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Natural Awakenings Indianapolis

Indy Parks, Trails & Museums… Oh My!: Connecting People, Families and the Community

Jun 03, 2018 01:33PM ● By Jenn Willhite

With spring in full swing, it’s prime time to venture outdoors with family and friends to enjoy Indy’s unique parks, trails and museums.

More than 100 parks, large, small and in-between, crisscross the Indianapolis landscape to offer residents a variety of experiences. Further, the best part is that Indy’s natural attractions are intended by design to foster a sense of community through their easy access and proximity to residential areas.

If you’re curious where to start your adventure, here are a few choices to consider:

Garfield Park Conservatory

Hundreds of plants from around the world call the Garfield Park Conservatory home. This 10,000-square-foot facility is also host to special events throughout the year. The Conservatory also offers three acres dedicated to the Park’s Sunken Gardens. Designed by George Kessler in the early 1900s, the Sunken Gardens offer a relaxing getaway filled with beautiful flowers and flowing fountains during spring and summer months.

Cost: $2/person; free for children 2 and under. Location: 2505 Conservatory Dr., Indianapolis. For more information, call 317-327-7183 or visit GarfieldGardensConservatory.org.

Eagle Creek Park

Known as one of the largest city parks in the country, Eagle Creek Park’s nearly 4,000 acres of forests and 1,400 acres of water offer many opportunities for recreation and communing with nature. The park hosts various programs throughout the year from triathlons to frog watches and story times for children.

Cost: $5/car in-county residents; $6/ car for out-of-county residents; $15/bus. Location: 7804 W. 56th St., Indianapolis. For more information, call 317-327-7110 or visit Indy.gov/eGov/City/DPR/ECPark/ Pages/default.aspx.

Holliday Park

Indy’s oldest park, Holliday Park is a great place for exploring nature. Featuring natural springs and wetlands, as well as nearly four miles of hiking trails that meander throughout the forest, Holliday Park also offers hands-on experiential programs and events for visitors of all ages.

Location: 6363 Spring Mill Rd., Indianapolis For more information, call 317-327- 7180 or visit HollidayPark.org.

Fort Harrison

The year-round, 1,700-acre park offers great ways to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. With hiking, jogging and walking trails, as well as fishing access and picnic sites, Fort Harrison is a great escape located just a stone’s throw from downtown.

Indianapolis. For more information, call 317-591-0904 or visit In.gov/Dnr/ParkLake/2982.htm.

Cool Creek Park

For those that like somewhere that offers a little something for everyone, check out Cool Creek. Featuring a plethora of green space, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities and naturescapes at this 90-acre park, including walking and bike trails, a nature center, playground, basketball court and soccer field.

Location: 2000 E. 151st St., Carmel. For more information, call 317-774-2500 or visit HamiltonCounty.In.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Cool-Creek-Park12.

White River State Park

Frequently recognized for its greenspaces and trails, White River State Park covers nearly 300 acres and hosts access to numerous recreational and educational events and attractions in the downtown area, including the Indianapolis Zoo, Victory Field and Wheel Fun Rentals.

Location: 801 W. Washington St., Indianapolis. For more information, call 317-233-2434 or visit WhiteRiverStatePark.org.

Not only are Indy parks a great place for getting back to nature, but they’re also great segues to other outdoor attractions, such as the unique trails and museums that enhance connectivity in the community. Check out these area trails and museums for more summer fun:

Monon and Indianapolis Cultural Trails

Established in 1847 as a rail-trail to connect greenspaces for recreation and commuting, the Monon Trail is one of the most widely used trails in Indy. Since it was completed in its current form in 2003, the nearly 30-miles trail links Westfield to Carmel. On its eastern end near Massachusetts Avenue, the trail intersects with the eight-mile-long Indianapolis Cultural Trail, which was established in 2007. Bike and pedestrianfriendly, the Cultural Trail is accented with artwork—each of which is outfitted with a plaque explaining a little about the artist and inspiration for the piece.

For more information about the Monon Trail, visit VisitIndy.com/Indianapolis-Monon-Rail-Trail. For more information about the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, visit IndyCulturalTrail.org.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

From digging deep in the Earth to discover untold treasures to climbing high at Playscape and venturing to the furthest reaches of our universe and beyond, this summer has much on tap for young curiosity seekers and explorers. Great place for those rare rainy summer days.

Location: 3000 North Meridian St., Indianapolis. For more information, call 317-334-4000 or visit ChildrensMuseum.org.

Indianapolis Museum of Art

The scenic grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and its accompanying Newfields is offering a range of outdoor activities this summer from garden tours and yoga to hands-on gardening classes and family day activities at Newfields. Catch a movie under the stars every weekend from June through August at the Amphitheater. During the summer, 19 moves will be shown as part of the Summer Nights Film Series—everything from black-and-white classics to modern blockbusters.

Location: 4000 Michigan Rd., Indianapolis. For more information, call 317-923-1331 or visit DiscoverNewfields.org.

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