big top.
See the circus world as it was decades ago when it served as a rare form of exotic entertainment. Experience what has changed, and what has remained the same including the highly skilled athletes and performers who dazzle and amaze. Become part of the circus family as you dare to walk the virtual tightrope, learn to juggle, or practice your rigging skills.
“Visiting the circus has been a family tradition for millions over the centuries. Nowhere will you see such teamwork and talent that is passed from generation to generation,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum. “We want our visitors, which often consist of multiple generations to share those circus memories, create new memories, and practice teamwork and build confidence as they conquer circus skills together.”
Here is a sampling of some of the fun families will experience when they join The Children’s Museum circus experience:
· Virtual Reality Tightrope: Experience the thrill of the high wire when you put on a headset and walk along a “wire” from one basket to another in a realistic simulation of a classic circus act.
· Lyra Rings: Practice a real circus aerial act using real equipment in a safe and secure environment.
· Rigging Knots: Learn to tie and secure knots similar to those used in real circus rigging.
· Juggling: Work together as a family on a stationary roller board to learn the rhythm and timing of basic juggling then try your new skills using scarves or beanbags.
· Roman Ladders: Two sizes of ladders allow you and all members of your family to practice acrobatic skills on special ladders created just for circuses.
· Clown Car: Dress in clown costumes and see how many of your family members you can “fit” in a simulated clown car. Don’t forget to take your family selfie!
Clown Face-Painting Touchscreen Game: Create your own clown face after learning the different types of clowns. Email your finished product to yourself.
Circus — Starring YOU! is presented by Chick-fil-A. It is supported by Purdue University and Aquafina. For more information, visit http://childrensmuseum.org/, or call 317-334-3322.
By Leslie Olsen
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Amazing, blazing full-sized Hot Wheels® cars zoom into The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis May 14, 2016 just in time for the 100th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing – the Indianapolis 500.
Hot Wheels™: Race to Win™ is a family-friendly exhibit that is filled with hands-on immersive activities designed to demonstrate what makes real race cars go fast. It is all about power, safety and lots of speed. On select days, some visitors will even get to zip race cars down the iconic orange toy track with famous race car drivers from IndyCar, stock car, or the NHRA drag racing circuit.
Featuring Hot Wheels die-cast cars as well as actual race cars, Hot Wheels™: Race to Win™ invites children and families to suit up and join the Hot Wheels race team! Mom, dad, grandparents, and today’s youngest Hot Wheels fans will be invited to race each other in a timed, pit stop challenge to see who changes tires and fuels up the fastest. Families are also invited to take on the role of an engine by turning a crank to see how much more power is required to turn a large drag racing tire vs. a passenger car tire. They can also look under the hood and see pistons pumping in a cutaway engine and compare a variety of engine sounds made by different race cars. A car driven by four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon is literally cut in half so visitors can see what internal elements make these magnificent machines work.
“Racing, race cars and those who work in the field of racing are passions shared by multiple generations here in Indianapolis and around the world,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “We hope hands-on exploration and testing will not only encourage children and families to problem-solve together as they build tracks and test each car’s performance but will prompt parents and grandparents to share fond memories of their first toys and cars with the younger generation.”
There will be plenty of the iconic orange track and die-cast cars to test your own theories of physics and speed at the museum. And, you can take those concepts home to extend the learning with your family.
“Hot Wheels racing offers children a means of exploring scientific concepts such as gravity, velocity, and kinetic energy in an engaging and accessible way. It also encourages inquiry and real world problem-based learning through play,” said Cathy Southerland, Director Early Childhood Education, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Hot Wheels agrees that play and hands-on activities go a long way to helping children understand what would otherwise seem like difficult concepts. The Mattel Children’s Foundation and the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education worked together to develop Hot Wheels® Speedometry™, an education curriculum that combines Hot Wheels® fun, imagination, and action, as well as toys and track to accelerate learning. The Children’s Museum also has lesson plans for teachers and homeschoolers at www.childrensmuseum.org, click on educators to uncover more valuable learning guides.
