Next time you’re looking for family-friendly ideas to enjoy time together, consider heading outside to spend time in nature. Fishers, Indiana, and its surrounding areas have lots of opportunities to engage with the environment, hike, learn, and exercise. Here are seven nature-filled experiences in Fishers.
White River State Park
Image via Flickr by adstarkel
Head to Downtown Indianapolis for a mix of natural beauty and city views at White River State Park. This spot is just about 30 minutes away from Fishers, especially if you head there on a weekend and avoid rush hour traffic during the week. Explore the various green spaces throughout the park and see art sculptures created by artists from all over the country and some local artists. Stop by the visitor center to find out about any upcoming events in the park. The Amphitheater at White River State Park hosts concerts for all different musical interests.
Part of the state park, the Indianapolis Zoo is also a great outdoor experience as well as its botanical gardens. This 3.3-acre attraction includes waterfalls, a conservatory, and the DeHaan Tiergarten. In the spring you can enjoy their butterfly display. You can only gain access to the gardens through the zoo, so plan a day out of it and enjoy both. If you’re looking for a nature-filled experience that also involves exercise, take advantage of the White River Trail, which is more than 10 miles long and welcomes cyclists, runners, walkers, in-line skaters, and dogs.
Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve
Just five minutes outside of Fishers, Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve is definitely worth a visit with the family or even alone for a solo workout or some relaxing time to think. This preserve is home to many birds, deer, and other wildlife native to the area. Hop on one of the nine hiking trails that run throughout the preserve to explore, exercise, and enjoy the natural beauty. The trails are all short with minimal elevation gain, so they are perfect for novice hikers and trail runners. Bring lunch along and enjoy a picnic at one of the many designated picnic areas.
Eagle Creek Park
Northwest of Indianapolis, just a 30-minute drive west of Fishers, Eagle Creek Park is the largest park in the greater Indianapolis area. It covers 3,900 acres and is a favorite spot for birdwatchers. Dog owners also frequent Eagle Creek to take advantage of the on-site dog park, which offers annual passes. If you have older kids looking for adventure and excitement, check out the Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park in Eagle Creek. They offer 40 unique obstacles, a 305-foot zipline, and a challenging high ropes course.
Eagle Creek’s Ornithology Center is great for budding birdwatchers and biologists. Visit their website to keep up with events and education opportunities. The Earth Discovery Center, just a short walk away, is another great spot for kids to learn with features like a geothermal pond, an exhibit hall, and classrooms for regular programs and field trips.
Strawtown Koteewi Park
Strawtown Koteewi Park is about 20 minutes north of Fishers and offers more than 800 acres of green space. This park has it all, including a treetop course, horseback riding, hiking trails, archery, and even an archeological area. Koteewi Trace is a replication of a Native American village where visitors can tour the life-sized replicas of the types of homes the native people lived in at one time. The mock dig site offers a chance to get a hands-on experience of archeological techniques.
During the colder seasons, Koteewi Run is open for snow tubing. A canoe launch and fishing areas are available during warmer seasons for a fun time on the White River. There’s so much to experience at Strawtown Koteewi Park, you’ll need to plan several visits to take it all in.
Just 15 minutes south of Fishers, Marott Park is a heavily wooded nature area with 102 acres of land and several unpaved trails. Hike the trails, watch for birds, and enjoy the wildflowers as you explore the area. A branch of the White River runs through this park and breaks off into Williams Creek for plenty of chances to splash around, skip stones, and look for fun little critters like tadpoles, salamanders, and toads. Picnic tables and shelters are spotted throughout the park, and there are several grassy areas perfect for kicking around a soccer ball or running off energy.
The Monon Trail runs through a large portion of Central Indiana with over 27 miles of trail and actually runs along Marott Park. There’s an entrance to the trail in the Sherwood Forest area of Indianapolis, just 18 minutes west of Fishers. This is the ideal trail for distance runners, cyclists, and even cross-country skiers when the weather conditions are right. Parts of the trail are surrounded by nature while others run through urban areas past restaurants and coffee shops. Grab the family’s bikes and head out for a full day on the Monon Trail. Bring food or stop for local eats along the way.
Flat Fork Creek
Just 18 minutes east of Fishers, Flat Fork Creek offers a playground, splash pad, and adventures in nature. Mountain bikers can test their skills on the 1.25-mile trail with ramps and other technical features as in winds through the woods. This is a popular park for locals every time there’s a heavy snowfall thanks to its impressive sledding hill. Flat Fork Creek also has a few great spots for creek stomping. If you’re looking for a spot to fish, there’s a pod in the park, but you’ll need to make sure everyone over 17 years old has a state fishing license.
So, there’s Crème de la Crème of Fishers, IN. list of fun, nature-filled experiences perfect for kids and the whole family in and around Fishers, Indiana. Have you tried any of these spots before? What did you think? If we missed any experiences that you think should have made it on our list, drop us a line and let us know!