Do you have a family summer bucket list? Summertime in Indianapolis means warmer temperatures, enjoying outdoor activities and outings around town. Plus it's a great time to create that list since school is out! But where do you take the kids? What is available to do in the Indy area that you don't already know about or may not think of doing?
You're in luck because we've compiled a great list of some fun activities to keep your kids entertained and to burn off that much-needed summer energy!
$5/person, Free for children 3 & under & members
Beth Wood: Minnetrista is a museum and nature center that features exhibits and programs for all ages with a focus on nature, history, gardens and art. The forty-acre campus lets guests enjoy a nature area, a portion of the White River Greenway, beautiful gardens, a museum facility, historic home, sculptures and more. Family fun activities include explorer bags, imagination playground, backyard garden, Betty's dollhouse and cabin, workshops and other special events held throughout the year.
Saturdays 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Beth Wood: You'll find over 30 local vendors at the Saxony Market located at 131st & Olio Road in Fishers. Shop for locally-grown fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, baked goods, handcrafted items and much more at the Saxony Market. Live acoustic music, bounce house, corn hole and more family fun are available each weekend at the market. Special themed market days including Balloon Day, Pet Day, Kids Day, Health & Wellness Day, Corn Day and Super Hero Day occur throughout the summer.
Leashed pets are welcome at the Saxony Market. Parking is available in the Bonn Building lot next to the market.
Fishers Farmers Market
Saturdays 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Beth Wood: You'll find over 60 vendors at the Fishers Farmers Market held at the Nickel Plate Amphitheater area in downtown Fishers. Locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers and plants, meats, poultry, eggs, fish, baked goods, prepared foods, honey, wine, syrup and more are available for purchase. Concessions and handcrafted items are also available for sale. Special events include: Biz Kidz Day, Wellness Expo and Fall Harvest Festival. Parking is available at Nickel Plate District lots.
Conner Prairie Interactive History Park & Museum
Beth Wood: Step back in time to the 1800's and experience what life was like back then. Explore and interact throughout the outdoor and indoor exhibits: 1836 Prairietown, 1863 Civil War Journey, 1859 Balloon Voyage, Lenape Indian Camp, Animal Encounters, William Conner House, Treetop Outpost. Craft Corner, Discovery Station and more.
Rascal's Fun Zone
Starting at $6.75/person
Tracy Snyder Molina: This year-round fun park offers two different 18-hole mini golf courses. Dino Bay is themed with waterfalls, lakes, tropical tikis & palm trees while Animal Kingdom features river rapids, lakes and jungle animals. What makes it even more fun is you get to play over the water during several holes! The park also has indoor and outdoor go-karts, mini-bowling lanes, bumper boats, a family arcade, and indoor bumper cars.
Beth Wood: In addition to a big playground that's fun for all ages, Craig Park has three nature-themed play pockets that are especially great for the pre-school set! One area has a bee theme and features honeycomb climbing sections. One area is butterfly themed and has spinning features. The third area is tree themed and has fake trees for children to climb.
Kristy Pepping: Brookside Park offers a large pool along with a great splash pad and a water slide. The park also offers a wooded backdrop for their outdoor sports amenities and a family center. Picnic shelters are available.
Pleasant Run Trail
Tracy Snyder Molina: This stroller-friendly trail starts in Garfield Park which offers hiking opportunities as well as a swimming pool, playgrounds, a conservatory, gardens, a family center and even an amphitheater. The trail also crosses the Kin Hubbard Memorial and Christian Park, one of the most popular and oldest parks in the city. Several amenities can be found at Christian Park, including grills, picnic areas, playgrounds and sports fields. The northern part of the trail starts in Ellenberger Park, which also offers a swimming pool, hiking trails, and special events for families.
Garfield Park Conservatory
Tracy Snyder Molina: Garfield Park Conservatory and Gardens is located within the 136 acre Garfield Park, on Indianapolis' near south side. The 10,000 sq. ft. Conservatory is open year round and houses hundreds of orchids, fruiting trees, and koi ponds. The outdoor Sunken Garden blooms with tulips in the spring and an annual display in the summer. They have a lot of great programs for children, adults, and families.
Garfield Park Farmers Market
Saturdays 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Beth Wood: You'll find over 30 local vendors at the Garfield Park farmers market selling locally grown produce, plants, flowers, meats, baked goods, food items, concessions and more. The market is located next to the tennis courts in Garfield Park. The Little Farmers Kids Club booth is a great place for families to stop by for playtime and activities. After your trip to the market, be sure to explore the Garfield Park grounds including the conservatory, arts center, amphitheater and beautiful gardens. Lots and street parking available. Click Here for a map. *SNAP Fresh Bucks accepted
Cool Creek Park Nature Center
Tracy Snyder Molina: Nature lovers can explore the science of Indiana woodlands and learn about the importance of preserving plants and animals in their natural habitats at the Cool Creek Park Nature Center. Outside, the park offers wonderful opportunities for exploring nature in the creek and surrounding trails. The park and nature center provide a variety of events throughout the year, including programs for children, bird watchers, animal lovers.
