A New Approach to Health and Fitness Can Change Lives at Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

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The world's largest children's museum is getting bigger with the addition of a new health and fitness experience called The Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

Mascots and community partners break ground

Staying active and participating in sports are important lifetime goals, and through this experience, we will be helping families stay healthy and achieve those goals together.

Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck helped The Children's Museum of Indianapolis break the news earlier. Now, it's time to break ground for the Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience at The Children's Museum.
Sports mascots and cheerleaders burst through a banner on to the parking lot just before a giant excavator crunched into the concrete. The groundbreaking makes way for an experience that will be sure to physically transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and families from across the country in a healthy way.

“The rates of childhood and adult inactivity and obesity are alarming. We want to provide access to outdoor and indoor experiences through the lenses of sports legends that are healthy, educational, and fun,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “Staying active and participating in sports are important lifetime goals, and through this experience, we will be helping families stay healthy and achieve those goals together.”

Being active is not always about competition. It’s also about participation and The Children’s Museum, along with Riley Children’s Health, is focusing on the physical, mental and social rewards of being in motion – not on skill levels, scores or statistics.

“Riley Children’s Health provides the highest level of pediatric care to children who may or may not ever step foot inside the hospital walls,” said Matt Cook, president of Riley Children’s Health. “Physical activity is a crucial component to the wellbeing of all Hoosier families. It is our hope that through this interactive experience, families will see the impact physical activity can have on health and wellbeing and make it a practice in their daily lives.”

Key components will include an Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever Basketball Experience in which children and families will be encouraged to shoot baskets on nine mini-courts featuring graduated hoops for toddlers to adults. The Indianapolis Colts Football Experience will present pass and kick challenges along with the chance to weave between full-size soft Colts wobbling athletes that don’t fall down.

USTA Family Tennis Experience will utilize special equipment and shorter courts designed especially for children, at which families will learn the basics of tennis. Wiese Field donated by Elizabeth Bracken Wiese and J. Frederic Wiese Jr. will give visitors the change to play baseball on a smaller scale.

Young kids and adults will kick around the ball in the Soccer Experience or slap around a puck in the Indy Fuel Hockey Experience.

The Pete and Alice Dye-designed Golf Experience presented by Henry and Christine Camferdam will feature the Dye family’s first ever mini-golf experience, which will replicate some of Pete’s most famous course and hole designs from around the world. Families will use specially designed SNAG (Start New At Golf) equipment. A separate Toddler Golf Experience will give little ones the opportunity to enjoy the sport with oversized balls, clubs, and holes.

Those with a need for speed can use leg muscles to power slotted pedal cars around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pedal Car Racetrack Experience or go straight in a Pedal Car Drag Racing Experience. Families can also get fit together on a half-mile jogging/running track called the Jane and Steve Marmon Running Experience that features a durable, shock-absorbent rubber composite surface. Or, try out exercise stations on the Family Fitness Path that follows the perimeter of the entire Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience.

There will be a Sports Legends Pavilion and Plaza presented by the Efroymson Family Fund. It could include changing exhibits such as the history of hoops, science and nutrition, and legends of sports. Old National Bank Sports Legends Avenue of Champions will wind throughout the outdoor athletic facility featuring sculptures of sports legends with which visitors will be encouraged to pose for photo memories.

“The rich tradition of Hoosier sports and enduring memories of our Indiana legends bind together generations of families,” said Mark Bradford, Old National Bank’s Indianapolis Region CEO. “This is why Old National is so incredibly proud and honored to be the title sponsor of the Sports Legends Avenue of Champions.”

The Children’s Museum Guild’s Fantasy Tree House of Sports Climbing Experience will stand 60-feet tall and will be a wonderful Instagram or Facebook moment to capture as kids climb high and among giant pieces of sports equipment while learning more about various sports legends.

The economic impact of the Sports Legends Experience on Central Indiana is expected to be more than $130 million over five years according to Dr. Mark S. Rosentraub, Bruce and Joan Bickner Endowed Professor of Sport Management, University of Michigan.

“As a city, we must nurture the health and wellness of Indianapolis children in order to ensure the long-term well-being of our city. The future Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience will do exactly that -- allowing Indianapolis children to explore, become physically engaged, and encourage families to enjoy new ways of being active together,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “I am excited to celebrate with the many community partners who are making this exhibit possible and have no doubt the Sports Legends Experience will be yet another iconic and immersive exhibit for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.”

“I am delighted to join The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis as it launches this exciting new chapter,” said Congressman André Carson. “The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis understands the benefits of early, hands-on learning experiences, and provides a place for families to share quality time. This expansion will enable the Museum to help children and parents be more active and continue learning together for many years to come.”

About The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is a nonprofit institution committed to creating extraordinary learning experiences across the arts, sciences, and humanities that have the power to transform the lives of children and families. For more information about The Children's Museum, visit http://www.childrensmuseum.org, follow us on Twitter @TCMIndy, Facebook.com/childrensmuseum and YouTube.com/IndyTCM.

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Kimberly Harms
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
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