Families encouraged to have fun playing at new Sports Legends Experience at Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Run through tackling dummies designed to look like Indianapolis Colts greats at the football area in the new Sports Legends Experience at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. (Courtesy of Children's Museum of Indianapolis)
Youngsters can race parents in pedal cars at the new Sports Legends Experience at Children's Museum of Indianapolis. (Courtesy of Children's Museum of Indianapolis)
Hone your hoops skills in the basketball area at the new Sports Legends Experience at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. (Courtesy of Children's Museum of Indianapolis)
Visitors are encouraged to admire, learn from and create their own art in a gallery featuring works from the National Art Museum of Sports collection. The gallery was built as part of the new Sports Legends Experience area at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. (Courtesy of Children's Museum of Indianapolis)
It looks like a real ice hockey rink, but you play street hockey-style with a ball as the puck at the new Sports Legends Experience at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. (Courtesy of Children's Museum of Indianapolis)
Indiana's love affair with basketball is highlighted in the History of Hoops temporary exhibit in the Sports Legends Experience at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. (Courtesy of Children's Museum of Indianapolis)
The new Sports Legends Experience at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis includes a miniature golf course featuring small holes created by legendary golf court designers Pete and Alice Dye. (Courtesy of Children's Museum of Indianapolis)

At the new Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience, they want everybody in the game.

“The goal is to get the parents and grandparents off the sidelines and off the bench and participating with the kids,” said Leslie Olsen, public relations manager for the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, home of the $38.5-million, 7.5-acre Sports Legends Experience.

The idea for the new area grew out of efforts by Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, Children’s Museum president and CEO, to think of a way the museum could help reduce childhood obesity, Olsen said. The solution: Get kids and adults up and moving and playing.

The area, which opened March 17, includes 12 sports experiences, most of them involving physical activity:

• Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever Basketball Experience: Practice basketball skills on hoops just the right size for adults down through young children.

• Indianapolis Colts Football Experience: Practice moves on offense and defense among tackling dummies resembling Colts legends and try kicking and passing challenges.

• Indy Fuel Hockey Experience: Pass, shoot and score with a ball in street hockey-style play.

• Subway Soccer Experience: Work on soccer fundamentals and try multiple goal-kicking opportunities.

• Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pedal Car Racing Experience and Church Brothers Collision Repair Drag Strip Experience: Race on the oval or drag strip in pedal-powered cars for kids and adults.

• Pete and Alice Dye Golf Experience: Use oversized clubs and small, soft golf balls to play miniature versions of some of the legendary golf course designers’ favorite holes from around the world. The course has 27 holes in all, with 18 the mini version of the Dye’s favorites.

• Wiese Field: Pitch, hit, make fielding plays and run the bases on a miniature baseball field.

• Seymour and Rheta Holt Tennis Center: Adults and children of all ages can try out tennis on courts suited to their size.

• Dr. Cory SerVaas Fitness Path: Boost your health by doing fitness activities and using exercise equipment that improves muscle strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.

• Jane and Steve Marmon Run-Walk Experience: Make use of the track around the Sports Legends Experience, which has one lane for walking and one for jogging.

• The Children’s Museum Guild’s Fantasy Tree House of Sports: Young children can develop curiosity, confidence and persistence as they climb the 60-foot-tall man-made tree to explore spaces filled with fantasy and sports.

• Old National Bank Avenue of Champions: Learn more about 16 Indiana sports legends — including soccer star DaMarcus Beasley from Fort Wayne — and the drills and skills that helped them succeed. Bronze statues of the athletes will be installed and unveiled in July, Olsen said.

Other being memorialized with statues include basketballs stars Larry Bird, Tamika Catchings, Reggie Miller, Oscar Robertson and Bobby “Slick” Leonard; racer A.J. Foyt; hockey legend Wayne Gretsky; track star Wilma Rudolph; former Indianapolis Colts player Reggie Wayne; Hank Aaron and two other members of the Indianapolis Clowns baseball team from the Negro Leagues; and more.

New indoor areas of Sports Legends Experience include an exhibit of paintings, photos, sculptures and other items from the National Art Museum of Sport (NAMOS); the World of Sports area focusing on what made legendary athletes great; and the temporary exhibit “History of Hoops” on basketball and some of the skills needed by star players.

GET GAME

WHAT: The new Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience encourages children and adults to play sports together in this area outside the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Staff members try to get people to rotate to a new sport every 20 minutes.

WHEN: Museum summer hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, with the Sports Legends Experience open until 8 p.m. daily.

WHERE: Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, 3000 N. Meridian St. in Indianapolis

COST: Admission costs are lower the further ahead you buy tickets, ranging from about $13 to $32 per person for adults and ages 2-17. Ages 1 and younger enter free. Regular museum admission includes the Sports Legends Experience. You also can buy a separate ticket for admission from 5 to 8 p.m. daily to only the Sports Legends Experience.

INFORMATION: https://www.childrensmuseum.org

NOTE: The Children’s Museum also will open the new exhibit “DC Superheroes: Discover Your Superpowers” on June 16. The interactive exhibit will be included in regular museum admission invites children and families to join the Justice League and to find and catch villains.

The exhibit will feature Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman costumes from the “Justice League” movies, as well as the one-seater Batmobile that George Clooney drove in one of the films.

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