2009 Expansion

In 2009 The Children’s Museum completed the second phase of its master campus plan, the first phase of which had debuted five years earlier with the conversion of the Cinedome to Dinosphere and the construction of a parking garage, elevated walkway, and interior walkways, as well as expanded dining facilities.

The Welcome Center, featuring the brachiosaurs Seymour and Riad peeking in, was a focal point of the 2009 expansion.

The nearly $20.1-million project, called the Welcome Center and Intermodal Transit Facility, was made possible, in part, by a substantial grant from the Federal Transit Administration (plus matching funds), and it was designed to enhance safety and access for all visitors. Representatives Dan Burton and the late Julia Carson helped provide the federal earmark that made the expansion a reality. The new facility, which was officially dedicated on June 22, 2009, included:

  • A new 39,000-square-foot Welcome Center with a new ticket desk and members-only counter, a self-service locker room, stroller and wheelchair rental services, and family restrooms.
  • An extended covered Skywalk connecting the parking garage to the Welcome Center, allowing visitors to come into the building protected from the elements.
  • An off-street passenger drop-off area in front of the museum that ensures safe entry accessibility for all visitors.
  • A newly expanded and renovated educational services wing for school groups, dedicated to the late Children’s Museum director Mildred S. Compton.
  • An enlarged and relocated infoZone, the nation’s only full-service public library located within a museum. A branch of the Indianapolis Public Library, infoZone was moved to a spot adjacent to the museum’s new Skywalk entrance, allowing visitors access during times when the museum is not open, but the library is. An activity room inside infoZone allows it to host special events and neighborhood programs.
  • Two life-size Brachiosaur sculptures—the 50-foot-tall, 75-foot-long adult named Seymour who appears to be pushing up the roof of the Welcome Center with his head, allowing the 30-foot-long juvenile named Riad to peek inside.
  • Anne Frank Peace Park, a small oasis outside the museum’s front entrance. The Park is home to a horse chestnut sapling descended from the tree that once stood outside the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The sapling, one of 11 planted at sites throughout the United States, was distributed to The Children’s Museum by the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and The Anne Frank Center USA in New York because of the museum’s commitment to education and tolerance.
  • A sculpture garden—part of Anne Frank Peace Park—featuring seven of the world’s wonders created from limestone: the Colosseum, Chichen Itza, the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, the Great Wall of China, the Parthenon, and the Taj Mahal.
  • The Allen W. Clowes Rain Garden, which captures runoff from the museum’s roof, filtering and cleaning it before it enters the groundwater system.