Looking for something that’s fun and educational for the whole family? Plan a visit to the Indiana State Capitol Building.

“The capitol is a beautiful, interesting place to visit year-round,” notes Jennifer Hodge, Coordinator of the Capitol Tour Office. “If you visit when our legislators are in session (January to April) you will see government in action. Although areas available to visit may be limited, it can be very exciting and you have a better chance to meet your Legislator in person. Summer is quieter at the Statehouse and a time when we have many tourists and families. Fall brings more field trips and special programming such as the First Lady’s Tree Trim and Statehood Day.”

All tours of the Statehouse are free and you have the option of a self-guided tour or joining a tour group. Guided tours are available Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (excluding holidays). Hodge recommends the guided tours as your best chance of seeing more parts of the building and learning more about the history of the Statehouse. “Any size group should call if they have 45 to 60 minutes to spend. We will combine them with another group or take them around alone if no one else shows up. That way they will go into rooms and spaces that are not available without a guide.”

One of our region’s State Senators, Karen Tallian agrees that calling ahead is best. “I always recommend that my constituents contact my legislative assistants before their visit. My assistants can arrange guided tours for you and set an appointment to meet me if I’m going be in Indianapolis while you are visiting.”

Tallian’s assistants had these tips for visiting our capitol:

• Email your legislator ahead of time if you want the best chance of meeting him or her during your visit.

• During legislative session is the best time to visit if you want a chance to meet your legislators in Indianapolis. The summer and fall are best if you want to see the building while it is not busy.

• If constituents do not have time to take a guided tour, there are self-guided tour papers on the desk of the Tour office on Floor 2.

• Don’t forget that Indianapolis is on Eastern Time.

• Learn more about what to expect on our tour by watching this video posted by the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus: http://insendems.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/tour-your-indiana-statehouse/

All three branches of government are housed in the Statehouse, giving visitors a well-rounded view of how our state is run. Students in third and fourth grades might find a visit to the statehouse particularly interesting because they are beginning to focus on Indiana history and government in school. However, just about everyone – adults included – learn something new about the process of state government and what goes on in the state capitol.

The building’s architecture is also worth the visit. Indiana limestone, marble columns and floors, brass chandeliers, and a stunning stained glass rotunda dome are some of the things you’re sure to notice on your visit. Make sure your group is prepared to enjoy these views and tours quietly. Hodge comments, “Although the building looks like a museum it is a working building that always has people in offices conducting the business of the state.”

Hours and tour information can be found on the Indiana Statehouse website: in.gov/idoa/2371.htm

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