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Central Indiana attractions offering free admission for MLK Day

Some of the locations offer free access, while others request a monetary donation benefiting Gleaners Food Bank.

INDIANAPOLIS — A number of central Indiana attractions are offering free admission to visitors on Monday, Jan. 17 for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, located at 3000 N. Meridian St. in Indianapolis, will once again celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with free admission.

Celebrations will include performances and activities. There will also be interactive galleries and exhibits celebrating King’s life and Black history.

NOTE: Reservations are full for this free event.

Some of the events include:

  • Griot Drum Ensemble Performances: Enjoy energetic and engaging percussion music as the Griot Drum Ensemble performs authentic traditional West African and Diaspora drumming.
  • Visiting Artist Deonna Craig: Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, explore the importance of equality and togetherness in art with Visiting Artist Deonna Craig.
  • Figures of the Civil Rights Movement: Join storyteller Portia Jackson as she tells tales of courageous children from the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Up Close and Personal: Learn about women changing the world in Barbie™ You Can Be Anything™: The Experience. Join us to get up close and personal with some extremely inspirational female role models!
  • Making WAVES – Social Justice in Action: Use the power of WORDS, ACTION, VOICES and EDUCATION to take a stand for a social justice cause. Recommended for children 8 and older.
  • Ruby Sound and Light Show: Discover how Ruby Bridges faced the unimaginable in a five-minute film that showcases aspects of her story in The Power of Children exhibit area.
  • Stories from Our Community: The Art of Protest: Explore the exhibit that focuses on the August 2020 creation-and subsequent vandalism-of a piece of public art in Indianapolis by 18 local artists in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

RELATED: Children's Museum to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with free admission

Conner Prairie

Conner Prairie, located at 13400 Allisonville Road in Fishers, will offer free admission to its Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration Monday, Jan. 17. 

The Fishers living history museum said the celebration offers something for all ages.

Among the history of the civil rights movement and King's life, there will be a live mural painting and spoken word poet.

Also, new this year, Conner Prairie will be partnering with community organizations to offer a blood drive, COVID-19 vaccinations and flu shots, a food drive, and on-site voter registration.

Click here to get a free ticket to Conner Prairie's MLK Day Celebration.

RELATED: Conner Prairie offering free MLK Jr. Day experience, including blood drive and COVID vaccinations

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Landmark for Peace Memorial

Credit: WTHR

Visit the park in Indianapolis dedicated to King’s legacy. See the historic statue celebrating the contributions of King and Robert F. Kennedy. 

Indianapolis Parks & Recreation will also host a number of other special events for the day. The park is located at 1702 Broadway St. in Indianapolis.


Credit: WTHR

Visitors are welcomed to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Eiteljorg, located at 500 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis.

It will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Jan. 17 with free admission. 

Visitors can immerse themselves in Native American and Western cultures while also enjoying the final day of Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure.

Guest can also explore activities in the new Nina Mason Pulliam Education Center. 

For more information, click here.

Indiana State Museum

Credit: WTHR

Admission is free Jan. 17 at the Indiana State Museum, located at 650 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis. 

Guests will be able to celebrate King’s dream from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a performance by Meraki Dance Company, videos of some of King's most iconic speeches, and activities that reflect on what you can do to ensure the dream lives on for future generations. 

The museum will also have its copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment on display in Legacy Theater. A curator will be on hand from noon-3 p.m. to answer questions.

For more information, click here.  

Indianapolis Zoo

Credit: Indianapolis Zoo/Carla Knapp

The Indianapolis Zoo will offer free admission with a monetary donation to Gleaners Food Bank on Jan. 17.

The zoo will be open from 9 a.m.-4p.m. and is located at 1200 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis. Parking is complimentary.

Weather permitting, the zoo will have the hardier animals out, including Arctic foxes, sea lions, tigers, brown bears, walruses and more. 

The zoo’s indoor exhibits will be open as well: Oceans, Dolphin Dome, Deserts Dome and Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center.  

For more information, click here.

NCAA Hall of Champions

Credit: WTHR/Rich Nye
NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis.

Guest will be able to visit the NCAA Hall of Champions, located at 700 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis, for free on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

It will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m and features a display reflecting on some of the standout moments, thrilling matchups, and memorable games of NCAA football. 

Guests can participate in a scavenger hunt and register for hourly raffle prizes for official NCAA merchandise. 

There will also be photo opportunities with replicas of the 2022 men’s and women’s basketball trophies.

For more information, click here.

Rhythm! Discovery Center

Rhythm! Discovery Center, located at 110 West Washington St. in Indianapolis, offers free admission Jan. 17.

There's a ton of history inside but just as many opportunities to get your hands on some of the instruments.

Get your free tickets for MLK Day at this link.

RELATED: Rhythm! Discovery Center offering free admission for MLK Day

White River State Park

Credit: WTHR/Lauren Kostiuk

White River State Park, located at 801 W. Washington St. in Indianapolis, will offer free admission and parking to visitors in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 17.

White River State Park and Gleaners Food Bank will be collecting monetary donations. Credit card donations of $5 can be made at Dip Jars located throughout the park. In the interest of health and safety, no food items will be collected. 

Click here to donate online.

Indiana Historical Society

The Indian Historical Society is honoring and celebrating King's efforts for his community with free admission on Monday, Jan. 17.

The historical society will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in Indianapolis.

Visitors can participate in arts and crafts projects for the whole family and explore the "Indiana Experience" exhibit.

The theater schedule is as followed on Jan. 17: 

  • 11 a.m. – Children’s Book Reading
  • 1 p.m. – The Making of the Dr. King Holiday: Indiana’s Rep. Katie Hall Leads the Charge
  • 2 p.m. – Musical Performance by Thomas & The Situation
  • 3 p.m. – Community Conversation with GANGGANG

Visitors are also encouraged to bring new packs of socks and underwear suitable for children to be collected and donated to Charity Cares Early Academy. New packs of socks and underwear can be brought to IHS' welcome center.

Click here for more information.


Newfields is celebrating King's legacy Sunday, Jan. 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The museum, located at 4000 N. Michigan Road in Indianapolis, will hold its annual "MLK Day: Speaking LOVE" celebration.

Sunday's festivities include performances by jazz pianist Christopher Pitts, storyteller Natalie Pipkin, and Kenyettá Dance Company. There will also be art-making activities and self-guided gallery tours in the IMA Galleries.

Admission is free, but advanced tickets are required. 

Newfields is also encouraging those in attendance to bring an unopened box of pasta to benefit Second Helpings.

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