Updated for 2013 ~IndyCar Mom has provided us with a fantastic calendar to tell us when all of the important stuff is happening in May! Check it out here.~
Hi to Katy’s readers! I am Jill and I blog as IndyCar Mom. We love the Indianapolis 500 here at our house. My husband has been a fan all his life and now we have two young children, Nathan, who is 7, and Faith, who is 3.
I am writing here on the Indianapolis With Kids website to encourage you all to go to the Indy 500 and give you some tips for taking your kids. If you are a long-time fan, I encourage you to skip on over to my website for how to take your kids to the race if you are a lifelong diehard fan! HaHa! It is different! But for this post, I am going to focus on how to go to the Indy 500 as a family experience. This is an event that is world-renowned, and if you live here, you have to go once!
So I know you are wondering what it would cost to go to the race. If you are just going as a family, and want to wander around and enjoy the race, you can buy General Admission tickets for $30 per person over age 12, and kids 12 and under are FREE!!! This does not buy you a seat, but the Speedway has these things called “viewing mounds”, which are essentially big hills of grass that provide views of the track. These are in turn 2 and turn 3, and they are open to the general admission ticket holders. You can get there early and stake out your space, or just walk around to each one during the race. You will be able to go into the Plaza area to buy food during the race, so make it a fun day to SEE all the “wonders” that are the experience of the Indy 500. There are still actual seats available. I did a search this morning and the cheapest seats were $40 each, in the South Terrace. These are on the inside of the track on the south side. These ARE slightly better than the viewing mounds, but you can’t get free tickets for the kids under 12. If you are going to get seats for your family, I suggest the front straightaway where you can see all the important action like the Start/Finish line, the Flag Stand, the Pits and all the Pre-Race celebration! Tickets are available for $70 and up for the straightaway.
Parking is always an issue if you are not a regular and know the drill. The BEST thing you can do is park on the side of the track that is your main artery to get home. So, if you live south of the track, don’t park in the Coke lot, which is north of the track. There are literally TONS of people who open up their front yards to people to park on race day. Don’t be afraid to do that. Just drive in from the direction you want to exit, try and get within ¼ mile from the track, and then start looking for the signs! Just don’t give in to someone who is a mile away! You don’t need to walk that far!
The race begins at Noon on Sunday, May 26th. But there is a lot to see before noon. There are a number of high school bands that perform starting at 8:00am. That is the beginning of the festivities. They start putting the cars out on Pit Lane at 9:30. At 11:00 begins the Pre-Race show and Driver Introductions. Many iconic things happen during this time: the singing of “Back Home in Indiana”, “God Bless America”, there is a military tribute to our fallen heroes, the National Anthem is sung and Mary Hulman George gives the call to “Start your Engines”! So don’t be fooled by the start time of the race. You won’t get the full experience if you don’t get there by 10:00!
The Indianapolis 500 is one of those MUST SEE events of your lifetime! I hope you will go and also give that experience to your kids as well. I love to get families involved in IndyCar, and you can read more on my blog at www.indycarmom.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter at @indycarmom.
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My name is Katy Mann, and I'm the creator of Indianapolis with Kids. With over 10 years of experience working with children, and my excitement towards the great city of Indianapolis; I offer readers guidance about great events and activities to do around Indianapolis with their kids and grandchildren. Join us on our family travels and adventures across the country!