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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Keeping the holidays jolly & safe at the Children's Museum

Guests looking to keep their holiday traditions going at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis will see some changes, but plenty of familiar holiday cheer.

INDIANAPOLIS — Visiting the The Children's Museum of Indianapolis over the holiday season is a time-honored tradition for many central Indiana families.

But what about this year, amid the pandemic?

Like other museums and cultural attractions in Marion County, The Children's Museum is allowed to remain open, but at 25-percent capacity (which is why tickets must be reserved online.)  

Monica Humphrey, the museum's director of exhibits, said that allows for 2,000 visitors spread out across the museum throughout the day.

Humphrey said they are ready to ring in the holidays with some changes in place to ensure a safe visit through their popular "Jolly Days Winter Wonderland."

Credit: WTHR
Stuffed animals from The Children's Museum's Steiff collection pose on the Yule Slide.

If you've been to the museum lately, you'll notice that Xs mark the spot for social distancing, with yellow arrows to keep everyone moving along the safest path.

"We have safety on the brain, but we also want to make sure we're creating family memories," Humphrey said.

Most family favorites are back, from the sock skating pond and the ice castle to all Jolly Days characters, including Santa himself, who arrives the day after Thanksgiving. This year, kids cannot sit on his lap, but they can talk to Santa from several feet away, get a picture and drop their wish list in his mailbox.

RELATED: A very COVID Christmas: Santa visits get creative

The Yule Slide is also back, though this year, the only ones allowed on it are an assortment of scarf-clad stuffed animals from the museum's Steiff collection. However, kids and adults alike can still pose at the bottom of the slide for a special photo op or two.

Attractions put on hold this season include faux ice-fishing, pretend holiday baking and reindeer group, but there are some new exhibits, including a new Christmas tree light display and an interactive Menorah.

Credit: WTHR
The Children's Museum staff is staying on top of cleaning the facility during the day.

Visitors won't go far without seeing the safety measures in place, from mandatory masks and social distancing to temporarily closing galleries for cleaning and providing hand sanitizer stations throughout the building.

"We've really set up the entire museum experience and especially Jolly Days to make sure everyone has the tools they need to have a great time," Humphrey said. "So every corner you turn, you have options to keep you and your family safe."

Which is likely at the top of everyone's wish list.