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Quick trip with my family to Zioneville/Indianapolis

Mentor, Ohio
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Quick trip with my family to Zioneville/Indianapolis

My husband (23) and I (25) are taking our daughters (2yrs old and 2 months old) to visit my grandparents. They live in Zioneville. We would like to spend time with them, but also show our girls a good time (specifically the 2 yr old). We are on a very tight budget, and live 6 hours away in Mentor, Oh. What are some things to do, and a good place to stay that's resonably priced? Please help! We are going in a couple of weeks.

Fishers, Indiana
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1. Re: Quick trip with my family to Zioneville/Indianapolis

The town is Zionsville - you would be looking to find a place in the Northwest Area of Indy - either around the areas known as Park 100 or The Pyramids. Look at the TA ratings for hotels along I-465 at the Michigan Road, 86th Street or 71st Street exits. Lots of choices there.

The Holiday Inn at 465 and Michigan Road has a water park - not sure what the cost is for guests or how the rates compare.

I would recommend the Children's Museum in Indianapolis for your two year-old. Here are the admission prices

Youth (ages 2–17) $10.50

Adult (ages 18–59) $15.50

Senior (60+) $14.50

Not sure if you are coming before or after Thansgiving. The Circle of Lights celebration is downtown on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It is free, but it is also very crowded

http://www.indydt.com/COL.cfm

I am sure others will have more ideas.

The drive from Indy to downtown Cleveland is a little over five hours, so six hours should be a comfortable drive from Mentor to Zionsville. I made it as far as Cleveland a few weeks and no real road construction issues for you to worry about. Have a safe trip.

Indianapolis...
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2. Re: Quick trip with my family to Zioneville/Indianapolis

I agree that the Children's Museum is a must see! You might want to wait until they are a little older, though, since most of the exhibits are better suited for older kids. There is a toddler play area, but as nice as it is, it can feel a bit pricey to spend all your time watching them play with sand and water and then be ready for a nap while you all paid admission. Even though its extra crowded, if you can come on a free day or Target free family night, a toddler length visit doesn't feel bad at all. Check their schedule on the website. (It also doesn't hurt to call to confirm since sometimes things change.) www.childrensmuseum.org/generalinfo/hours.htm

I'll try to think of some other free and cheap things to do in the area for this trip.

Not far from Zionsville is Traders Point Creamery, a dairy farm with a restaurant/ice cream shop. You can do a self-guided tour for $2/person or get a private tour for $6/person with kids 3 and under free. www.tpforganics.com

"Stroll the grounds and enjoy the beauty of our farm. Visit the calves and chickens, walk out to the pasture to see the herd, visit the milking parlor, and watch production while looking through the Creamery window." Their dairy products aren't inexpensive, but they are delicious!

While I wouldn't normally think of an art museum when I think of little kids, the Indianapolis Art Museum actually encourages it with interesting activities and tours. (For example, they encourage bringing a picnic lunch to enjoy the grounds, and there are sometimes drop-in art activities. I've never been to the museum with kids, but it is a wonderful museum that also has beautiful grounds, and best of all, it's all free so if they don't enjoy it, you can move on to another activity!

imamuseum.org/visit/planning-visit-with-kids

Walking around by the canal downtown is free. There is interesting artwork outside that even little kids get into and the buildings are unique. Be sure to check out the steam clock on the canal side of the Indiana State Museum. (It plays music every 15 minutes, so be prepared!) Watching people on surrey bikes and on boats in the canal is fun for little ones.

Kids your children's ages get in free to the Indiana State Museum and the Eiteljorg and adults pay $7-8 admission, so it's up to you if you're willing to pay that at this time with their attention span. (I have spent many pretty days just enjoying the atmosphere there. Sometimes I can find free parking. Sometimes I can't, but it's not outrageous for a few hours.)

Discovery Station at Conner Prairie in northern Indianapolis (Fishers) might be a nice option if the weather is not great. In the winter the outdoor areas (what Conner Prairie is usually known for) are closed, but certain days of the week the indoor Discovery Station is open. Anyone under 2 is free. Everyone 2 and over is $5. (I believe this opened after I was last there.)

connerprairie.org/Plan-Your-Visit/1st-Time-G…

The Museum of Miniature Houses might be fun for little girls. Admission ranges from $2-$4. museumofminiatures.org/hoursdirections.html

I have not been here, but in Zionsville itself there is an antique toy museum. Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for children according to their site. (The visitors bureau website lists different prices.) The rides are coin operated. http://www.carterstoymuseum.com/

Here is a link to the visitors bureau information for the county that Zionsville is in.

http://www.boonecvb.com/

Here is one for the county right next to it where Conner Prairie, the Museum of MIniature Houses, etc. are.

http://8greattowns.com/

This is the Indianapolis website. www.indy.org.

I hope this helps!

Indianapolis...
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3. Re: Quick trip with my family to Zioneville/Indianapolis

Comfort Inn and Suites North at the Pyramids might be a good option for you. I haven't stayed there, but ninety-three percent of TA reviewers recommend it even though the price is relatively low--starting in the mid-50s and going up depending on the amenities, etc.

It comes with a free hot breakast with waffles and some rooms have microwaves and refrigerators.

Good luck finding something that will work for you!

Indianapolis
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4. Re: Quick trip with my family to Zioneville/Indianapolis

The Holiday Inn does have a wonderful waterpark and also has a separate indoor pool if you don't want to pay the extra cost of wristbands for the water park. There are a couple of other hotels on the northwest side that are quite affordable around the 465 loop - probably even more affordable on the west side around 71st and 82nd street exits.

