The big tourist destinations of Madison & Indianapolis – Day 82-84

Family at a mock sports broadcasting studio

We got two more pictures of state capitol buildings by stopping in Madison and Indianapolis. One might ask, why go to Madison at all? The answer for us was logistics. We simply wanted to break a ten-hour drive into two five-hour legs. And on the map, Madison is about the midway point between Minneapolis and Indianapolis. Our real goal was getting to Indianapolis because Paigey had read about a children’s museum there and thought it could be a good place for homeschooling. If you have kids and they aren’t in school, this is the spot for you and is completely worthy of a road trip. We went during a weekday in September and essentially had the museum to ourselves (it was too early in the school year for field trips). I’m not exaggerating, at some of the live demonstrations, our kids were the only 2 people to show up so they got to learn from the scientists one on one. This day, we didn’t even have to pretend to be good teachers.

Children unearthing dinosaur artifacts in the sand

It was the hottest day of the trip so far as the temperature touched 36 degrees celsius. And when it gets that hot, a museum is where you should head! The unfortunate part was that the children’s museum had amazing outdoor exhibits too but it was just too hot. We could only spend 15 minutes at their spectacular outdoor sports activity centre. Tennis, baseball, Reggie Wayne football, and miniature Pacer basketball were sampled for mere minutes. They also had three different mini-golf courses that were replicas of iconic holes. We saved it for the end of the day as we had hoped things would cool off. It didn’t and our kids asked if we could come back tomorrow. I told them next time we were in Indianapolis…

This museum was truly unique with its hands-on nature. The most significant difference from museums we’ve been to before was that they ran numerous “live” demonstrations and activities. There were so many things to do that Paigey and I spent many minutes planning out our day. Would we attend a class on cooking greek food or learn about dinosaur adaptations from the paleontologist? Discover pondlife or explore Captain Kidd’s sunken treasure? Unearth the terracotta warriors of Xian or make traps at the Scooby Doo Haunted Mansion? So much to do and so many conflicting schedules.

The kids had a blast and Julie wanted to share her overview of the Greek Isles exhibit. Julie says: “Greece was pretty fun cause we were pretending it was real food. And there was this boy that was being crazy. He cooked the fruit in the kitchen. And there was a sea turtle thing next to it. And Izzy and I pretended to save the sea turtles.” – Julie gives it a 7 out of 10 even though she said it was the greatest day of her life (homeschooling will have to work on scales)!

Before wrapping up I wanted to share a funny exchange that occurred at an Arby’s along the interstate. Isabella is in line at the self-serve soda dispenser. Izzy looks at the options and then yells to me across the restaurant: “Hey dad, what’s Mello Yello?” “It is yellow pop!” I yell back. A stranger interjects and politely tells Isabella that Mello Yello is kind of like Mountain Dew. Isabella turns to him and with a deadpan expression says: “What’s Mountain Dew?” I love my kids (I also should get some points for my kids not knowing what mountain Dew is).

Up next we surprise Isabella for her birthday.

Where we stayed (5 words or less):

By the numbers:

  • Olive Gardens visited so far: 3 – add Indianapolis to the list
  • Time it took Isabella to reassemble the sarcophagus: 4 minutes – Mike and Paige could not do it
  • State Capitol Buildings “visited” so far: 4 – Bismarck, Minneapolis, Madison, Indianapolis

Ciao for now,


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