By Ryan Trares | Daily Journal

Summer is the time for blockbuster entertainment.

The biggest movies and hottest music tend to come out when the weather gets warm. But at the area’s largest cultural attractions, the same holds true.

Story continues below gallery

Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

Museums, zoos and other institutions unveil fresh exhibits and cool new features in an effort to harness the excitement that comes with this time of year.

See hypercolored birds zooming overhead in downtown Indianapolis. Feel the excitement of designing and testing your own racecar, and become engrossed in the artistry and culture of Native Americans.

There will be no shortage of unique opportunities for culture. The only challenge is figuring out how to fit everything in.

Magnificent Macaws

Where: Indianapolis Zoo, 1200 W. Washington St.

When: Through Sept. 13

What: The newest feature at the Indianapolis Zoo is a flock of rainbow-hued macaws, parrots that are native to Central and South America. More than 50 birds will make up the zoo’s flock, including the blue-throated macaw, scarlet macaw, great green macaw and blue-and-gold macaw.

For the past month, the macaws have been trained to fly from the zoo’s aviary to the aptly named Perch at the new Bicentennial Pavilion. The birds will be flying freely over visitors’ heads, being released at specially designated times throughout the day. It won’t be uncommon to look up and see the darting flock in the skies and trees above you.


Indiana Pacers 50th Anniversary, 1967-2017

Where: Indiana State Museum, 650 W. Washington St.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through June 18

What: Basketball season may be over for the Indiana Pacers. But the team remains the focus of a new exhibit at the Indiana State Museum. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Pacers’ first season, the museum has collected a wide range of memorabilia and artifacts from the past five decades.

Fans can see an American Basketball Association championship trophy from the team’s dominant stretch in the early 1970s, when they won three titles. Check out the jersey of Hall of Famer Mel Daniels, then move on to see one from the team’s current superstar, Paul George. The exhibit will only be on display until June 18, so fans are encouraged to come in before the final buzzer sounds.


Curiosity Fair

Where: Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday

Tickets: Included with museum admission, $17 for adults, $16 for seniors age 65 and over, $12 for children ages 2 to 12, and free to kids under 2.

What: Summer is a time to explore, discover and ask questions. To help young people and their families do that, Conner Prairie has put together its Curiosity Fair, a series of activities, presentations and hands-on demonstrations.

Participants will witness science experiments showcasing colorful chemical reactions and explosive results, learn about inertia, air pressure and gravity using everyday household items and explore space in the Astronomy Zone. Radios, robots and rhythmic gymnastics (among other sports and physical activities) will all be featured during the fair.


Hot Wheels: Race to Win

Where: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis,

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through July 30

What: Car-loving kids big and small just had their fun with the running of the Indianapolis 500. But for those who can’t get enough of speeding automobiles, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has a solution.

Melding the adrenaline rush of fast cars with the science behind them, Hot Wheels: Race to Win asks visitors to use science, technology, engineering and math principles to create high-performance racing machines. Design your car, discover how engines work, test the speed and learn about safety in this interactive playland.


Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival

Where: Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, 500 W. Washington St., Indianapolis

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 24 and 25

Tickets: Included with museum admission, $13 for adults, $11 for seniors; youth 17 and under are free.

What: For one weekend, Indianapolis becomes the epicenter of Native American culture in North America. Artists and performers representing more than 60 tribes from across the U.S. and Canada will be present to show their art, selling everything from jewelry to beadwork to painting and sculpture.

In addition to the visual art, live cultural experiences help make the Indian Market and Festival entirely unique. This year will include musician Arvel Bird performing on fiddle, Native flutes and Irish whistles in what he calls “Celtic Indian,” as well as world champion hoop dancer Tony Duncan. Demonstrations of Native art and cooking will also be featured.


Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.