Experience the magic of the holidays
Hop on the NEW! Snowfall Express, the must-ride experience of the holiday season, to discover a forest populated by charming, whimsical characters celebrating the coming winter and the first snowfall. Many favorites are back this year, including visits with Santa, activities in Santa’s Front Yard, the 92 County Tree, Santa’s Holiday Breakfasts, Winter Wonderland Workshops, the Reindeer Barn and more.
Beginning Dec. 8, the Indiana State Museum will be open every day (with the exception of Dec. 25) until Jan. 2, 2022.
Made possible with the generous support of
ALL ABOARD FOR CELEBRATION CROSSING FUN!
We’ve been busy planning some extra special things to do this holiday season during Celebration Crossing! Best of all, they’re included with your admission to the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis. Start planning your celebration today.
OPENING DAY IS FRIDAY, NOV. 26
Celebrate the joy of the holidays starting with Santa’s arrival by helicopter on the museum’s front lawn at 11 a.m.! Join in the cheering as he lights the 92 County Tree and kicks off this season’s Celebration Crossing. Ride the NEW! Snowfall Express train, visit Santa’s Front Yard and Reindeer Barn, and share your wish list with the man in red inside Santa’s house.
Visiting and Family Photos with Santa
Select days through Dec. 24
Share your holiday wish list and visit with Santa inside Santa’s House, and have your photo taken. Click below to view the Santa Schedule and photo package details.Learn more
ALL ABOARD OUR NEW TRAIN!
Head up to the Level Three to hop on the Snowfall Express! Journey through the forest populated by animals celebrating the coming winter and first snowfall. Late autumn and winter scenes come alive with charming, whimsical characters, movement and music. You’ll encounter critters putting on their warm winter clothes, baking cozy meals and enjoying winter sports. Our new, ADA-accessible train will allow everyone in the family to enjoy the nearly five-minute trip together.
HELP CARE FOR SANTA'S TRUSTY FRIENDS
All aboard the Snowfall Express for a trip to the North Pole and holiday fun in Santa’s Front Yard! Don’t miss the Reindeer Barn where you can learn all about Rudolph and his famous friends as they get ready to take flight on Christmas Eve. Your little ones can even groom a stuffed reindeer!
A CALMING EXPERIENCE
Friday mornings: 9 – 10 a.m. on Dec. 3, 10, 17 and *31
During this early opening hour for families with young children, you can visit Santa, engage in two different interactive story times (9:15 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.), and experience our new toddler area and holiday fun in Santa’s Front Yard. This space includes an interactive Reindeer Barn where families can learn more about these amazing wintery animals. In addition to the Front Yard fun, make sure you ride the Snowfall Express! View our Santa Schedule to see which Santa will be attending these events here.
Magical Mornings feature fewer light shows, limited sounds and small crowd sizes to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for the littlest museum visitor and children with autism spectrum disorder. Recommended for children ages 6 and younger.
*Santa will be back at the North Pole and not present on 12/31.
GET INTO THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT
10 to 10:30 a.m., 10:45 to 11:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Dec. 1-5, 8-9 and 15-17
Listen and watch as school and community choirs, bands, ensembles and soloists perform holiday music in the museum’s Great Hall each day. Enjoy the sounds of the season in a spectacular holiday atmosphere.
Don't miss these special events!
We’re here to help you maximize the merry and restore your holiday spirit this season. Hop in your sleigh and head our way to create some new holiday traditions at the Indiana State Museum in downtown Indianapolis. From one-of-a-kind lunch and breakfast buffets to festive workshops and pajama parties, we’ve got you covered.
DINE WITH SANTA IN THE GREAT HALL
9 to 9:45 a.m., Nov. 28, Dec. 4, 5, 12 and 18
$35/adult (ages 13+), $25/youth (ages 3-13), 25% discount for members; free for children younger than age 3
These events are sold out. To be added to our waitlist please call 317.232.1637.
Enjoy a delicious and festive buffet breakfast with Santa amidst the holiday splendor of Celebration Crossing featuring holiday music, decorations and Santa’s helpers in the Great Hall. After breakfast, visit Santa in his house, explore Santa’s Front Yard and Reindeer Barn and take a ride on the NEW! Snowfall Express! Registration required 24 hours prior to each event. View our Santa Schedule to see which Santa will be attending each breakfast here.
JOIN SANTA IN THE L.S. Ayres Tea Room™
8:30 to 9:15 a.m., 9 to 9:45 a.m., 9:30 to 10:15 a.m., Dec. 11 and 19
$40/adult (ages 13+), $30/youth (ages 3-13), 25% discount for members; free for children younger than age 3
These events are sold out. To be added to our waitlist please call 317.232.1637.
Experience the nostalgia of the holidays in the L.S. Ayres Tea Room with a delicious buffet breakfast. Enjoy live holiday music, decorations, a surprise from the toy chest, and Santa’s helpers. Guests will enjoy a touch-free beverage and buffet service. After your holiday breakfast, visit Santa in his house for a photo, explore Santa’s Front Yard and Reindeer Barn and take a ride on the NEW! Snowfall Express train. Registration required 24 hours prior to each event. View our Santa Schedule to see which Santa will be attending each breakfast here.
HANDS-ON HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES
11 a.m. to noon, Dec. 4 and Dec. 9
$14/youth, 25% discount for members; museum admission not included
These events are sold out.
Celebrate winter festivities with this hands-on, STEAM-inspired workshop for your 4 to 6 year-olds! Step into a winter wonderland as kids design and engineer their own inedible cardboard gingerbread homes. Recommended for children ages 4 to 6.
