Seeing your children’s eyes light up as they experience the magic of the holidays is one of the best feelings. Whether you’re a local Hoosier or you’re visiting the Circle City for the holidays, there are so many great options for adding some Christmas magic to the season. Theses are some of our family’s favorites
Our Favorite Indianapolis Christmas Events for Kids
Special thanks to Newfields for hosting us at Winterlights and for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Christkindlemarket of Carmel for providing images.
Sullivan Hardware at 71st and Keystone offers their annual Santa Train. Tickets are affordable (just $35 for a family) and kids love the small train that takes you from the main store to the North Pole. Plan to spend about an hour including waiting for your train, checking out the beautiful collection of trees, and grabbing a free bag of popcorn.
This is my favorite hidden gem for the holidays. Conservatory Crossing is the holiday train display inside the Garfield Park Conservatory just south of downtown. It’s usually quiet and a sweet little holiday tradition that’s perfect if you don’t want to fight some of the crowds at the larger attractions this time of year. You can read more in my review here.
Related Post: Garfield Park’s Christmas Display: A Hidden Holiday Gem
You’d expect the world’s largest children’s museum to go all out for the holidays and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis doesn’t disappoint! Slide down the Yule Slide or play in the Jolly Days exhibit. The ‘ice skating in socks’ is always a hit with my kids. You can also grab tickets for the holiday show inside the theater (it’s free with admission and members can get advanced tickets by calling the museum).
A brand new experience this year, Newfields (home of the Indianapolis Art Museum) is hosting a winter holiday lights experience. Come tour the spectacular grounds in a whole new way. This outdoor lighting extravaganza is available each night (except Mondays) at 5:00 and 7:00pm. Buy tickets online at a discount to save some money and to reserve your spot. Dress warmly since almost the entire exhibit is outside and look out for the cheery warming stations to warm up your frosty checks. Snacks and drinks are also available to purchase.
If you’ve got a train aficionado in your house, you have to check out Jingle Rails at the Eiteljorg Museum. This enormous model train display is made almost entirely from natural materials and includes replicas of various national landmarks. Your kids can wander through the display and then head downstairs to the interactive children’s play area to experience life on the frontier.
If you can, try and time this for a warmer night or plan to bundle up, but seeing the zoo light up with lights is treat! Grab a cup of hot cocoa and warm up at one of the bonfires or head to the heated White River Gardens building to complete the holiday scavenger hunt. This is definitely more about the lights than the animals, many of which are not out during the evening. You won’t mind a bit though, once you grab your ticket (an extra cost) for the sky tram. The views are spectacular!
Another brand new attraction for the season. This traditional German Christmas market is located on the campus of the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, IN and features an ice skating rink, holiday shopping vendors, and even a commemorative mug that you can fill with your choice of a toasty hot beverage. Make sure to visit their website for info on skate rentals, parking, and the Saturday Holiday Trolley to visit Santa.
Update: Peak times are pretty crowded with long lines so try and visit during the weekday or schedule a sitter and make this a date night. The skating rink is open through early March so you can always return with your kiddos later on.
Holiday Events Across the Midwest
Does your family have a special holiday tradition? What are your favorite Indianapolis Christmas Events for kids? What’s the best even in your town? Leave a comment below! We’re always looking for new places to visit.