Wondering what it’s like to go to a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but not sure what your family can expect?
All the time we come across folks who say they’ve never gone to the Speedway because they just weren’t sure about the kids. Of course, I slap in the face and say “What are you talking about?” Just kidding.
We get it, race tracks are usually plagued with guys with exposed beer bellies, half-naked models, and a fair share of intoxicated locals. At least that’s used to be the case, because things have actually changed, and unlike most things in today’s society, they’ve actually changed in a positive manner.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is — in many ways — at the forefront of the racing business. The venue has changed drastically since we moved to Indy five years ago, and so has the approach to new fans. And yes, that includes little fans, too.
We make it a point to attend races and other racing related events with our daughters. Of course, it helps that they sorta like racing, but even when they’re not digging sitting in the sun watching cars go by, there are plenty of other things to do at the track.
For example, we were recently at the 2017 INDYCAR Grand Prix, where the field of Indycars races on the infield race track originally built for Formula One and MotoGP racers. We made sure to pack our cooler (IMS is one of the few remaining large racing venues to allow folks to bring their own coolers), brought some lawn chairs, and found a good spot in the infield. Kids are free for each paying adult, and with tickets ranging around $20 bucks for general admission, it’s good, cheap fun.
Once at the track the girls are able to visit the IMS Kid’s Zone, which features inflatable bouncy houses, live music, obstacle courses, face painting, and even a small race track where kiddos can ride Strider balance bikes. Once the race started, we went back to our chairs and watched the race from one of the many jumbotrons located around the venue.
The days leading up to the Indy 500 (two weekends after the GP) bring many changes to the grounds, including an even larger kid’s zone, the installation of a huge fan village full of vendor booths, car displays, and activities for the whole family. This year even Hasbro’s Nerf decided to launch their new line of Nerf Nitro blasters. Just when we thought things couldn’t get more fun for the kiddos, Nerf brought freaking brought brand new toys for them to play with. Seriously!
If you think that going to the track means tiring walks under the blazing sun, then you’re wrong. Wait, no, you’re right. While things are quite fun once you get there, you still have to walk from your car to the action.
Plenty of workers and even police and security make sure that things are always under control, and the hardcore party goers typically keep themselves to their own little section of the track, known as the “Snake Pit.”
So before you opt to go to the baseball game rather than the race track because you think it’s the family-friendly or “American” thing to do, remember that baseball games are long and boring. And racing is, well, the complete opposite.
Once you make it to the ticket office tell them that Jerry and Missi from Life is Poppin’ sent ya. They won’t know who we are and you’ll have to pay full price for a ticket, but maybe they’ll get curious, look up our website, and help us generate a few dollars in revenue.