Kawachinagano Japanese Garden
Tracy Snyder Molina: This public garden is located just south of Carmel City Hall and inspired by Carmel’s Sister City, Kawachinagano, Osaka, Japan. It features a koi pond, sculptures, garden path, flower gardens and plenty of benches and picnic tables to stop and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Binford Farmers Market
Saturdays 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Beth Wood: The Binford Farmers Market is held at Northview Church's Binford Campus location and hosts over 80 local vendors offering fresh produce, baked goods, meats, cheeses, flowers, perennials, specialty food products and more. Local artists, musicians and small businesses are also showcased at each market. Free kids activities, food trucks and special events are also featured at the Binford Farmers Market. See Facebook page for upcoming weekly details. Parking is available at the Northview Church Lot. *SNAP Accepted
The Waterpark (Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation)
Day pass or membership
Tracy Snyder Molina: The Waterpark at the Monon Community Center features a kiddie pool, lazy river, adventure slides, and more! Plan ahead and check their current occupancy on their website before heading that way!
Rhythm! Discovery Center
Beth Wood: Rhythm Discovery Center is the world’s foremost drum and percussion museum. It was founded by the Percussive Arts Society in 2009. Rhythm features interactive exhibits highlighting a rich collection of historic artifacts and hands-on percussion instruments.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
Beth Wood: Voted one of the top Children's Museums in the nation several years in a row, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is definitely a MUST do. The museum features five floors of exhibits and interactive learning activities in the arts, world cultures, sciences and humanities. They offer over 120,000 artifacts that help kids learn in extraordinary ways.
Indy Eleven - Lucas Oil Stadium
Season: Late March - Early October
Beth Wood: Indy Eleven is Indy's professional soccer team that plays in the North American Soccer League. Home games are played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis from late March to early October. Seating is available in North, South and East sections of the Lower Bowl of Lucas Oil Stadium. Have fun at the high-energy games, cheer along with the Brickyard Battalion fan group, enjoy special halftime events and plan a pre-game visit to the Honda Fun Zone for giveaways, interactive games, activities, live music and more. See website for game schedule & to purchase tickets
Cost: Ticket prices start $15
Old World Gondoliers
Beth Wood: Experience The Canal in downtown Indianapolis on a gondola ride. Much like on the canals of Venice, you can ride down the Canal while being serenaded by your Gondolier as you are transported into the romance of Old Italy. Old World Gondoliers offers both public and private gondola rides starting at 30 minutes. Any beverages that you purchase at the boarding site can be brought on board.
Cost: for 30 mins a private ride is$150 per boat or a public ride is $25 per person
Wheel Fun Rentals at Canal Walk
Beth Wood: Spend a day on The Central Canal in downtown Indianapolis. The 3-mile Canal Walk loop stretches through the heart of downtown. Renters can choose from individual canoes, double canoes or paddle boats. During your excursions, cruise past a small-scale replica of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, explore the shoreline or race alongside a gondola. Safety instructions and life jackets are provided with every rental, so it's safe and fun for all ages. Walk-ins welcome.
Cost: 20 - $35 an hour
Indianapolis Indians - Victory Field
Season: April - August
Beth Wood: My family loves to go to an Indianapolis Indians Minor League Baseball game at Victory Field in downtown Indy each season. Victory Field offers fixed seating, lawn seating, picnic areas, concessions and more. Special events like Super Hero Night, Star Wars Night, $1 Menu Night, Kids Eat Free Sundays occur throughout the season. There is a great kid-friendly activities area with speed pitch, basketball shot and other games. Kids can join the Knot Hole Kids Club for game tickets, t-shirt and more. See website for game schedule & to purchase tickets
Cost: Ticket price start at $10 Youth/$17 Adult
NCAA Hall of Champions
Kristy Pepping: The National Committee of Athletics Association represents college athletes from around the U.S. This museum has two-levels of interactive exhibits to engage visitors and create a true-to-life understanding of what it takes to become a college athlete. The first level has all 24 NCAA sports and include a novice to historian trivial challenge, current team rankings, video highlights, and artifacts donated from colleges around the nation. The second level, is a fully interactive area to compete virtually and hands-on through sports simulators.