Celebrating and inspired by the new film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Hot Wheels has built a one-of-a-kind full-sized vehicle: Hot Wheels Batman v Superman Twin Mill. The car is recognized as one of the most popular Hot Wheels castings in generations. It brings together Superman and Batman in a way that conveys plenty of super power Hot Wheels attitude. The Hot Wheels Batman v Superman Twin Mill will also make a pit stop this summer as an extension of the exhibit.
Introduced by Mattel in 1968, the “tricked out” cars have come a long way (both in the die-cast and life-size varieties). Since 1968, more than 800 models and 11,000 variations of Hot Wheels cars have been created and more than 4 billion Hot Wheels die-cast cars have been sold. Some Hot Wheels cars can reach scale speeds of 200 mph or more and have been clocked as high as 300 mph.
Hot Wheels™: Race to Win™ is presented by Teachers Credit Union. Supporting sponsors include OneAmerica and Church Brothers Collision Repair.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a nonprofit institution committed to creating extraordinary family learning experiences across the arts, sciences and humanities that have the power to transform the lives of children and families. For more information about the tourist attraction and museum, call 317-334-3322 or visit www.childrensmuseum.org, follow us on Twitter @TCMIndy,Facebook.com/childrensmuseum and YouTube.com/IndyTCM.
By Amanda Dorman
Downtown Indy, Inc.
Is romance in the air but you can’t come up with any ideas for Valentine’s Day? Here are some great suggestions:
Dine out, dance or do both!
Grab your dancing shoes and head to the historic Fountain Square Theatre Building on Feb. 12 for Friday Night Swing Dance. Take a dance lesson at 7:30 p.m. then stay for live entertainment from 8:30 – 11:30 p.m. with some of the hottest swing bands around. The dance lesson is $12 and dancing only is $10.
Get up and groove after dinner at the Love is All You Need Dinner Dance at The Rathskeller on Saturday, Feb. 13. This event includes a three-course meal starting at 6 p.m. followed by a performance from First Time Caller Band from 8 p.m. – midnight. Tickets are $90 per couple.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with treats from the tropics including chocolate and coffee, all while enjoying the candlelit romantic atmosphere of the Conservatory at Garfield Park. Sweets for Your Sweetie takes place Sunday, Feb. 14 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. and 8 – 9:30 p.m. and costs $10.
Chef JJ’s culinary team will be preparing fresh, local dishes made to share for Valentine’s Day Night on Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 and include beer or wine tasters, a five-course dinner and a sweet treat to take home. Beer and wine will be available for purchase.
Weber Grill is offering a special Valentine’s Day menu Feb. 12 – 14. The meal includes a choice of Cedar Planked Salmon, Surf and Turf or New York Strip plus a strawberry salad, shrimp bisque and chocolate dipped strawberries. Make your night out extra special by adding red roses to your table for $30 (put in your request when making reservations).
Other date-friendly dinner spots:
Harry & Izzy’s
Iozzo’s Garden of Italy
Spoke & Steele
St. Elmo Steak House
Shows and performances
Listen to a tribute to one of the most influential artists of all time – Frank Sinatra. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will play tribute to the 100th birthday of Sinatra during Sinatra Centennial at Hilbert Circle Theatre Feb. 12 & 13. Tickets are $15 – $61 or $10 for students.
Experience the fun of The Mind Tripping Show – a comedy with a psychology twist. Catch the show at The Hilton on Feb. 12 at 8:30 p.m. or Feb. 13 at 5 and 8:30 p.m. Make an entire night of it and dine at 120 West Bar & Grill or McCormick and Schmick’s, both at The Hilton, before or after the show. Check The Mind Tripping Show website for special restaurant offers.
