Dinosaurs Roaring, Carousel Spinning as World's Largest Children's Museum Re-opens to the Public

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Even the dinosaurs are wearing masks and the carousel animals are social distancing at the world's largest children's museum, which has added more actor/interpreter shows and Wild Weather (a fabulous weather exhibit). The Children's Museum of Indianapolis opened by allowing 40% capacity to help with social distancing. They are also requiring all guests 2+ to wear face masks and to purchase tickets online ahead of time.

The dinosaurs, the mascot and Bumblebee are all wearing face masks to promote a healthy visit and safety at the world's largest children's museum.

Dino-mite mask

We are firmly committed to doing everything within our power to make it safe for children, families, our staff and volunteers to return to the world’s largest children’s museum,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

We missed you, the dinosaurs missed you, the animals on the Carousel missed you and we can’t wait to welcome you back for a smart restart of the world’s biggest and best children’s museum. When the time is right for your family, we want you to know that The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is excited to welcome the public back on July 11, 2020 with limited capacity. It is important to point out that capacity remains limited. Every visitor—including members and donors—needs to reserve an advance ticket.

“Safety is our top priority and that is why we instituted limited capacity and allocated additional resources to deep clean and sanitize the entire museum from top to bottom during our temporary closure. We will continue to deep clean daily for the foreseeable future. We have worked hard to re-engineer our exhibits and interactives, provide new ways to engage our visitors with our interpretive staff, and new ways to social distance and limit person-to-person contact while still creating an engaging and fun family learning experience,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

The Children’s Museum prides itself on highly interactive experiences. At the same time, it is extremely important to re-imagine high-touch, experiential learning environments. As a result, the museum will place an even higher emphasis on having actor interpreters bring stories to life with hourly shows and verbal engagement to encourage visitors to participate in new ways.    

Because the museum cares about its visitors, it developed a task force and advisory committee (consisting of doctors and scientists) to address best practices and conducted surveys to ask families to identify what is most important to help them feel comfortable to return.


  •     Updated cleaning protocols based on CDC’s recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting facilities and public spaces as well as industry-recommended practices for collections care.
  •     Increased the frequency of cleaning of high-touch areas such as payment stations, touch screens, bathrooms, door and sink handles, water fountains and railings.
  •     Conducting a full deep clean every evening and has created a schedule in which each exhibit area will receive thorough cleanings at intervals throughout the day.
  •     The ventilation system was thoroughly cleaned and the museum increased the circulation of outdoor air into the museum by opening windows and doors, using fans, and other methods.
  •     There are now more than 100 hand sanitizing and wet wipe stations located throughout the museum’s campus.


  •     Face masks are required in compliance with the Indiana State Health Department and the Marion County Health Department.
  •     The only exceptions will be made for children younger than 2 years old and those with medical challenges.


  •     The museum asks that all staff, volunteers and visitors who don’t feel well, to please stay home.
  •     The museum will take temperatures daily of each employee and volunteer.


  •     The number of visitors entering The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience® will be restricted to 3,000 people to ensure it is assisting with social distancing in a safe and strategic way.
  •     There is signage to assist people in staying 6-feet apart from other family groups.


  •     All visitors need to make a reservation ahead of time to receive a dated ticket for each member of their group or family.
  •     Visitors will receive an email with their confirmation and dated electronic ticket.

The museum enhanced its procedures and re-engineered services and experiences to support family’s ability to plan a safe return to the museum. Some spaces such as the Playscape gallery and the Children’s Museum Guild’s Fantasy Tree of Sports outside in Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends will remain closed temporarily out of an abundance of caution. Please note, some of these precautions are TEMPORARY and will be lifted once it is safe to do so.

The Children’s Museum is working closely with our food services partner, Levy Restaurants, to develop best practices and protocols. The museum is addressing guidelines from the Health Department including: staff retraining on new safety policies and procedures developed by OSHA, the CDC, and local health department. The ongoing training includes sanitation procedures, social distancing standards, sanitizing, food packaging, and food delivery and storage.

Here are a few interesting facts:

  •     The museum used 5,280 sq. ft. of material acrylic and sentra building plexi barriers, creating queue spaces, and blocking areas off.
  •     The museum used 480 sq. ft. of marine board material to create over 250 holders for hand sanitizer and wipes. This was in response to limited availability of holders as well as a need to accommodate certain supplies and product.
  •     The museum's using 55 gallons of disinfectant every week inside and another 55 gallons of disinfectant every two weeks disinfecting turf and other outdoor surfaces.
  •     It takes at least 15 loads of laundry a day to keep rags and mops clean.
  •     The museum is utilizing 20 to 25 additional team members a day to keep up with the hourly cleanings, laundry, product refills and stocking.

It is the same museum families love with new ways to help keep them safe.

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Kim Harms
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