If you’re getting tired of your old Indy summer stomping grounds, check out some of our ideas. They’re all family-friendly and close to water so you can beat the heat—and your boredom—at the same time.
Eagle Creek Park
We can’t get enough of Eagle Creek in the summertime! We’ve got one of largest city parks in the country right in our backyard, so we keep coming back for more. Our family likes paddle boarding and sailing, but there are plenty of trails and roads for running and biking too.
This park is also great for exploring local wildlife. It’s easy to spot turtles and frogs in the pond and wetland areas, and visiting the Ornithology Center gives kids a fun way to learn more about Indiana’s birds. Fun Fact—Out of the 400 bird species in our state, this park is home to over 260, so there’s plenty to cover in these exhibits.
Monon Community Center
The Waterpark is another favorite. It’s easy to spend hours here on a hot day. The slides and wave pool are always a hit, but our kids are bigger fans of the climbing wall.
We definitely suggest riding your bike to this park if you’re close to the Monon Trail or can easily drive to one of its access points. That way, you’ll be able to get in some extra exercise before enjoying the lazy river or lounging in one of the cabanas.
Butler University Campus
Butler’s campus has a lovely botanical garden and nature preserve, but we like the Central Canal Towpath best. This running and bike path follows the water canal for over 5 miles and is an awesome way to explore more of the city.
The path is shaded and connects Butler’s campus to Broad Ripple, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and Downtown. It also uses two 19th-century iron bridges for crossing over the waterway, which make for neat places to stop and look for blue heron and ducks.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art
FLOW: Can You See the River? is a public art project that the Indianapolis Museum of Art and twenty other Indy organizations commissioned for our city. It follows a six-mile section of the White River and shows how day-to-day activities impact our local water system.
Over 100 site markers have been placed throughout the grounds of the IMA for this exhibit. At each of these markers, there’s a mirror and a guide-by-cell phone number that you can call to hear more about the water elements. It’s a fun, and unique tour to do with friends and family visiting from out-of-state.
Lake Lemon is maybe the top summer getaway spot for our family. Just 10 miles north of Bloomington, it’s close enough for a day trip and has shores for swimming, and plenty of space for boating. (No rentals, though, so bring your own boat!)
Lake Lemon also has its own eco group to help protect the area. They’re been caring for the area for twenty years and even launched a shore line stabilization program in 2010. We’re so happy we get to enjoy these water reservoirs and public parks. If you’re up for some water adventure before the summer ends, we hope you check out these local hotspots!