GO BACK IN TIME
3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Dec. 5
$22.50 – $30.50/person
Enjoy a festive dessert buffet including mini pecan ice cream balls, lemon berry mascarpone cake and miniature pastries, plus add a Clown Cone or Snow Princess option, from the L.S. Ayres Tea Room™ as museum staff share items from the collection that are associated with the Tea Room. Relax, enjoy tea (and other beverages), and learn about stories and holiday traditions as you experience (and taste!) the history of the Tea Room. Registration required by 3:30 p.m. Dec. 2. This event is for ages 15+.Register
THE POPULAR MEMBERS-ONLY EVENT IS BACK
5:30 – 8 p.m., Dec. 9
$30/members, $16/youth; free for children younger than age 3
Join Santa and friends at this family-friendly buffet with live music from the Rusty Musket. Visit with Santa, play in Santa’s Front Yard, and enjoy a ride on the NEW! Snowfall Express train to see and hear the sights and sounds of a winter wonderland. The first 100 families to register receive a free keepsake photo with Santa. Space is limited. Registration required by Dec. 6. View our Santa Schedule to see which Santa will be attending this event here.Register
SENSORY FRIENDLY AFTERNOON
3 – 5 p.m., Dec. 12
Included with museum admission, $2/Access Pass members
Experience the magic of the holidays in a sensory friendly environment for families with children and adults with autism, or individuals with other sensory or developmental needs. During this time, Celebration Crossing will be made more welcoming by reducing overhead music, dimming lights, and providing sensory fidget toys throughout the experience. The Autism Society of Indiana will be present to assist families as needed. Before you visit, download our visitor guide here.Purchase admission
The Snowfall Express train is ADA-accessible and has individual cars that hold two to four people. The trip is four and a half minutes long and while you wait, you can build an animal habitat or play with the train table. The experience features moving lights, movement, sound effects including train whistles and bells, smells of pine and chocolate and overhead music. If your child is sensitive to sounds it is recommended you bring headphones.
6 to 8 p.m., Dec. 14
$10/person, $5/Access Pass members, 25% discount for members, free for children younger than age 2
Explore our multi-level holiday experience Celebration Crossing, ride out NEW! Snowfall Express train, visit with Hedgehog Hannah and even get a special photo moment with Santa – all while wearing your PJs during this night filled with wonder. We’ll also have plenty of hands-on activities for the holidays. View our Santa Schedule to see which Santa will be attending this event here.Register
A LUNCH BUFFET AT OUR HISTORIC TEA ROOM
Open Wed. thru Sun. Nov. 26 – Jan. 2, 2022, plus Dec. 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 & 28
Treat friends and family to a nostalgic lunch buffet in the beloved L.S. Ayres Tea Room™! Throughout the holiday season, you can indulge in favorites like chicken velvet soup, tea-time sandwiches, miniature desserts and more. The Tea Room seatings are at 11 and 11:15 a.m., 12:30 and 12:45 p.m., and 2 and 2:15 p.m.Reserve
RING IN THE NEW YEAR
6 to 9 p.m., Dec. 31
$16/person, $8 Access Pass members, 25% discount for members, free for children younger than age 3
Kick off the 2022 festivities with glittering tattoos, music, a dance party, and more. Strike a pose at one of the photo ops, visit activity stations in the galleries, experience a science show, and make sure to ride the NEW! Snowfall Express train. End the night with a balloon drop and confetti celebration at 8 p.m. Be sure to reserve your spot early so you don’t miss out. This is an alcohol-free event.Tickets
Know before you go
- It is recommended that all visitors 2 and older wear masks even when having their photo taken and visiting with Santa.
- All museum staff and Santa are also required to wear masks at all times.
- Families will interact with the photographer from a safe distance and all point of sale staff will be behind plexiglass shields.
- We recommend families socially distance in the queue line and that only one family enter Santa’s House at a time.
- For additional information on how the museum is addressing safe visits during COVID-19, see the COVID-19 Safety section on our website here.
Looking for festive at-home fun?
We’ve got you covered, with our online experience for families looking for some festive fun this holiday season. Check out the Jingle Hangout — your online headquarters for holiday activities, games, trivia and yummy recipes you’re sure to enjoy!Play Today
GIVE THE GIFT OF ADVENTURE
Want to give the gift of membership to your loved ones this year? Give them a gift that lasts all year long and can be used all across the state of Indiana and beyond. Your friends and family will enjoy more experiences than you can wrap!
NEW DEAL! Receive $10 off the purchase of a new gift membership between Nov. 3 and Jan. 2, 2022. Discount available in-person, over the phone or online by using code GIFT2021 at checkout.Purchase
Posted November 16, 2021
Creating the New Snowfall Express Train Ride
One specific goal: create a memorable experience that the entire family could share.
Posted November 9, 2021
Every great ride needs a soundtrack
Our new Snowfall Express train ride has music written and performed by Fort Wayne-based composer/arranger Eric Van Cleave.
Posted November 1, 2021
Ninety-nine percent adorable
When visitors ride the new Snowfall Express train, they’ll get an up-close look at style of Indianapolis artist Candice Hartsough.
Holiday programming across the state
Dec 4, 2021 10:00 am - 5:00 pmCulbertson Mansion
Holiday Open House
Dec 4, 2021 12:00 pm - 9:00 pmWhitewater Canal
Metamora Old Fashioned Christmas Walk
Dec 4, 2021 3:00 pm - 9:00 pmLanier Mansion
Nights Before Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes
Dec 4, 2021 7:00 pm - 8:30 pmCorydon Capitol
Let’s Drink to the Holidays!
Dec 5, 2021 10:00 am - 5:00 pmCulbertson Mansion
Holiday Open House
Dec 5, 2021 12:00 pm - 2:00 pmT.C. Steele
Steele's Country Christmas