After a long, long day in Downtown Indianapolis the day before, my daughter and I decide we’re going to sleep in and finish off day 2 of our trip in a more relaxed manner. On the schedule for today is the Indiana State Museum and lunch at the Indianapolis Colts Grille.
My 12 year old daughter and I had just spent an afternoon and night in downtown Indianapolis. My wife was supposed to go with me, but ended up getting sick, so I took my daughter instead. On the previous day, we had visited the NCAA Hall of Champions, ate a late lunch at the Capitol Grille, relaxed in our luxurious room, and then finished off the evening with a play at the Phoenix Theatre, and a slice of pizza at Bazbeaux, before retiring at midnight.
Checkout of the hotel is at noon, and we wanted to get a late breakfast/early lunch, before heading over to the museum. We slept as late as we could, packed up, and were checked out by 11:30. Since I wasn’t sure of the cost or etiquette of leaving our car at the valet parking, we got the car, drove around the block, and parked across the street at the mall parking lot. Parking is fairly inexpensive on the weekends, so it was worth it if we were only going to be a few hours.
After we parked the car, we walked half a block west to the Indianapolis Colts Grille. It was still early enough, we had a whole section to ourselves, with sports on TV. Even though it was early in the day, we were able to catch a spring training baseball game (at least I was. My daughters are not big fans of baseball), as well as some synchronized diving and hockey. We chatted about what we were going to do for the day, and what we had seen the day before. My daughter was still talking about the play, The Lyons, we had seen the night before.
Since we’re both hamburger fiends, we tried hamburgers again today (having just had them the day before at the Capitol Grille). Both of us enjoyed the food — we got the Colts breakfast burger, with bacon, eggs, orange marmalade, and cheese — and I was especially pleased to be able to get extra-crispy tater tots with my lunch. But my daughter is her mother’s girl, and she ordered vegetables for her side dish.
After lunch, we walked in the cold back to the White River State Park, and the Indiana State Museum. We’ve been to the museum other times in the past, but we typically don’t see everything. We started in the basement, in the geology section, learning about how the earth was formed millions of years ago, and what shapes the continents were in before they took the form we know them as now. (Did you know that at one point they were all joined into one super continent that slowly drifted apart over millions of years into the seven we know now? Yeah, me either.) And since this is the Indiana museum, everything focused on Indiana’s history, including those pre-historic supercontinent photos.
We got to travel through Indiana’s history, learning more about notable Indiana historical figures like Madame C.J. Walker, T.C. Steele, and Hoagy Carmichael, the Indiana-Michigan canals, and the Stutz Bearcat automobiles.
I was also stunned back to my childhood when we found the Foucault’s pendulum between floors. This is the pendulum that continually swings, slowly hitting all points of a circle within a 24 hour day. There are little sticks that are stood up each day, for the pendulum to knock over as it covers the circle. They’re set back up at the end of every 24 hours to be knocked over again each new day.
I was especially pleased to see it, because I had forgotten all about the pendulum from when I was a little boy. When I was growing up in Muncie, we used to go to the Indiana State Museum and look at the pendulum, only I didn’t remember that’s where or what it was.
The pendulum will knock over one of the little pegs every 15 minutes or so, so we stood and waited for the pendulum to do its thing before we finally moved on. Other visitors came, watched for a few minutes, and left again, but we held firm for at least 10 minutes before one peg was finally knocked over, and then we stuck around for five more minutes while a peg on the opposite side was knocked down.
After spending a few hours in the museum — to me, the most interesting time period was the last 150 years of Indiana history; the first 100 million, not so much — we decided to call it a day. We collected our car, and made a quick stop on Mass Ave to check out a couple stores on the street, including one called the Inventorialist, which has a lot of different mid-20th century and early 20th century objects, including several typewriters.
All in all, the trip to downtown Indianapolis was an interesting one. I got to revisit some old sites that I saw when I was a kid, and had some new experiences with my daughter. My hope is one day she’s taking one of her kids downtown, showing her some of the same places we visited in early March 2012.
Even if you live in the city, or 150 miles away, spend some time in downtown Indianapolis. It’s a fun and exciting place, with plenty to do within a one mile radius of Monument Circle.
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