NCAA Hall of Champions: From the re-created 1930s-style gym to the interactive shoot-a-soccer-ball game, this facility in the NCAA national headquarters captivated my kids. My favorite: a game in which you play umpire or referee, making calls on actual sporting events in a split second ($3-$5, ncaahallofchampions.org). Conner Prairie: Thirty minutes from downtown Indianapolis, in Fishers, is Conner Prairie, an interactive history park. You can visit a wigwam or throw a tomahawk in the Lenape Indian Camp, pet a duck or brush a cow at the barn on the old Conner homestead, make wax candles or dance a jig in the re-created prairie town. When the weather is good, you can even go up in a hot-air balloon. The newest attraction is the 1863 Civil War Journey: Raid on Indiana. As you cross a covered bridge filled with signs proclaiming a victory at Gettysburg, you'll hear reports of a raid coming to the town of Dupont, Ind. Through a combination of actors, life-size video (which reminded me of the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando), animatronics and more, you can relive the raid. The park has limited access in the winter; check the website for attractions and hours ($7-$14, connerprairie.org). Rhythm! Discovery Center: Tucked away in the lower level of the shopping areas in downtown Indy is this magical place where you can bang on a variety of percussion instruments. From tambourines to bongos to a full drum set, learn about the history of percussion and let loose in a sound-proof room ($5-$8, rythymdiscoverycenter.org). Indianapolis Zoo: Its aquarium hosts daily dolphin shows and features a huge shark tank where you can pet the sharks ($10.25 to $15.25, indyzoo.com). Indianapolis Motor Speedway: I'll admit: I'm not a racing fan. But the enormity of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was not lost on me. Visitors can pull into the 260,000-seat stadium and gasp at its size and tour the Hall of Fame museum to get a glimpse of Indy cars and other historic cars and the Borg-Warner Trophy, which honors the winner of each Indianapolis 500. ($3-$5, indianapolismotorspeedway.com). Here: The Bord-Warner trophy shows the faces of winners of the Indianapolis 500 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Brian Sirimaturos, McClatchy-Tribune