This past week I had a fun opportunity to take a media trip to Indianapolis and get acquainted with some of the outgoing exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and some fascinating ones that will soon open or that will debut in the spring.
Fall is a great time to visit the museum as the weather starts to cool down and families begin looking for activities indoors. I took a walk through two exhibits that will be ending shortly. One is Avatar: The Exhibition, running through Sept. 22, which includes real movie props and costumes and interactive areas that show some of the high-tech methods for producing the blockbuster. Little ones who may not have seen the movie can still enjoy the exhibit by playing in the Glowing Garden with light-up toys. The other is Take Me There: Egypt, running through Sept. 15, an exhibit that immerses you in the culture of Cairo. You first hop in a plane for your flight and arrive to visit a marketplace, home and more. Live actors pop in to add to the festive atmosphere. The exhibit area will re-open in May as Take Me There: China.
The newest exhibit opening was the introduction of the renovated Playscape area, which just opened Saturday and is designed for visitors ages 5 and under. With everything following a peaceful earth-tone scheme, little ones can visit the art and music studios, do some climbing, play with blocks and explore the water table and sand table areas. An enclosed area for noncrawlers gives them an opportunity to explore through sight and touch.
However, the highlight for me of this space is the Mother’s Room, which has three private nursing areas with gliders, flat screen TVs and toys. I was so glad to see this as a mom who breastfed five children in cars and closets and bathroom stalls but rarely in a designated, private nursing room and never in one so relaxing and comfortable. So bravo to the museum for that.
An exhibit called Big, Bad and Bizarre opens on Sept. 21, featuring dinosaur artwork created by paleo artists, a former collection of Chicagoan John Lanzendorf.
There’s also a cool haunted house opening Oct. 10 at the museum. There is a separate admission charge as it is done as a fundraiser, but it will have friendly lights-on trick-or-treat hours for young kids, frightening hours later in the day and on select dates the bravest ones can visit during “Extreme Scream” hours. Since it is the 50th anniversary of the haunted house attraction, there will be rooms representing each decade.
A free exhibit that will accompany the haunted house is called “Hollywood Haunts” and it will feature props and costumes from various scary movies. I was lucky enough to get a behind-the-scenes look at some items that will be part of the exhibit from "The Mummy," "Men in Black" and the "Indiana Jones" movies. It was pretty cool being right there surrounded by items that had appeared in scenes with Will Smith, Harrison Jones and Brendan Frasier.
More new exhibits are in the works for the spring at the museum, which happens to be the largest children’s museum in the world. For more information, visit www.childrensmuseum.org.
Irv Cass returns to area as Elvis and Tom Jones
There will be a fundraiser Sept. 21 at Moose Lodge No. 828, 2911 Sauk Trail in Sauk Village, featuring Irv Cass, who will perform as both Elvis and Tom Jones. Tickets are $35 and include a buffet dinner. Dinner is served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., with the show beginning at 8 p.m.
Irv has been doing an annual show for years at the American Legion Post in Lansing and I’ve been to several of them. He puts on a great show and any Elvis fan will enjoy his trip down memory lane. For tickets call (219) 513-9810.