Best Indianapolis Park? Top 12 Parks In & Near Indy

Best Indianapolis Park? Top 12 Parks In & Near Indy

At Indy with Kids, we love nothing more than a cool community park – especially if it also has a fabulous playground. Over the years, we’ve explored all the city parks and playgrounds Indy and its surrounding suburbs have to offer. The Best Indianapolis Park? There are so many! Some are heavy on playground equipment, some have sprawling green spaces, and some offer a little bit of everything. We’ve narrowed it down to the Top 12 Parks In & Near Indy.

Find Your Favorite Indianapolis Park

Some days, nothing beats whatever park is closest to your home. Other times, you and your crew need something new. Let us help you discover the best Indianapolis park for your family! Here are 12 parks and playgrounds in and near Indianapolis that you have just got to check out. Whether you’re looking to connect with nature or are ready to climb and slide, there is a park that will fit your needs perfectly!

Colts Canal Playspace

701 Canal Walk, Indianapolis

There’s nothing like a walk on the canal in downtown Indianapolis on a glorious sunny day. This is the best Indianapolis park if you’re visiting downtown. Take your crew for a jaunt down the canal walk and plan a stop at the Colts Canal Playspace. You can’t miss it on the east side of the water as you travel on the north/south portion of the path. The elaborate blue (of course) climbing structures rise up from a rubber turf surface alongside the water. There is something here for kids of all ages, though the level of challenge skews a bit toward older kids.

After you’ve climbed everything, cruised down the tube slide and mini slide, and hit the swings, stroll to see all the other sites on the canal walk. White River State Park is located at the far southern end and from there, you can walk all the way to the Indianapolis Zoo.

The Best Indianapolis Park: Colts Canal Playspace with a raised horizontal metal ladder that curves several times. There is a metal slide with blue yellow and red stripes. A Canal is in the background.

Holliday Park

6363 Spring Mill Rd, Indianapolis

Holliday Park is a favorite for many area families. Whether your crew includes babies, little kids, big kids, or adults, you’re sure to find activities to keep you busy all day. Enjoy the garden and let your littles frolic to their hearts’ content at the Ruin’s splash pad while you relax in one of the wooden lounge chairs surrounding the water. Head to the playground for slides, super-tall climbing structures, a giant “spiderweb,” and more. The shaded green spaces surrounding the playground are filled with picnic tables, so you can pack a meal to savor outdoors.

Holliday Park’s nature center is home to Habitat Hall. The White River water table is a big draw here, as is the treehouse overlooking the bird feeders and the crawl-through log. Follow trails behind the nature center or the playground to hike through the forested portions of the property. Plan your route to take you down to the White River, where you can splash and swim on hot days. Visiting this Indianapolis park in the winter? Holliday Park has a seasonal ice skating rink!

The Best Indianapolis Park: Holliday Park. A baby sits on a wet fountain next to a small turtle sculpture. There is one bigger turtle and two baby turtles. A ledge with green leaves is behind the baby.

Broad Ripple Park

1426 Broad Ripple Ave, Indianapolis

River views, the playground, a family center packed with amenities, and more make Broad Ripple Park worth a visit. The playground is traditional and has all the classic features your kids love. You can also take to the trails to circle the park, following the White River part of the way and continuing through a wooded, natural area. Fitness equipment is also stationed along this path. My family loves walking the Monon Trail after a trip to Broad Ripple Park. It winds through woods, over a river, and past BRICS ice cream shop!

On rainy days, head inside the family center and pay a few dollars to play on the indoor playground. On hot summer days, the swimming pool is a popular amenity of Broad Ripple Park. Another is Broad Ripple Park’s dog park, the first in Indianapolis. It features a shelter, water fountains, and an agility course. A Pooch Pass is required to play. These can be purchased at the Broad Ripple Park Office.

Fort Harrison State Park

6000 N Post Rd, Indianapolis

Fort Harrison is an amazing place to lose yourself in nature. You can take short walks or hike for miles through deciduous forests and wildflower meadows. Splash around in Fall Creek or watch for wildlife visiting Duck Pond. An adorable, nature-themed playground is located across from the park’s sledding hill. There are slides, swings, a swinging bridge, and faux rocks to climb, but a favorite feature is a slide built into the hill. There’s something about this fun ride down the rocky hillside that draws kids’ attention immediately. A shelter is located nearby, perfect for a picnic lunch break.

