Every parent wants to help their children be active and engaged in their community. One of the best ways to help kids develop a love of nature, the arts, and their community is to take them on outings around town. These experiences help them build social skills, develop motor skills, and interact with a wide range of people.

Carmel, Indiana, has amazing parks, attractions, and museums designed for kids and adults alike to learn, play, and explore the world. Each spot is grounded in local history and community outreach, and they’re great for families with kids of all ages. Here are seven of the best attractions that Carmel has to offer.

The Center for the Performing Arts

A live children's performance at the Carmel, IN. Center for Performing Arts.

Image via Flickr by mikegoren

The Center for the Performing Arts, located at 1 Carter Green, is all about getting you and your kids actively engaged in music and performance! The monthly Peanut Butter and Jam sessions allow children ages 1-7 years old to interact with the arts. These sessions may include live performances like storytelling, puppets, dance, and music. The Center also offers classes and camps for kids and adults, like Jungle Jams, a summer camp program that uses rhythm and music to teach kids about building self-esteem and community. You can also try a stand-up comedy class or dance discovery class.

Register for a class or purchase tickets for a show by calling the box office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12-4 p.m. at 317-843-3800 or emailing Tickets@TheCenterPresents.org.

Carmel Arts Council

The Carmel Arts Council (CAC) focuses on making art accessible and rewarding for people of all ages. They oversee the World’s Smallest Children’s Art Gallery, offer activities with professional artists, and host events throughout the year. The World’s Smallest Children’s Art Gallery is verified by the Guinness Book of World Records and shows art from Hamilton County students.

The Carmel Arts Council also holds events like the Art in the Garden program, which allows artists to showcase their work and interact with families to teach kids how to create art. Visit 40 W. Main St. or the CAC website for hours and event details.

Cool Creek Park

Cool Creek Park is a sprawling 90-acre park at 2000 E. 151st St. They have trails for hiking, rollerblading, and birdwatching as well as soccer fields, basketball courts, and playgrounds. Stop by the Nature Center Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Sunday from 1-5 p.m. to learn about the woodlands and nature preservation. You can also bring your kids to the Nature Play Area to inspire their imagination and encourage their love for the outdoors.

Make sure to keep an eye on Cool Creek Park’s calendar as well — they frequently host events like family fishing classes and bird hikes! The park is open from dawn to dusk, and you can rent pavilions or the auditorium for gatherings and special events.

Manon Depot Museum

The Carmel Clay Historical Society (CCHS) operates the Manon Depot Museum, the perfect place the help your little ones build an appreciation for local history and connect with their home. This museum is housed in the historic Monon Railroad Depot at 211 First St. SW and is free to attend. The CCHS also hosts a speaker series, a self-guided tour of Carmel, and on-demand tours of Old Town.

The museum is open on Fridays from 5-7 p.m and Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. The Old Town guided tour is $20, and you can schedule a tour by contacting the CCHS office at info@carmelclayhistory.org or 317-846-7117.

The Museum of Miniature Houses

Your kids will love the exhibits at the Museum of Miniature Houses, which displays history, art, and toys in tiny figures. Their permanent collections include cultural exhibits about Japan, fairy tales, fashion, and historical architecture. Some of their special collections have included paper dragons, the smallest miniatures, and duck decoys. The museum also hosts events where artists can display their work or craft a piece of art right there in person. Additionally, you can go to workshops that teach you how to build your own miniatures.

Your family can tour the Museum of Miniature Houses at 111 E. Main St. on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m and Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

Coxhall Gardens

The Coxhall Gardens is a beautiful 125-acre park and event space centered around two bell towers and the Coxhall Mansion at 11677 Towne Road. You can relax around the lake or explore the expansive Children’s Garden, a colorful, imaginative space with a rainbow path, faux village storefronts, dirt tunnels, slides, and a butterfly maze.

Coxhall Gardens hosts events throughout the year, such as gardening workshops on how different plants are used and concerts for all ages. The gardens are open from dawn to dusk, and you can also rent out the facilities for special events.

Conner Prairie

Conner Prairie at 13400 Allisonville Road in nearby Fishers, Indiana, is an outdoor museum with attractions, parks, and experiences that help you and your children connect with Hamilton County history, life on the frontier, music, and animals. You and your kids can interact with Lenape Indian culture, explore a four-story treehouse, play in the indoor Discovery Station, and learn how to care for barn animals. Conner Prairie hosts Playtime on the Prairie as well, which is specifically tailored to children under 5 years old. Each Playtime event is themed, and they even provide a snack!

Conner Prairie also offers hot air balloon rides, dedicated hours for sensory sensitive kids, and so much more! You can visit Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday nights are dedicated to families from 5:30-8 p.m. Be sure to check their website for seasonal admission prices.

Carmel, Indiana, prides itself on having plenty of fun, educational activities for young children and their parents to experience, and at Crème de la Crème of Carmel, IN., we know how important it is to give kids these kinds of opportunities. Each of these attractions offers unique events and spaces for children of all ages to engage with history, nature, and art. Did we miss one of your favorite Carmel attractions? If so, let us know, and we’ll be sure to add it to our list!