Younger Valentines can enjoy Valentine’s Day Cabaret at Peewinkle’s Puppet Studio Feb. 12 – 15. Marionettes include magical music boxes, a dancing ostrich butterflies and more. An optional post-show workshop is available for purchase. Tickets are $13 and FREE for children under two.
Groove to live music at Old National Centre. Catch R&B musician and Hoosier native Babyface on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.
Visit one of Downtown’s museums
Watch a pre-Valentine’s Day screening of the iconic love story Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The film, part of the Winter Nights Film Series, plays on Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. in the Toby. While visiting the IMA, explore Oldfields-Lilly House and Gardens, the 26-acre estate that is just as beautiful in the winter, and snap a photo in front of the LOVE sculpture. Browse Gustave Baumann, German Craftsman–American Artist before it closes Feb. 14.
The Indiana State Museum is hosting the 13th annual Indiana Art Fair on Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. showcasing an array of art made in Indiana. More than 60 artists from 28 of Indiana’s counties will be represented. For those looking to celebrate the holiday with girlfriends, the Indiana State Museum is hosting Galentine’s Art Night on Feb. 12 from 6 – 9 p.m. Meet and mingle with the Indiana artists from the Art Fair and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while shopping. A select number of guests can paint their own masterpiece.
Couples who run can participate in the Be My Valentine 5K Run/Walk at the Athenaeum on Feb. 13 at 9 a.m. For a more relaxing workout, couples can attend Valentine’s Candlelight Hot Yoga at The Hot Room on Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. or
Partner Yoga & Massage at Invoke Studio on Feb. 14 at 2 p.m.
Surprise your partner with a gift from Rowdie himself. On Feb. 11 & 12, the Indianapolis Indians mascot will hand deliver a gift package of an Indians t-shirt or Rowdie Doll, four box seat ticket vouchers and four Gigi’s cupcakes. The package costs $95 (Rowdie-less packages will also be available for pick up for $75). All deliveries must be within a 20-mile radius of Victory Field.
The Indianapolis Colts Mascot, Blue, will also be making deliveries. Surprise visits from Blue include confetti, flowers, chocolates and Colts gear. Deliveries cost $150 and are available Feb. 8 – 12.
Stop by Silver in the City on Mass Ave for a unique piece of jewelry, including many options from local designers. If you’re taking the diamond route, be sure to visit Windsor Jewelry for diamonds, gold and precious stones.
Start your Valentine’s Day weekend with a wine tour and tasting at Easley Winery. Complimentary tours begin at noon on Saturday and Sunday and tastings cost $5. While you’re there, share a chilled bottle of Kauffman’s 76 Brand or grab a bottle to go – it will be on special for $8 per bottle.
Give your partner the best chocolate in town. Score big points with a heart box filled with sea salt caramels or your choice of assorted truffles from The Best Chocolate in Town.
Get a room
Why not celebrate Valentine’s Day all weekend long and stay at one of Downtown’s many hotels?
Book the Valentine’s Day Package at the Hilton Indianapolis and receive a five-course meal for two, a rose, a champagne toast, complimentary valet parking and overnight accommodations.
The Alexander’s Win Their Heart with Art package includes a $25 credit in Plat 99, prosecco and chocolate covered strawberries, brunch for two in Market Table, a late check-out at 2 p.m. and overnight accommodations. Book their package benefitting Horizon House and receive a $25 credit to Plat 99, a <3INDY shirt, an in-room amenity and complimentary self-parking.
The Omni Severin’s Retreat to Romance package includes a $100 cuisine and cocktail credit, a bottle of Chandon sparkling wine, romantic turndown service, concierge pre-call, a late check-out of 1 p.m. and overnight accommodations.
The Conrad’s is offering a girl’s getaway weekend. The Galentine Day Package includes chocolate covered strawberries upon arrival, $10 gift card per person to Tastings, an AVEDA styling session at Evan Todd Spa & Salon and overnight accommodations.
For more information, visit http://downtownindy.org, or call 317-237-2222.