The toy museum in Zionsville would be wonderful reminiscent thing for grandparents - but not sure it would keep attention of a two year old as these are toys that they cannot touch. They do have an area in the basement in which they can ride on old-fashioned rides (like the horse you see at the grocery story) - but there are around 50 different choices of those coin operated rides. They also have an ice cream parlor.

At Traders Point - they can watch as cows are being milked and enjoy incredible ice cream/frozen yogurt in the loft. If you go, purchase their chocolate milk in a jug to go. It is thee best hot chocolate I've ever had!

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is incredible no matter the age. I would suggest buying a membership and then you can use it a couple of times (during a return visit).

If you come during the holidays- might want to take the family to the zoo for Christmas at the zoo - it is an incredible display of colored lights - many of which are the in the shapes of animals - when my son was two -he LOVED it - still does and he's six years old.

Have fun!

Indianapolis...
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5. Re: Quick trip with my family to Zioneville/Indianapolis

I do love the Children's Museum and I didn't mean to imply that toddlers don't like it! It's just that the $70.50 that your group would pay for admission can seem like too much when the bulk of your time is spent in the toddler room. We did briefly wander through some other areas, but the girls were too young at two to spend much time doing much else. They were even scared to ride the carousel. When they were a little older they enjoyed it as much as I did! (It's still one of my favorite childhood memories!)

The suggestion to purchase a membership is a good one if you plan to make the trip from Northeastern Ohio enough times this year to pay for it. Keep in mind that unlike some places where members get free passes for guests, you only get $1 off each guest admission. In order to have the grandparents included, you can purchase a special Family + 2 pass that includes two additional adults per visit for $145. (There are a number of variations to the plans, so you can figure out what would work best for you.)

Because I personally have found that I don't usually get my money out of longer distance memberships (despite good intentions!) I now have a rule that I don't buy a membership for anything over an hour away from where I live. That has worked well for me since usually I end up finding other ways to get discounts or go during free days/events, etc.

Different people define "very tight budget" different ways, so if it fits your budget, I agree with the other posters that the Holiday Inn with the waterpark is a lot of fun for kids. If this just isn't the year when you can afford to spend that much, there are plenty of other options and many more years when they'll love going there.

Oh, I just checked, and on their site, it says "Ask about our Buy 1 Night Get 1 Free promotion. Limited offer so hurry in before it's too late! Call hotel directly for details." If you only need one bed and no room for a rollaway, their rates start at $99 before the 1 night free option, so that's great! If you need 2 doubles, the rates start at around $150, so with the free night that's still just putting you at about $75/night before tax.

holidayinn.com/hotels/…

I hope you have a great trip!

Cornelius, North...
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6. Re: Quick trip with my family to Zioneville/Indianapolis

One exit east of the Zionsvle exit is Meridian Street. There is a Jameson Inn just north of I465 that is affordable and nice. Jameson Inn is a locally owned chain that most people do not recognize, but my family members have stayed there with good success.

I have a 4 year old and a one year old and I would recommend the Children's Museum for any age. If the weather is nice, I would also recommend the Indianapolis Zoo. Even if it is cold, there are plenty of indoor exhibits (penguins, polar bear, sea lions, snakes, dolphins) to keep you busy for the afternoon. Traders Point Creamery is also a good recommendation. We took my son there when he was 2 and he loved it. There is also a new place downtown called the Rythem Discovery Center. It is basically a hands on percussion museum where the kids and adts can make music together. Not sure of the pricing on this one. Again, if the weather is nice, Zionsville has a really nice park for the kids to play. You could also check out West Park in Carmel or Cool Creek Park in Westfield.

To get se more ideas, check out the "Doing Indy" podcast in iTunes and download the episodes of the attractions you are interested in.

Good luck!

Cornelius, North...
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7. Re: Quick trip with my family to Zioneville/Indianapolis

One exit east of the Zionsvle exit is Meridian Street. There is a Jameson Inn just north of I465 that is affordable and nice. Jameson Inn is a locally owned chain that most people do not recognize, but my family members have stayed there with good success.

I have a 4 year old and a one year old and I would recommend the Children's Museum for any age. If the weather is nice, I would also recommend the Indianapolis Zoo. Even if it is cold, there are plenty of indoor exhibits (penguins, polar bear, sea lions, snakes, dolphins) to keep you busy for the afternoon. Traders Point Creamery is also a good recommendation. We took my son there when he was 2 and he loved it. There is also a new place downtown called the Rythem Discovery Center. It is basically a hands on percussion museum where the kids and adts can make music together. Not sure of the pricing on this one. Again, if the weather is nice, Zionsville has a really nice park for the kids to play. You could also check out West Park in Carmel or Cool Creek Park in Westfield.

To get se more ideas, check out the "Doing Indy" podcast in iTunes and download the episodes of the attractions you are interested in.

Good luck!

Indianapolis...
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8. Re: Quick trip with my family to Zioneville/Indianapolis

Clearly it depends on your kids. My experience with the girls as toddlers at the Children's Museum appears to have been an exception! Another one of the membership plans is for grandparents and grandkids, which might work better since they live in the area and you don't. (You can do the + 2 adults as well.) I assume that they could use it with their other grandkids that way too, but you can doublecheck.

The following sites lists places where kids eat free or at a discount.

http://www.indybabyexpo.com/Kids_Eat_For_Free

www.mykidseatfree.com

This seems to list general chain restaurants that may or may not be in Indy. That might help on your 12 hour roundtrip though!

http://coupondivas.com/kids-eat-free.html

Have a great trip!

9. Re: Quick trip with my family to Zioneville/Indianapolis

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