INDIANAPOLIS — There’s a big push this year to get parents to bring their children to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the month of May.
IMS says they hope to have families show up for all events taking place at the track this month, including the qualifying and practices for both the Grand Prix and the Indy 500.
Katy Mann knows a thing or two about kids – She’s got four children, ages 7, 8, 10 and 12.
And her other “baby” is a successful blog and website called IndyWithKids.com, which she both founded and runs. The blog offers advice for parents on things to do and places to go in the Indianapolis area.
One of those places? The racetrack in Speedway, of course.
"There's just so much going on here, that you don't just stay in your seat," Mann says. "It's a lot about moving around and seeing all sides of the track."
Mann’s blog offers tips for a trip to the track with kids during the month of May, including things to keep them engaged and safe.
Her biggest tip: Be strategic with what you pack.
Making sure you pack specific items can help keep your kids occupied and also be educational to their trip.
Before your trip to IMS, Mann says she encourages her kids to pick a favorite driver to root for.
"Make sure you have those things like a stopwatch," Mann advises. "So they can pick a driver to time every lap. They can really get their math skills engaged."
Also, bring a notepad and pen, so kids can keep track of their driver’s car, how many pit stops it makes or how many crashes happen during the race.
Mann suggests renting a scanner as well, so you can listen to the race car drivers’ chatter while at the track.
Other things she suggests you bring are card games, small activities and snacks.
There’s often plenty of downtime at the track, so having these things handy can help with delays.
And bringing those snacks won’t just save you money, but also time.
"The lines can be incredibly long, and kids don't want to wait in those," Mann says.
As for safety, Mann urges parents to bring ear protection, headphones that cover the ears for younger children and ear plugs for older kids.
Other things you’ll want to make sure you have:
- Sunblock & Sunglasses
- Walking shoes & hats
- Plenty of water
Mann says parents should check in at the "Question & Answer" booths at the entrance gates. They offer a wristband for your kids that has contact information written on it, in case they get separated from you.
Mann also believes the IMS KidsZone at the Track is a must.
There, you’ll find games and activities, dancing, giveaways, and a chance for kids to make new friends, especially as your family makes new memories.
"This something ultimately they can do with their children," Mann says. "I know that's how it is for my husband. He came with his dad. And now, we're passing it on to the next generation and bringing our kids with us."
Kids ages 15 and under get in free during the month of May.
On race days, a parent must have a general admission ticket for their children to attend for free.
To sit in the stands, each member of the family must have a "seated ticket."