The list of amenities at Fort Harrison is long; there’s a dog park, a stable that offers trail rides, a restaurant, a golf course, and even a museum dedicated to 20th-century warfare. It is an old military fort, after all. You’ll also want to check the park website regularly to learn about all the nature programs and events available. Keep in mind that this is a state park, so you will run into gate fees prior to entry.

The Best Indianapolis Park: Fort Harrison. A toddler boy slides down a slide that is built into a rock hill. It is flanked on each side by several large rocks and boulders.

Best Parks Near Indianapolis

Just a few minutes outside of Indianapolis, you’ll find amazing parks and playgrounds. When you’re ready to explore something different, venture over to a new near-Indianapolis park.

Flat Fork Creek Park

16141 E 101st St, Fishers

Known best for its “treehouses,” Flat Fork Creek is the perfect destination for some nature exploration. Take the loop trail with its views of the open prairie from a raised boardwalk or follow the nature trail around a pond. To discover the treehouses, you’ll have to venture into the woods using the mountain bike path. One of these structures is ADA-accessible, so everyone can enjoy the experience together.

Flat Fork Creek Park’s other defining feature is its 60-foot sledding hill, which happens to be the highest point in Hamilton County. Snowy days bring loads of kids and their families, toting sleds and saucers, to take on the most thrilling sledding hill around. Near the hill and the parking lot, there is also a picnic shelter with restrooms. There’s no playground at this park, but you’ll find plenty of open grassy areas and thrilling bike trails. Pack a soccer ball or frisbee and settle in to enjoy some sunshine!

The Best Indianapolis Park: Flat Fork Creek Park. About 6 children and 5 adults stand on or behind a giant fallen tree on an almost dried out creekbed in the winter. Everybody is dressed in boots hats and gloves. A large wooden pedestrian bridge towers above them in the woods.

Coxhall Gardens

11677 Towne Rd, Carmel

Coxhall Garden’s Children’s Garden in Carmel is the perfect place for little kids with BIG imaginations. The beautiful gardens and activities will keep children and their adults busy for a long time. A village full of adorable building facades inspires creative pretend play. The surrounding play areas include a series of tunnels and hills to scurry around, a slide built into a hill, a sandy faux creek bed, and a brightly colored rainbow pathway kids love to follow.

Are you thinking birthday party? The Children’s Garden at Coxhall Gardens would be an awesome place for a kids’ birthday party! The Children’s Pavilion is conveniently located near the Children’s Garden and is rentable throughout the summer months. The rest of the park is beautiful as well. Stroll around the tranquil pond or cross the bridge to see the terraced Centerpiece amphitheater and fountains. Songs played hourly from the bell towers provide a pretty musical background to your park visit.

The Best Indianapolis Park: Coxhall Gardens. A rainbow walkways winds through the gardens. Each square is a different color with a letter of the alphabet on it. There are red, yellow, green, and orange flowers and trees on either side of the walkway.

Cool Creek Park

2000 E 151st St, Carmel

Creek stomping, a playground, outdoor concerts, soccer fields, hiking, a nature center… Cool Creek Park in Carmel has it all! If you enter from the south, near Wal-Mart, the huge playground is the first thing you’ll see. The equipment has features and activities to fit a variety of ability levels and includes a separate section intended for 2-5-year-olds. Adults can even get a workout in while the kiddos play; fitness equipment is located within the playground itself. A picnic shelter is also centrally located, giving grown-ups a great vantage point for keeping an eye on everyone.

The playground is just the beginning. Cool Creek has a popular nature center you won’t want to miss. Watch the birds at the feeders, meet Chumley the giant tortoise and other animals, and learn loads of nature facts when you explore the displays. When you’re ready to head outside, take the hiking trails down to the creek to splash around. You can also follow the road towards the north end of the park to discover the Nature Playspace. This shady area has its own parking lot and is full of natural elements like logs, branches, and rocks intended to spark kids’ imaginations as they play in nature.

The Best Indianapolis Park: Cool Creek Park. Two little girls sit on a large rock in a creek. There is a wooden pedestrian bridge behind them as well as the rest of the large creek.

Forest Park

701 Cicero Rd, Noblesville

Fans of Forest Park in Noblesville describe it as having “a little bit of everything” – and they do mean everything! Covering 150 acres, the park has a carousel, a mini-golf course, paved bike paths, a playground, an aquatic center, a skate park, volleyball, and more! If you have a whole day to fill, this is the place for you.