Tickets: Adults $5 and Kids $3
Tracy Snyder Molina: Holliday Park is one of Indianapolis' oldest parks, offering 94-acres of green space. More than 3.5 miles of trails wind through the park and along the White River. There are plenty of opportunities for exploring and spotting wildlife including many species of birds as well as deer, fox, beaver, rabbits and squirrels. Other attractions at the park include a playground, nature center and very cool ruins area.
Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium
Dawn R: The Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium has been a part of Indy since 1953. One of the largest public observatories in the world it houses a number of telescopes, including one that just underwent a $425,000 refurbishment. It is now fully functional so we can see our beautiful Indiana night sky. They host public tours frequently.
Cost: adults: $5 & kids: $3, cash only
Kristy Pepping: The Indianapolis Zoo connects kids with animals and plants in their "biomes": Deserts, Encounters, Forests, Oceans and Plains. These areas house 1,400 animals and 31,000 plants in simulated natural habitats.
Tickets: The Indianapolis Zoo has "Pick Your Day, Pick Your Price" options. Tickets cost around $15 for adults and $10 for children. Buy tickets online and save as ticket prices at the gate will be higher.
JCC Farmers Market
Third Sunday of the Month, 10am-2pm
Beth Wood: Plan a visit to the Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center each Sunday for their weekly farmers market, brought to you by Indiana Originals. You'll find fresh fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, coffee, honey, baked goods, flowers and handcrafted items all grown or made by local vendors. Special events such as yoga, caricature artists, children's activities and more are offered at the market. See Facebook page for weekly happenings. The year-round JCC Market is held outdoors from May - September and then moved indoors October - April. JCC Lot is available for parking.
Tracy Snyder Molina: On the grounds of the Newfields (formerly the Indianapolis Museum of Art) sits 52 acres of gardens, fountains, art & nature park, and greenhouse. They offer great tours.
Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab - Marian University
Tracy Snyder Molina: The EcoLab is located on the Marian University campus. Staff and volunteers lead activities for the general public such as weekly bird walks, natural and cultural history programs, and activities to get involved in an on-going historical and ecological restoration project. Also a popular site for bird and beaver-watching as well as walking trails that features vibrant blooms particularly in late summer. Dogs on a leash are allowed, but no bikes or swimming in the ponds.
Friday - Sunday: 7:30 pm - close
Beth Wood: Tibbs is the last standing drive-in in Indianapolis and is located on the southwest side of Indianapolis. 4 different screens show 2 movies every weekend. All sound is transmitted via the FM radio in your vehicle (a portable radio is suggested if you plan on sitting outside of your vehicle). Tibbs recommends arriving at least up to an hour prior to showtime to ensure the best possible parking. Tibbs also suggests bringing cash to help the lines move quickly! Full concession stand on-site!
Admission: adults (13+): $11, kids (4-12): $6, & kids under 4 are free
Tracy Snyder Molina: This modern public park features a Children's Garden, which includes village stores, echo walls, peek-a-boo hills, a sun dial and Tiki huts. The park periodically offers tours of the Coxhall Mansion, concerts at the Coxhall Gardens Centerpiece, as well as other programs and events.
Beth Wood: West Park was reimagined with a brand new playground and splash pad in 2022, and the centerpiece is an enormous tube slide accessed from a climbing tower.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
Kristy Pepping: Although the Indy Car series does not start until May, if you are staying local for a spring break staycation, you can head to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. This is a fun way to spend the afternoon especially for your car loving kids!
The Museum is located five miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis on the grounds of the speedway and is recognized as one of the most highly visible museums in the world devoted to automobiles and auto racing.
Tickets: Adults $10, Kids (6-15) $5 and Kids Under 5 are Free
Tracy Snyder Molina: This fun splash pad has a pirate and ocean theme. Cute water features are a combination of in-ground and above ground sprayers. Shaded seating near the spray park is available.
Cass County Carousel - Logansport
Memorial Day - Labor Day
Beth Wood: Plan a trip to Logansport and ride the Cass County 43 Animal Dentzel Carousel. A National Historic Landmark, this indoor carousel is over 100 years old and was hand-carved by German artist, Gustav A Dentzel. The carousel features moving and stationary animals decorated in vibrant colors. Guests can also enjoy a ride on a miniature train featuring an engine, coal car and two passenger cars located outside of the carousel building. Both the carousel and train are located at Riverside Park which features a playground, picnic area, miniature golf and more.
Gill Family Aquatic Center (Town of Danville)
Dawn Denning: Gill Family Aquatic Center features include zero depth entry, play feature, lazy river, hydrotherapy, vortex, 2 over 120ft water slides, and a splash pad.
Primary photo: Aaron Burden on Unsplash
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