Just about every part of Indianapolis has a near-by park where you can enjoy walking, jogging, cycling or simply sitting on a bench and watching the world go by. Several of the parks offer exceptional sporting facilities including golf courses, soccer and football fields and facilities for many other popular sports. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.Eagle Creek Park
3.Fort Harrison State Park
7.University Park and Indiana World War Memorial Plaza
13.White River State Park
12 Best Indianapolis (Indiana) Parks
- Brookside Park, Photo: pushish images/stock.adobe.com
- Eagle Creek Park, Photo: Eric/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Harrison State Park, Photo: cambraytees/stock.adobe.com
- Garfield Park, Photo: Henryk Sadura/stock.adobe.com
- Highland Park, Photo: GCapture/stock.adobe.com
- Holliday Park, Photo: imagindiana/stock.adobe.com
- University Park and Indiana World War Memorial Plaza, Photo: f11photo/stock.adobe.com
- Military Park, Photo: bouybin/stock.adobe.com
- Riverside Park, Photo: Morakot/stock.adobe.com
- Sahm Park, Photo: olezzo/stock.adobe.com
- Southeastway Park, Photo: PIXERATTI/stock.adobe.com
- Southwestway Park, Photo: lazyllama/stock.adobe.com
- White River State Park, Photo: Timelapse Travels/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: f11photo/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Indiana Historical Society
Located in Indianapolis, the Indiana Historical Society is home to an extensive historical experience that will make visitors enthusiastic about history. The Indiana Historical Society experience is free to society members, as well as children five and under.
The state of Indiana celebrated their 14th anniversary of being a state on December 11, 1830. This also happened to be the day that the Indiana Historical Society was founded. A group of movers and shakers decided that Indiana’s history should be collected and preserved for generations to come. So, one year after the society was founded, they were given a charter by the Indiana General Assembly. Although the beginning years of the Indiana Historical Society were rough (they only had 12 meetings from 1830 to 1886), the society began to line its ducks in a row in 1886. Jacob Platt Dunn became the Indiana Historical Society’s directory in 1886 and led a group of trusted associates to recreate and reorganize the fundamentals of the Indiana Historical Society.
Dunn led the Indiana Historical Society to great success. Some of their successes included admitting the first woman editor, Eliza Browning, in 1906, as well as maintain an office at the Indiana capitol building until 1914. Around the early 1950s, the Indiana Historical Society began to see booming success when they began to publish historical Indiana works. Some of the highlighted works from this time period include a multivolume set of Indiana’s history which was published in 1966, as well as The Old Northwest, which won a Pulitzer Prize.
Today, the Indiana Historical Society Collections and William H. Smith Memorial Library are renowned as one of the nation’s largest institutions that has an in-depth amount of knowledge and artifacts about Indiana and the Old Northwest. Some of their collection include; over 50,000 digital images, 3,300 artifacts, 3,500 sheet music pieces, and over a whopping amount of 1.7 million photographs.
The Indiana Historical Society has an extensive amount of historical artifacts that demonstrate everything one would want and need to know about Indiana and the Old Northwest. One of the best things about the Indiana Historical Society Collections is that most of the digital archives can be accessed on the society’s online database. So, if you’re not located in Indiana, you don’t have to worry about traveling far to explore and experience some of the society’s highlighted attractions.
Printed Collections and Artifacts is located within the William H. Smith Memorial Library and include a wide range of literature pieces that cover a variety of subjects and time periods. Some of the highlights of this collection features literary pieces about early American exploration, Civil War, and the history and significance of the railroad.
Manuscript and Visual Collections are featured in the William H. Smith Memorial Library and include everything from public business records to personal letters and diaries. Thus, visitors are given the chance to immerse themselves into what life was really like in Indiana and the Old Northwest.
Digital Image Collections showcases special historical photographs that have been recovered and revived by the Indiana Historical Society’s specialized Preservation Imaging Lab.
The Indiana Historical Society provides various educational opportunities for the overall community. The Indiana Historical Society educational opportunities range from programs that can be taught in the classroom to on-site programs. One of the on-site programs include a specialized school tour, where students and teachers have the option of including one of a variety of add-ons to their tour. One of the highlighted add-ons include a special story time that is led after the tour. A member of the Indiana Historical Society will recall and influential and significant story of Indiana’s history and relay it to the students and teachers.
Another fantastic educational opportunity at the Indiana Historical Society is the Indiana Experience. The Indiana Experience fully immerses visitors into the life of people who lived in Indiana and the Old Northwest throughout the ages. The Indiana Experience includes a five exhibit interactive experience.
