Need a Reason to Visit Indy? We’ve got four!

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Just under two hours away, Indianapolis is a perfect travel destination for Cincinnati families. There is a huge variety of attractions to keep every member of the family happy during your visit. Here is my top three list of Indy Family activities, followed by my recommendation for the trendiest spot to stay overnight, Ironworks Hotel. So whether you are looking for a spring break spot or a summer vacation destination, be sure to check out Indianapolis! 

Indianapolis Zoo                                            

The first time I visited the Indianapolis Zoo, I thought I was witnessing an orangutan breaking out of its enclosure. I gawked, with my head tilted skyward, and my finger pointing over six stories up towards a furry orange mass. “Oh my gosh! There is an orangutan scaling that wire!!!” Eventually I came to my senses and realized the orangutan was just playfully monkeying around, and that the orangutans are free to climb 70 feet up and scale the wires high above on what is known as the Hutan Trail. Orangutans loves to climb, and the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center was built with the orangutans needs in mind, with many components in which they can climb, swing, and play! The Indianapolis Zoo is also home to the St. Vincent Dolphin Pavilion which has daily shows, and an underwater viewing area! You can also have a close-up dolphin encounter — sounds pretty cool to me! Overall, the Indianapolis Zoo is very easy to navigate, has good restaurants, and even has a splash pad during summer. If you are a Cincinnati Zoo member, show your pass for a $2 discount, or order your tickets online in advance for the best deal. For more information, head to



Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park        

Over 100 acres of outdoor art to explore with your family, and for free! The natural beauty of the park is definitely a sight to be seen, but the artworks within the park are something to actually experience. My favorite piece at Fairbanks is Funky Bones, a giant, friendly looking skeleton that you can climb on, enjoy a picnic on, and take funky photos with! My family took a “head, shoulders, knees, and toes” photo, and we were worn out afterwards- the sculpture is 69 feet long from head to toes! Are you a fan of rom coms? You may recognize this piece of artwork from the movie “The Fault in Our Stars;” although, fun fact, they actually recreated Funky Bones, and did not shoot the film in Indianapolis! Other works of art include Free Basket, a basketball court with giant red and blue steel arches to show the trajectory of a bouncing ball. And Chop Stick, a 100-foot yellow poplar tree that has been reused and repurposed into a swing set! It is gorgeous, fun, and also houses a concession stand. Here is a really cool article about the “tree house”, from the folks who created it: For more information on the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, visit:



Indianapolis Children’s Museum                

An Indianapolis family activity list would simply not be complete without including the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. This state of the art facility is so fabulous that everyone wants in- there are even dinosaurs literally breaking into the building! There are five floors to explore, with each of exhibit hall captivating your senses with hands-on components, music, gadgets, technology, puzzles, and so much more. Around each corner is something new to do! Current exhibits include: Circus: starring you!, Dinosphere, Beyond Spaceship Earth, Treasures of the Earth, All Aboard! And more! If you visit before April 29, you can experience the giant chocolate slide in the lobby. It definitely will bring you back to childhood dreams of chocolate factories, especially since you can see a real golden ticket from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in the American POP exhibit. A new immersive exhibit called Riley Children’s Health Sports Legend is set to open March 17, with outdoor interactive learning activities like baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, tennis, football, racing, a climbing and sliding, super fun treehouse, and more! Find out more on this article in the March print edition of Cincinnati Family Magazine! Your best bet for tickets to the Indy Children’s Museum is to purchase online, in advance. Visit for more information. 



Ironworks Hotel

Whether you’re having a romantic getaway, girls’ trip, or family fun getaway, Indianapolis has a luxury boutique hotel to fit your needs. Ironworks Hotel is chic and trendy, and the rooms feel like home … or at least how you wish your home would look and feel! The color scheme is a mix of rich, deep chocolates, and cool metals. The aesthetic is definitely unique, and trendy! Ironworks is also pet friendly, with an adorable water and dog bone station in the lobby. And if the humans need food and drinks, there are amazing on site restaurants that can also cater to you with a fine room service delivery. 

My husband and I recently stayed at Ironworks with our 1-year-old son, while our older boys spent the night with their grandma. It was a “sort of” couples retreat, since Baby is nursing, and a complete momma’s boy. Our baby loved getting all of our attention while we stayed at Iron Works, and my husband and I loved laying in the plush, comfy bed, ordering delicious room service, and watching reality TV. I would have to say my favorite part of the hotel would be the amazing shower. I imagined being under a flowing waterfall, and all of my troubles just melted away. 

A romantic getaway is a chance to take a short breather, have energy restored, your mind cleared, soul rejuvenated, and overall, find your center and balance once again. A friend of mine recently said it best: a getaway can be a great “reset.” Plus absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say, and when you are reunited with your kids, you will be your best self! After our stay at Ironworks, I felt like my best self, and like I was ready to face the world! If you are looking to rekindle some flames, I would definitely recommend a stay at Ironworks. Or if you are traveling to Indianapolis with the girls, they also have an on site spa you can hit up before having drinks! If you plan on checking out my list of Indy family attractions, be sure to book your room at Iron Works at:


Amanda Ciani lives in Northern Kentucky with her husband and their three terrific sons. She enjoys writing haiku parenting poems for her Instagram account (@cinciciani), and Twitter account (@haikuciani).

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