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Free MLK Day activities around central Indiana

Museums and attractions around central Indiana will offer free admission and special programming on Jan. 16.

INDIANAPOLIS — Attractions around central Indiana will spend Jan. 16 celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with free admission or events.

Here is a list of activities to do with the family at no cost.

Children's Museum of Indianapolis

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis will offer free admission to all. Advance tickets are required. Reserve online here.

The museum will offer a number of special programs to honor King's legacy. There will be performances from the Griot Drum Ensemble, storytelling about courageous children in the Civil Rights Movement, and a visit from artist Ashley Nora.

City of Fishers

The City of Fishers will offer residents opportunities to give back to celebrate the day. There will be a community-wide food drive with donations collected at local parks and Kroger stores from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Click here to see collection locations and items needed.

Additionally, the city is encouraging residents to volunteer, as Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a national day of service. See available volunteer opportunities here.

Conner Prairie

The outdoor grounds at Conner Prairie are closed for the season, but visitors can get free entry to the museum's indoor experiences Jan. 16.

The museum, typically closed on Mondays, will celebrate the day by highlighting identity, belonging, community and love. For additional details on the day's programming, click here.

Tickets will only be available at the desk on Jan. 16.

Hamilton East Public Library

The library is teaming up with HSE Schools and the City of Fishers to host an event celebrating Dr. King on Jan. 15 from 1-2 p.m. The event, called "Living the Dream," will be in the library's meeting room and include HSE Schools students and staff, community members and city leaders.

IMS Museum

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is offering free admission in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday. The museum's hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and tickets can be reserved on the museum's website using the promo code MLK23

This is the last week for the museum's exhibition "Sleek: The Art of the Helmet," which features the work of nine local artists who designed and created racing helmets. The exhibition also features historic and current driver helmets.

Indiana Historical Society

The Indiana Historical Society is offering free admission so visitors can experience storytelling, service activities and music. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Reserve tickets here.

Indiana University

IU will host several MLK Day events for students, staff and community members. The 2023 Social Justice Conference will begin Sunday, Jan. 15 with a virtual discussion with former CNN political commentator and author Symone D. Sanders. The conference continues Jan. 16 with various sessions — both in person on the Bloomington campus and livestreamed — from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Register for sessions here.

Madam Walker Legacy Center

The Madam Walker Legacy Center will host the 41st Annual Day of Celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with social justice leader Tamika D. Mallory. The event will be in the historic Madam Walker Theatre. Tickets are free, but registration is required. Reserve a spot online here.

Our 41st Annual MLK Day of Celebration is an event you do not want to miss! Reserve your FREE tickets today and witness...

Posted by Madam Walker Legacy Center on Thursday, January 5, 2023


Admission to Newfields will be free on Sunday, Jan. 15, but advanced tickets are required

Here's the schedule: 

  • 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. | Self-Guided Gallery Tour | IMA Galleries  
  • 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. | Art Making: The Power of Word | Studios 3 & 4 
  • 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. | Music by Brandon Douthitt Duo | Pulliam Family Great Hall 
  • Noon - 12:30 p.m. | Storytime with Black Worldschoolers | Suite of Textile and Fashion Arts 
  • 1 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. | Kenyettá Dance Company Performance | The Toby 
  • 1:30 p.m. - 2 p.m. | Spoken Word by Pernell | The Clowes Pavilion 
  • 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. | Pianist Joshua Thompson | Pulliam Great Hall 
  • 3 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. | Kenyettá Dance Company Performance | The Toby 
  • 3:30 p.m. - 4 p.m. | Spoken Word by Manon Voice | The Clowes Pavilion 

Purdue University

The Morgan State University Choir will perform a special concert at Purdue University on Tuesday, Jan. 17. The Purdue Varsity Glee club and the Black Voices of Inspiration will make a special appearance. Register for the concert here. The event is open to the public.

Purdue will also host a day of service on Jan. 16, coordinated by Boilers in Action. The day will focus on food, justice and mutual aid. Registration for service is required by Monday, Jan. 9.

White River State Park

Attractions around White River State Park will have free admission and complimentary garage parking for the day. Most of the park's major attractions will have free admission:

  • Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
  • Indianapolis Zoo
  • Indiana State Museum, including the IMAX Theater inside
  • NCAA Hall of Champions

Free parking will be available in the underground garage located off Washington Street in front of the Indiana State Museum, in the surface parking lots at the Indianapolis Zoo and Victory Field, and in the surface parking lot next to the park's Visitor’s Center. Parking will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

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