The first exhibit is You Are There, which explores historic photographs that were created in three-dimensional print. So, it appears as if you really are standing among Indiana’s historical features. The next exhibit is Destination Indiana, which showcases how technology has changed throughout the ages. Other experiences in this educational program include; Cole Porter Room, W. Brooks and Wanda Y. Fortune History Lab, and Lilly Hall.
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450 W Ohio St, Indianapolis, IN 46202, Phone: 317-232-1882
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Attraction Spotlight: The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis aims to create and foster extraordinary learning experiences to transform the lives of children and families. The museum houses more than 120,000 artifacts that visitors of all ages can enjoy and use to learn about the sciences, the arts, and the humanities in fun and exciting new ways.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is a non-profit institution that was founded in December 1925 by local socialite Mary Stewart Carey. Currently, the museum is a 472,900-square-foot facility housed on more than 29 acres of beautiful and spacious land – making it the largest children’s museum in the world! The museum was also only the fourth of its kind in the United States to be dedicated to the interests of young visitors.
Attractions & Exhibits:
There are more than 120,000 objects in the museum’s collection, making it the largest youth-orientated museum in the world. Some iconic objects housed at the museum include Bumblebee from Transformers, a working carousel, a log cabin, a mastodon, and even a real mummy!
Bumblebee: Weighing in at one ton and encroaching on the ceiling at 17 feet tall, Bumblebee from Transformers loves to greet visitors at the museum. He arrived at the museum in 2011 and there is even a specially designed costume so Bumblebee can come to life and truly amaze visitors of all ages.
The Carousel: This antique working carousel is on display underneath a simulated bed of glowing stars. It was originally installed in the amusement park known as White City in 1917. The animals on the carousel are finely carved and hand painted, making it a favorite ride for generations.
Edward Black Drum: During the Civil War, combat soldiers were required to be at least 18 to enlist, however, many young men could lie their way into the service at a younger age. Edward Black was 8 years old, making him the youngest solider in the civil war. He was a drummer boy who led soldiers into battle and was taken prisoner during the Battle of Baton Rouge. His drum is now on display at the museum.
Lilly Playhouse: The father of a young Evelyn Lilly built his daughter the kind of dollhouse that every little girl dreams of. It was equipped with child-size furniture, a bookcase, a porch with rocking chairs, and even working overhead lighting! Today, the dollhouse is housed at the museum and visitors can walk inside and wish they had the same dollhouse at home!
Log Cabin: A 130-year-old log cabin that used to reside in the forested landscape of Indiana is on display at the museum. Visitors can go inside and travel to a different time, when people used to live in log cabins.
Mastodon & Polar Bear: In the prehistoric era, mastodons used to roam many parts of North America; today, one of the skeletons is on display at the museum. The majestic polar bear is not as extinct as its mastodon friend, however, they are now an endangered species. Visitors can stand in the shadow of this glorious 1,200-pound bear, reaching more than 9 feet tall.
The Mummy Wenuhotep: A 445-pound box arrived at the museum in 1959 containing the carved and painted wooden sarcophagus of Wenuhotep, the daughter of an Egyptian priest from 685 B.C.
The Reuben Wells: A strong and handy locomotive from 1868 named for its designer, Reuben Wells, helped to push trains up and down a steep hill in Madison, Indiana.
Norman Rockwell’s Scout Memories: A painting originally painted for the Boy Scouts of America in 1931, Norma Rockwell’s painting – Scout Memories – is on display at the Children’s Museum.
Toy Trains: Gifted to the museum by Noble Biddinger, the elaborate 2,000-piece collection of toy locomotives, freight and passenger cars, and accessories are on display in the museum basement.
Water Clock: When the clock strikes 1:00, the 30-foot water clock in the Sunburst Atrium draws quite a crowd. Designed by French physicist Bernard Gitton, the clock has 29 small globes which empty out in one large whoosh, leaving the globes to gradually refill over the next 12 hours.
There are many other attractions and exhibits on display at the museum, including Dinosphere, a paleo prep lab where children can watch paleontologists clean bones and Fireworks of Glass, where visitors can see Dale Chihuly’s contemporary glassworks. There is also Leonardo: The Mummified Dinosaur, Playscape, ScienceWorks, National Geographic’s Treasures of the Earth, The Power of Children, and Take Me There: China. There is plenty to see and do for visitors of all ages and interests.
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The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, 3000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208, Phone: 317-334-4000
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