Eagle Creek Park
Just a few minutes’ drive from the bustle of downtown Indianapolis lies the oasis of Eagle Creek Park, one of the largest urban parks in America.
Primarily set aside as nature reserve for deer, beaver, mink and birdlife, the park also has fabulous backcountry trails and a lake for swimming and boating.
Explore the 10 miles (16 kilometers) of hiking trails through the park. Cast a fishing rod for largemouth bass and catfish in the lake. You’ll find bikes, boats and kayaks for rent at the marina, or bring a book and relax in the sun at the man-made beach.
Sit back and watch the kids go wild on the zip lines of the Go Ape Treetop Adventure course. For a completely different experience, head over to the Peace Learning Center.
Bird lovers won’t want to miss the Ornithology Center. Stroll around the excellent exhibits explaining bird behaviors and ecology, or watch one of the bird of prey shows. The center also has one of the best views in the park, from the bluff overlooking Eagle Creek, which is home to some 260 species of birds throughout the year. Entry to the Ornithology Center is free with park admission.
The Earth Discovery Center, also free with park admission, has a number of exhibits including live reptiles and amphibians, and a good display of information about native wildlife.
When you get peckish, Rick’s Boatyard Café serves a good range of meals, including some seafood options. Or, bring your own picnic and unroll your blanket at one of the 24 picnic sites. The park gets busy on summer weekends, and is particularly beautiful during autumn when the park’s foliage changes color.
Eagle Creek Park is open daily and there is a small entry fee.