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Checkered Flag Checklist: IMS Packing List with Kids

THIS IS MAY! The month we’ve all been waiting for has arrived. You’ve picked a day to visit and now you’re making your plan. From one parent to another, there are a few items I'd recommend having with you to make your trip to the speedway successful for all.

You can find a comprehensive look at visiting IMS at



There are a few non-negotiables that you have to have if you’re bringing your kids (especially littles) to IMS. Regardless of if you are attending for a practice or a race, be sure to pack the following:

Protective ear muffs: These are different from your traditional iPad/bluetooth headphones. We have tried those in the past and the car noise was still a little loud for my kids ears after awhile of listening to it.

Sun Protection: IMS is an outdoor venue and a majority of your time there could be unshaded. Be sure to pack non-aerosol sunscreen (aerosol sunscreen is not allowed) for both you and your kids as well as hats and sunglasses for everyone attending.

Food and drinks: The beauty of IMS is that you can (and are encouraged) to bring in your own food and drink. Fill yours and the kids water bottles, and then bring a back up. Pack snacks for everyone going. There is food for purchase at IMS, but lines can get long at prime times so you want to be sure to have some food on hand in case there is a toddler in need of food “RIGHT NOW ;).” No glass bottles/containers are allowed in. If you are attending a race, I’d recommend packing at least 1 meal for everyone attending. You will likely be at the speedway for a longer time period than for a practice day and will need something more substantial than just snacks.

Coolers: You can carry your food and drink in a cooler into IMS as long as it’s smaller than 18” x 14” x 14”. With kids, sometimes a backpack cooler is a good option to ensure you have hands available. I’ve linked my favorite backpack cooler, here.

Stroller or Wagon: Strollers and Wagons are allowed into IMS for every event, except for the Indy 500. Strollers are allowed at the Indy 500, wagons are not. The staff at IMS is very helpful in helping you navigate areas that are stroller friendly once you are inside IMS.


In-field set-up: If you have general admission tickets to the GMR Grand Prix or the Indianapolis 500, you will want to bring chairs, blankets, etc to create a “home base” for your squad.

Grandstand seating: Grandstand seating is bleacher style. If this is a comfortability issue for you, you may want to bring a bleacher cushion/seat with you.

If you have any questions related to prepping for your trip to IMS, reference or send me an email at

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