Top Indianapolis Area Parks for Families & Kids

by Beth Montgomery on June 3, 2013

in Indiana

Photo Taken at Brook School Park

There are so many parks in the Indianapolis area, but if you’re looking for a great park to spend some time with the kids. Touring the local parks during the summer is a great frugal way to entertain kids. Don’t forget your sunscreen and a picnic lunch. Here is a list of our favorite parks and why we love them in no particular order.

Best Indianapolis Parks

1. Holliday ParkHolliday Park is an Indianapolis City Park that is a great place to spend the day. It has a huge Nature Center that focuses on Marion County and includes observation areas to watch birds and wildlife. Plus, there are trails that go down along the White River, gardens, and a playground with a spider’s web to climb. Don’t forget to check out The Ruins while you’re there.

2. Brook School ParkBrook School Park is close to our home, so we may be a bit bias, but it boasts an awesome three-story playground with some fun tunnel slides. Plus there is a great creek and bridge nearby to play Pooh Sticks or toss rocks. It’s small, but a great place to let kids get out some energy.

3. Garfield Park Conservatory & Sunken GardensGarfield Park is the spot for many FREE activities from movies in the park to summer concerts. There are beautiful sunken gardens with gorgeous fountains, plus multiple playgrounds and trails. Keep watch for Take What You Pull Day where you can get flowers from the garden to plant in your own garden at home. Kids, especially girls, love “picking flowers”. Admission to the conservatory is only $1 per person.

4. Fort Harrison State ParkFort Harrison State Park is another place you can spend an entire day with trails, playgrounds, and $3.50 parent-assisted pony rides ($3 if you pay cash!). There are places to fish, ride bikes, and a beautiful lake to throw rocks or feed ducks. Fort Harrison State Park has a ton of free activities (with paid entrance) like movies at the museum, bird hikes, movies, wildflower hikes, and bike hikes. There’s also the Museum of 20th Century Warfare.

5. Forest ParkTucked inside Forest park is the “Little Beauty” Carousel with $2 rides and Indiana Transportation Museum with themed train rides throughout the year. This park is located in Noblesville and the playgrounds are not anything overly exciting, but my kids love to go for the tiny outdoor carousel.

6. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Arts & Nature ParkThis is not your average park, because instead of playgrounds there is playful art that you can climb on, swing from, and interactively explore. It’s also home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which always has free admission, gardens, trails, wetlands, and a greenhouse.

7. Morse Park & BeachMorse Park and Beach is in northern Hamilton County, but it is another great place to spend the day – in the water! For only $2 per adult and $1.50 per child you can play at the small beach. There’s a small playground on the lake and some beautiful views, but really this is where you go to hit the beach!

GoApe! 7-14-12 (10 of 19)GoApe! at Eagle Creek Park

8. Eagle Creek ParkEagle Creek Park is a huge park surrounding Lilly Lake. It’s another great place to hit the beach for the day for the cost of admission to the park ($5 per vehicle). There’s over 20 miles worth of trails, archery and pistol range, and a place to rent boats and canoes. It’s also home to the Earth Discovery Center and if you’re feeling like swingin in the trees – GoApe!

9. Flowing Well ParkThis park is small with no playground and one short trail, but that’s not why we go there. The park features an Artesian flowing well that you can fill jugs with water to take home. Plus, along the trail is a small creek where kids can play and splash.

10. West ParkWest Park has a unique theme – farming. There’s a silo playground with tunnel slides and it has a great sprayground the streams into a small creek where kids can play. It’s also home to prairie gardens, hills to roll down, and a wetland pond with a boardwalk.

11. Cool Creek Park & Nature CenterCool Creek Park has a great little nature center that focuses on the Indiana Woodlands, plus trails to explore and look for animals and a small pond with waterfall. Honestly though, the reason my kids love it is the fact that it has child-size picnic tables near the playground. It also has great FREE events throughout the year like haunted trails and summer concerts.

Montgomery Family Our family portrait at Coxhall Gardens

12. Coxhall Gardens: Coxhall Gardens garden is another unique place to play. It has a fun village-themed children’s garden with a small slide and village stores for the children to let their imagination run wild. It’s also a beautiful spot for family photos, because of the gorgeous architecture and lake. Plus, there are fun FREE activities such as Family Frog Night and more.

13. Ritchey Woods Nature PreserveRitchey Woods in Fishers has some great FREE activities like night hikes, hosted campfires, and for small fee, fun classes where kids get to touch snails, catch tadpoles, and explore the wetlands.

14. Potter’s Bridge ParkPotter’s Bridge is more about the covered bridge than anything else, but it’s another great place to play Pooh Sticks. There’s also paved trails and a playground, plus canoeing nearby on White River. It’s also home to the Potter’s Bridge Fall Festival in October with music, art, crafts, and a great climbing wall.

Share your favorite Indianapolis Park and why you love it!

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