If you have smaller children in your group, you’ll appreciate that one of the two playgrounds found within Forest Park is designed specifically for preschoolers. That means a place where the littlest park visitors can play freely with fewer opportunities for their grown-ups to say “no!” A second playground in the park has features to provide challenges for a wider range of ages.

The Best Indianapolis Park: Forest Park. There is a carousel with no one on it. In front is the two row sleigh and the rest are horses. Images of Native American people and landscapes are on the sleigh and the center panels of the carousel.

Southeastway Park

5624 S Carroll Rd, New Palestine

Southeastway Park covers 188 acres of beautiful, natural areas. Visitors love to hike the forested trails and explore the pond, prairies, wetlands, and Buck Creek. If you are navigating with a stroller or wheelchair, you’ll appreciate that about 2 1/2 miles of trails are paved for a gentle journey. This near-Indianapolis park also features not one, but two playgrounds, so your kids can get out all their wiggles before you leave.

Southeastway Park is also known for a couple of popular seasonal events. Late in the winter, the park invites the public to participate in maple syrup events. Guests can learn about sap collection and syrup production and purchase locally-made syrup to take home. Towards the end of August, the park hosts Bug Fest. The community can join the fun and meet all the creepy crawlies you could hope for!

The Best Indianapolis Park: Southeastway Park. Two children are playing on the rocky side of a creek. One is playing in the rocks and the other is squatting down looking intently at something in the small pond. The still creek is surrounded by tall trees and green leaves.

Independence Park

2100 S Morgantown Rd, Greenwood

Independence Park in Greenwood has the goal of letting all children play together, no matter their abilities or age. This accessible playground even has an inclusive basketball court and musical instruments! A cool interactive YALP Sona Arch, funded by A Kid Again, Indianapolis and the NBA All-Star Legacy Grant, lets everyone join in on fun electronic games.

The walking paths here are wheelchair-friendly too. Almost 1 mile of trails are paved, making this park perfect for a walk with a stroller as well. You can also find a StoryWalk with regularly rotating stories to enjoy during your visit.

The Best Indianapolis Park: Independence Park. A school-aged girl sits on a saucer shaped climbing surface at a park. The equipment is hot green and teal with ropes holding the climbing surfaces together.

Mulberry Fields Park

9645 Whitestown Rd, Zionsville

From toddlers to teens, there’s something for the whole family at Mulberry Fields Park. During the summer, bring your littles to play at the splash pad. The best part is the runoff area, away from the main spray ground, which is designed to look like a natural creek bed.

Year-round, the playground is a huge hit. You can also follow a 1-mile walking path circling the park and learn about the native plants growing in the prairie meadow. When it snows, Mulberry Fields has one of the best sledding hills in the Indianapolis area. Got a skater in the family? They can practice their skills at the skate park on-site. You’ll also find basketball courts, soccer fields, and picnic shelters on your visit.

Williams Park

940 S. Locust Lane, Brownsburg

Readers on the west side of Indy know why Williams Park is so special. Blast Off Playground is hugely popular. Kids love exploring the wooden castle structures full of places to climb, hide, and pretend. On hot days, families can be found toward the back of the park beating the heat at the Watermill Splash Pad. This splash pad is the largest in the area and offers wheelchair accessibility and a shower for rinsing off after playtime. A second, smaller playground with a nature-inspired design is located directly next to the Watermill Splash Pad.

There’s more to keep you busy here as well! Walk the Maple Ridge Trail or the Williams Park Loop, visit the pollinator gardens, see the Veteran’s Memorial, or enjoy a picnic in one of the shelters.

The Best Indianapolis Park: Williams Park. A wooden playground is done up like a castle with red spires at the top of each column. The structure is a dark brown wood with some green fencing around.

What an amazing array of public parks we have to enjoy in central Indiana! What is your pick from our Top 12? This list is just the beginning. Everyone has a favorite and with so many local parks and playgrounds, it’s a challenge to narrow them down. Get out and explore all the outdoor spaces your community has to offer and find your family’s personal best Indianapolis park.

For indoor fun at local parks, visit our favorite nature centers.


What do we love as much as a great playground? A great splash pad!


Spend a summer day creek stomping at these favorite Indianapolis spots.


What is your favorite Indianapolis park? Share your comments and photos with us below or tag us on social media using #PLAYindy. Follow Indy with Kids on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest for all of the best ideas and things to do with kids in Indy!

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