Exploring the World's Largest Children's Museum

By Kearney, Michael K. | The Saturday Evening Post, July/August 1996 | Go to article overview

Exploring the World's Largest Children's Museum


Kearney, Michael K., The Saturday Evening Post


A kid's-eye view of a place where children grow up and adults don't have to.

In April, my family and I visited the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. This turned out to be a very large building with five floors of things for kids to explore. The exhibits are meant to be interactive; you don't just look at them, but you can climb inside and actually play with them. It was more like an amusement park with learning simulations for children. How you played with the exhibits was up to you to decide.

When we first walked into the museum, there was a wall-size glass sculpture with water running through its various parts that immediately attracted my attention. I couldn't stop looking at it. I walked up to it and suddenly realized that it wasn't just a sculpture; it was actually a giant water clock. Minutes, seconds, and hours were measured off in this clock as the water flowed into its various parts. You read the time by looking at the fluid-level indicators, something like reading a measuring cup. Cool.

We went down a circular ramp to the archaeology exhibit on the floor below. As you head toward the exhibit, it gives you the impression of entering a tomb. As you enter, the first thing you notice is a mummy's tomb. You are flung into the role of playing detective by finding clues to the identity of a teenage mummy by using hieroglyphics. Along the way you can smell the materials used in the burial of the mummy, such as myrrh, cedar, cinnamon, and pine. We got to piece together an entire mummy, using puzzle pieces depicting the body, the wrappings, the casing, and the sarcophagus. There are exhibits of papyrus, Egyptian combs, and personal items of the unidentified mummy so that you can imagine how she lived in the ancient past. At the end of the exhibit, we learned the name of the unidentified mummy, but I can't give you that secret. I leave it up to you to become a detective and to take up the challenge.

We next visited the undersea exhibit, where they asked you, "What if you could go under the sea?" My sister, Maeghan, and I entered into the submarine and pretended to run the control center, since it seemed that the regular personnel must have taken a break. We then ventured out of the submarine to become creatures of the sea.

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