By Duane Brodt
Conner Prairie Interactive History Park
Visitors of all ages can enjoy free admission to Conner Prairie on President’s Day and hours of presidential antics and activities.
From 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, visitors can meet several famous U.S. presidents, chat with some favorite first ladies, participate in sing-alongs, play games, shock George Washington with a surprise birthday party and more. Younger visitors are encouraged to come to Conner Prairie dressed as their favorite president or first lady for the day.
The following is planned inside the museum’s Welcome Center and Featherstone Barn (these activities will be repeated in the afternoon):
· 10:30 a.m.: George Washington’s birthday party
· 11 a.m.: Sing-a-long with Lady Liberty
· 11:30 a.m.: Fireside Chat with Franklin D. Roosevelt
· Noon: William H. Taft!
· 12:30 p.m.: Meet Some First Ladies
· 2 p.m.: Ask Abe
Other events and activities will include:
· “The Presidential Cabinet of Curiosities” with Ulysses S. Grant
· “Teddy Roosevelt’s Shooting Gallery”
· “Revolutionary War Edition of Capture the Flag” (a new game will begin at the top of every hour throughout the day)
· “Party Preparation” with Lucy Hayes and other first ladies
· “A Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage” with Herbert Hoover
· Storytelling with Abigail Fillmore
· “I Like (Putting With) Ike!” With President Eisenhower
· “Manifest Destiny” with James K. Polk
· “Cards Against the Presidency” with Peyton Randolf
· “Save the White House” with Dolley Madison
Also, there will be many interactive exhibits throughout the day that visitors can explore, including a “Hall of Awesome Presidents,” a “Presidential Birthday Calendar,” an opportunity for visitors to vote for their president of presidents, a display of presidential pets and a true and false “Requirements to be President” presentation.
For a complete list of activities on President’s Day at Conner Prairie, visithttp://bit.ly/1SDxhNa.
By Stephanie Perry
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Winter is in full swing, but flowers are blooming at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Step into spring with the new Color Me Orchid exhibition, a vibrant and stunning display of orchids in the IMA’s Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse from Feb. 19 through March 13. The exhibition will pay homage to the brilliant colors, shapes and pattern of orchids, while also highlighting their history and connection to the IMA. Throughout the show, orchids will be available for purchase in the Greenhouse and at a special Pop-Up Shop in the main Museum building. IMA horticulture experts will be available to share advice on orchid care.
For more than 40 years, orchids have been a striking staple in the Greenhouse. The orchid was the favorite flower of Madeline F. Elder, who rallied volunteers and support to save the Greenhouse from demolition in 1972. From the beginning of Elder’s involvement, the Greenhouse has housed this exquisite flower.
“Orchids have a great history of captivating people,” said Sue Nord Peiffer, the IMA’s greenhouse manager. “People really enjoy seeing this exotic and diverse group of plants. They have the most complicated bloom in the flowering world.”
For guests looking for extra tips for caring for these complex flowers, the IMA will offer workshops on mounting and repotting orchids on Feb. 27 and March 5. Workshops are $35 and $60 for the public, with special discounts for IMA members.
The exhibition is the first of its kind in the Greenhouse in recent years. As a living gallery space, the Greenhouse offers classes, workshops and educational plant displays year-round.
Color Me Orchid is included with general admission and free for IMA members. During the opening weekend, IMA members will receive a special 20 percent discount in all onsite retail stores, including the Pop-Up Shop and Greenhouse.
“Although this exhibition may seem nontraditional for the IMA, it is reflective of our new direction,” said Dr. Charles L. Venable, the IMA’s Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO. “We are more than an art museum— we have botanical gardens, a park and a historic estate. We have scientists, horticulturists, teachers and historians on staff. We want to showcase the expertise of our team and the experiences that make our institution unique. When guests visit the IMA, we hope that they not only explore the galleries, but all that we have to offer on our diverse, 152-acre campus.”
To learn more, visit www.imamuseum.org.