We’re more than halfway through July, so if you have young kids you may be getting tired of the same old playgrounds and parks near your house. Fortunately, summer offers a great chance to explore new places. One spot you might not have considered taking little ones to is the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s 100 Acres, an outdoor art and nature park on the grounds of the museum. I recently met a group of moms and toddlers there, and we all had a great time.
If you think your kids are too young to appreciate the art, think again. These sculptures are full of whimsy, and yet based on familiar objects. Follow the signage along the 38th Street to park at the designated lot for 100 Acres, and you’ll be greeted by Los Carpinteros’ Free Basket. It’s the craziest basketball court you’ve ever seen! Because kids shouldn’t climb on this structure, I’d encourage you to bring a little ball and let them shoot hoops instead.
From Free Basket, head down the gravel path into the heart of the park. You’ll first come upon Van Lieshout’s Funky Bones sculpture. Kids are encouraged to climb the 20 fiberglass benches that together form a giant human skeleton. This is my son’s favorite piece in the park, and I think you’ll definitely want to spend lots of time at this one. It’s the biggest anatomy lesson your kids will ever experience!
From there, we headed into the shade provided by the woods and visited Eden II by Finnish artist Tea Makipaa. What appears to be a sinking ship will delight your kids, and they can climb up to the guard house and hear recordings from the ship.
There are several other sculptures around the park, so be sure to pick up a map (available near the start of the path by Free Basket). You can read descriptions of each piece to your kids as you walk toward them. I shared more tips on visiting 100 Acres here, or use the IMA’s site to help you plan a visit. There are several events on the calendar throughout the summer that will give you an even better appreciation of what this great outdoor space has to offer (many are kid-friendly).
And the best part of all is that just like your neighborhood playground, visiting is free!
Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.