I know you’re getting cabin fever and it’s time to let go and be able to let your kids run free at an Indianapolis park. Indianapolis has a robust park system that boasts 214 parks, 11K+ acres, 130 playgrounds, 155 sports fields, 153 miles of trails, 23 recreation, and nature centers, 20 aquatic centers, 23 spray grounds, and 2K+ annual programs. That can be a lot of parks to sift through! Well, I’m here to help you sift through the best park for you.
I look for three things in my recommendations below- a splash pad, a great playground, or beautiful trails and grounds. As a bonus, it’s nice to have a place to take your family dog for a walk, a rec center for optional sports like rock climbing, and programs for the kids.
Carson Park & Robert Cockrum Spray Grounds Splash Pad
Ahoy, mates! Your pirate-loving little one will love the splash pad at Carson Park. You will find a pirate-themed area at the spray grounds and on the main playground! Let their imagination run wild as they take on the high seas while you find shade in the convenient shelter house. Your children that require adaptive play equipment, can swing away and imagine themselves as the captain overlooking their massive ship.
Get the wiggles out at the Christian Park spray ground. This 64-acre park touts a family center, basketball and tennis courts, and a playground conveniently located directly across from the splash pad.
Stout Field Park
Another park over on the southwest side you’ll not want to miss is Stout Field Park. This Indianapolis park has a massive splash ground offering plenty of sprayers and sprinkler fish that your little one can maneuver!
While not a traditional splash pad, Holliday Park offers their take on a spray ground. Water flows freely out of fountains located at the base of the Ruins. Big kids will have a great time stomping and splashing the day away while their younger baby siblings can also join in. Little ones will love sitting next to the turtle sculptures while enjoying the cool water.
This is another unique take on a splash pad with Tarkington Park. Tarkington Park offers a concrete spray ground, laid out in a unique pattern. The water springs upward out of tiny fountains. There are no fancy structures here but you can wheel the little ones up to small bubbling structures so they can splash their hands in the water.
Colts Canal PlaySpace
True to Colts colors- this playground is almost all blue! The playground boasts an almost one-acre playspace with a swirling climbing tower, large net ladders, a giant metal tunnel slide, a giant caged bowl structure at the top, and rubber turf covering the whole space. While your older children spend their time climbing, sliding, and swinging your little ones will be kept just as busy. For the babes and littles, you’ll find a short slide and a small rock climbing tower.
This park is out of this world! This is a climber’s paradise. You’ll find a soft green turf with rock climbing steps, a giant netted sphere at the center, a tree-shaped climbing tower, and a wall of rock climbing. There are also netted swings, a music section with hands-on instrument play, and a swing center with an accessible swing.
Fort Harrison Park
For fans of natural playgrounds, this will be your favorite spot! At this park, you can find a slide built right into a hill and surrounded by large rocks, large rocks for climbers, a swing set equipped with three open swings and one infant swing, three slides on the main playground, monkey bars, a bridge, and plenty of spaces to tuck in and play a game of hide and seek.
Sandorf Park is truly a top Indianapolis park with swings, a spinner, a hands-on musical center, an accessible play tower, and a playground area with walkways with a soft, safe surface. You’ll also find areas to teach shapes and colors, a large netted rope climber, a giant blue tube slide, and a lookout area at the top of the tower. For the little ones, the open slide can be accessed through a step climber on either side.
The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park
Commonly known to locals as “100 Acres”, this park offers living sculptures to play on, a 35-acre lake, woodlands and wetlands, and the largest pollinator meadow in Indianapolis according to Newfields. Enjoy the large space and all of its artwork nestled in the perfect spots as you explore. Newfields also boasts the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Lily House, Elder Greenhouse, Garden Terrace, The Garden, Miller House and Garden, The Museum & Garden Shop, and The Cafe. The Garden itself is 52 acres of year-round gardens.
Holcomb Gardens at Butler University
This Indianapolis park is located at Butler University and is free to the public. In addition to expansive and picturesque grounds, this park includes plenty of seasonal flowers, bike paths, fountains, waterfalls, a lake, a garden house, and a canal alongside the nature trail.
Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens
This 128-acre park offers three distinct areas to self-tour. There’s the conservatory, sunken garden, and Blake’s garden. The sunken garden and Blake’s garden are free while a small fee is required for the conservatory. The conservatory is absolutely beautiful and offers views of an expansive variety of plants. The sunken gardens regularly are booked for special events, such as their summer concert series and weddings due to their massive expanse of colorful flowers blooming seasonally. The fountains in the sunken garden are not to be missed if you’re there from mid-spring to mid-fall.
Whether you’re looking for gorgeous grounds, an epic playground, or an exciting splash pad, I hope you have found a park listed here that will suit your family. I’m happy to lend this knowledge and help you on your way to finding the best Indianapolis park for your family.
As a mother of four children myself, I understand the importance of creating memories with your kids. As an Indianapolis motherhood photographer, I make it a point to create a one-of-a-kind experience for families looking for a little adventure. During my family sessions, I often focus on all the beautiful connections between a mother and her children. If a little exploring and candid portraits pique your interest, I’d love to connect with you HERE.