Indianapolis Museum of Art: Play Mini Golf at the IMA

Never did I think we’d drive 295 miles round trip to play mini golf. But this was no ordinary mini golf. It was Mini Golf at the IMA, the second year for this summer event at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. And we timed our visit right, since it was also the opening day of the summer beer garden.

Indianapolis Museum of Art mini golf

Playing Mini Golf at the IMA

Step out the door of the Indianapolis Museum of Art onto the second floor Alliance Sculpture Court, and the atmosphere changes from museum quiet to lively and energetic. Rock music kicks up the mood as you choose your ball and golf club and get in line to tee off at Hole 1.

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This year’s theme is “nature,” so each of the artists took inspiration from the natural world. A different local or regional artist created each of the holes, including one created by a team of art students from nearby Noblesville High School’s Sculpture II class. We had fun reading about the sculptures on the placards as we waited our turn for each hole. Here are a few of the sculptures/holes:

Mini Golf at the IMA - Water Play
“Water PLAY” mimics an Indiana wetland. Created by artist Veronica Vela and her husband, Jason Wolfe, VP of Demerly Architects.
Mini Golf at the IMA - Cardinal 200
“Cardinal 200” is a mix of Indiana’s state bird, an Indy Car, and a crown made out of corn. Created by artist William Denton Ray.
Mini Golf at the IMA - Poplar Mechanics
“Poplar Mechanics” abstractly recreates the experience of walking through Brown County, Indiana, forests. Created by artist Gautam Rao.
Mini Golf at the IMA - Jungle PARadise
“Jungle PARadise” takes you on a whimsical jungle journey. Created by artist William Denton Ray.
MiniGolf at the IMA - Stroll Garden
“Stroll Gardens” draws inspiration from Japanese gardens. Created by sculptor Kevin Bielicki.

Stroll to the Beer Garden

Following our miniature golf game (my husband beat me, as usual), we walked over to the beer garden. The Indianapolis Museum of Art is located on the 152-acre Oldfields estate, once home to the Landon family and then the Lilly family. The property includes much more than the museum itself, including the Lilly mansion, which is open for tours.

Lilly mansion

With beautifully manicured gardens and wooded pathways, nature is a big part of the museum. In fact, in 2016, the IMA changed their mission to incorporate the property’s natural elements.

To enrich the lives of others through exceptional experiences of art and nature.” — Indianapolis Museum of Art mission

IMA - Path to mansionFormal garden - Indianapolis Museum of ArtBeer Garden

The family-friendly beer garden is located near the estate gardens and adjacent to the greenhouses. Place your order at the counter and the staff brings it to you. Among other beverages, the beer garden offers locally brewed beer and root beer. Food offerings are a giant pretzel, Angus beef frank, and a charcuterie board. My husband and I ordered a giant soft pretzel, which was large enough to share. Although we chose to sit in the shaded garden, guests are welcome to carry their beverages with them through the grounds.

Indianapolis Museum of Art beer garden

More to Do at IMA

We spent six hours at the museum. playing mini golf, browsing museum exhibits, touring the mansion, visiting the beer garden, and exploring the grounds around the mansion, including the formal gardens.

We didn’t get to the 100 acres that makes up the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. The art and nature park is one of the largest museum art parks in the country. We’ll save that for another visit.

If you visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art

The Indianapolis Museum of Art, located at 4000 Michigan Road in Indianapolis, Indiana, is open Tuesday through Sunday (closed Monday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day). Check the website for hours and admission.

Miniature golf, open through September 3, 2017, is included with admission (free to members). On museum free days, the cost is $8 for  non-members. Check the website for hours and further details.

The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park is open daily, dawn to dusk, and admission is free.


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Mini Golf at the IMA


Disclosures: The Indianapolis Museum of Art hosted our visit to the museum. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own.
This article contains an affiliate link. If you book a hotel room through the “Check rates here” link above, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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2 thoughts on “Indianapolis Museum of Art: Play Mini Golf at the IMA

  • July 11, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    That is a really cool mini golf course! I’d like to try it. Then I’d enjoy some refreshments at the beer garden. A pretzel does sound good!

    • July 12, 2017 at 10:37 am

      I was pleasantly surprised with all that the Indianapolis Museum of Art offers. The gardens and grounds are gorgeous, too.


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