|Hours:||Mon.–Sun., 10 a.m.–5 p.m.|
|Location:||3000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208-4716|
|Cost:||Adult (Ages 18–59): $19.50 Youth (ages 2–17): $14.50 Senior (60+): $18.50 Youth under 2: Free|
We were lucky to visit the Take Me There: China exhibit at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis this week and boy were we impressed! There was SO much to see and do there that an hour went by before we knew it! Find out how families lived in China, take care of baby pandas, practice calligraphy or dress up like a Chinese opera star. Kids of all ages will love this exhibit. I know we can’t wait to go back!
When you first walk into the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis you feel the presence of China. There are red paper lanterns everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE in the main entry and the open area near the cafeteria and water clock. Take Me There: China is in the location that Take Me There: Egypt was from 2009 until 2013. It was a wonderful exhibit and we are sorry to see it go but China is the perfect country to come to the museum.
Take a ride on the plane and learn about your destination including how to say Hello in Mandarin-Chinese, which is “Ní hăo” (pronounced Nee How) before heading in to explore and learn about China’s rich culture and beautiful country. I highly recommend sitting through the little video (if your kids will let you). It has a lot of information about China including what you will find in the exhibit. Once you disembark the plane you have many options in front of you.
There is no really clear path so in order to see everything you should go the right towards the “houses”. There are 3 different homes set up to get a glimpse of how children and their families live in China. Each home is that of a family member of one 11-year old boy named Jackie. From his great grandmother’s traditional rural home to his grandparents’ newer suburban home to his parents’ modern urban apartment you will see how life has changed within the generations of his family.
There are statues from the Chinese Zodiac in one home, honoring each of the Animals. My kids are BOTH the Rooster…seriously? I had them THAT close together. The Rooster is closely associated with the enjoyment of all the arts, music, literature and has a strong love of social activity, and somewhat fearless in presenting a point of view. Um….yes to both my kids on these points. My sign is the Ox which apparently means I make an excellent leader but am also stubborn by nature which I cannot actually argue with…my husband enjoyed that last part too much.
Try to figure out how to properly use chopsticks before you head over to the Calligraphy hut (or building). I think I have been using them wrong all these years but I can copy Chinese characters in Calligraphy fairly decently. My kids loved this part but they thought it was painting. My Diva pretty much just wanted to spell her name but my little Gentleman was able to copy a few of the examples there. Afterwards we played in a little store for a bit before they saw the Panda exhibit. That pretty much ended our exploring elsewhere.
For the environment part of the exhibit the Children’s Museum recreated the nursery from the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Station. They have stuffed Panda babies that you feed, give check ups to, use the incubators with and put to bed. Check out x-rays, learn how baby pandas play, what they eat and even hear some of the noises they make. My kids both went nuts when they saw this. My son LOVES animals of all kinds and learning about them and taking care of them.
The Diva likes animals but loves taking care of things so she wrapped up that baby panda and started giving it a bottle right away. The Gentleman had two and was measuring one, weighed him and then put him to bed before giving a check up to the other one. We spent a lot of time here and I imagine we will be visiting this area the most.
Once I got them out of the Panda area we checked out the Calligraphy on the ground which was also a hit. I mean who doesn’t have fun using a giant paint brush to write and draw on the floor! Sure it is just water but they just liked drawing on the floor I think. Next to that area was the Tea Room where my Diva had her favorite time. Tea Parties are a HUGE hit with her so she poured us some tea before moving to check out the Shadow Puppet area.
Here is a gallery of some of the fun we had at Take Me There: China.
The Chinese Opera room was nearby which was pretty neat. The costumes for the Chinese Opera was amazing! Costumes were available for the kids (or adults) to dress up in. A doll display showed some characters in some of the operas and there were life size mannequins with some of the costumes on them including make up. You could even watch a show on the TVs.
Instruments to play, a pretend ride and a restaurant and medicine shop to play in are more of the fun things to see and do in Take Me There: China. We had so much fun that I imagine this will be our new favorite place in the museum. In fact now that it is open to the public we are going back this week. Check out the exhibit as often as you can and while you are there you will want to see the Terra Cotta Warriors in their ONLY US appearance this year!