Exploring Our City's Parks

Michelle McNally - Indianapolis
March 13, 2012

Few things are better than a sunny Central Indiana spring day. The metro Indianapolis area boasts numerous parks, nature centers, and playgrounds, most of which are free for everyone to enjoy. Break out of your routine and try a park a little out of the way, it might just become a family favorite! 

Holliday Park and Nature Center: For Great Playgrounds That Are Hard to Leave

Located on the northwest side, this Indy Parks facility has something for everyone. Tall trees, wide open spaces, and walking paths are just the beginning. There's also a nature center and education center where children can learn about Indiana wildlife and participate in special programs. It's the three playgrounds, though, that keep families coming back again and again on nice spring days. 

The Holliday Park playground is one of the few in the city that has an daring play structure for older children- high slides, and an challenging spider-web climbing structure invite kids who might think they're too old to play. The other two play areas (all visible from each other) are for younger kids, but equally interesting.

Garfield Park: For Picture Perfect Picnicing

Indianapolis' oldest park is hard to beat in many departments. The art center and conservatory host a variety of programs for the community, there's an amphitheater that hosts concerts in the summer, and  an outdoor aquatic center in the summer months. The playgrounds accomodate kids of all ages. Garfield Park is a great spot for a picnic because there are ample shelters and tables, even a pagoda to make your home base. The park has huge shade trees, and in the summer it feels about ten degrees cooler than the rest of the city. 

Fort Harrison State Park: For the Horse Lovers

Want a little horseback riding with your picnic? Visit Fort Harrison! This state park has all the usual amenities, plus a saddle barn and horseback riding opportunities. Riding and lessons are available, just call the Saddle Barn before you go to find out the details. If you'd rather ride your bike, the biking trails at Fort Harrison include inclines, which is a nice change from the super-flat Monon Trail. Fort Harrison also has playgrounds and picnic tables for cookouts and picnics. 

Broad Ripple Park: For Fitness Buffs

Situated along the White River, Broad Ripple Park has a big playground, huge trees, and picnic tables. The family center hosts a variety of programming and classes, and there's an outdoor swimming pool. An added bonus is the fitness trail, where patrons can follow a path with fitness stops along the half-mile path. Older kids will love the wall climb and other physical challenges. The park is also home to a bark park, where four-legged friends can roam free. 

Cool Creek Park and Nature Center: For Getting Back to Nature

Cool Creek Park and Nature Center offers trails for nature walks that will immerse you in Indiana woodlands. See what you learn about in the nature center up close as you walk through the four miles of wooded trails, and experience both wetland and prairie habitats. The Cool Creek Music Pavillon is a great spot to catch a summer concert, and the nature center offers family friendly educational programs throughout the year. 

 

From the Parents

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