Eagle Creek is one of Indianapolis’ biggest and most beautiful parks. It spans over 5,000 acres of land and water and is a must for nature enthusiasts and families, as there’s truly something for everyone. We’ve attended Eagle Creek on a number of occasions – to visit the swimming beach, kayak, hike, or to simply enjoy a picnic – but this was the first time that I’d ever visited the park’s two nature centers. The Ornithology Center and Earth Discovery Center make a great addition to your visit to Eagle Creek Park! It’s almost hard to believe that Eagle Creek Park is situated in the heart of Indianapolis off of 56th street. Upon entering the gates ($5 gate fee for non Marion County residents) you are immediately surrounded by wilderness. The Ornithology Center is a short drive from the 71st street entrance – and while a center dedicated to birds doesn’t sound like it could be all that exciting, it certainly is something to see. Ornithology means literally the study of birds – and that we did! My 3.5 year old was immediately drawn to the large outdoor cages containing several birds of prey, specifically hawks. He began asking questions like “Do those birds lay eggs like chickens?” after seeing these amazing birds up close. From there we visited the observation deck overlooking Eagle Creek Reservoir. The view was gorgeous! We attended during a cold late fall day, but I can only imagine what we would be able to see on the water during warmer weather. Excitedly, we did see a number of geese, and were able to spot them again from the indoor observation room. While this is not a large facility, the novelty of something like bird watching was something so different from our normal activities we spent nearly an hour at the Ornithology Center! We walked through the exhibit space and learned about many different birds native to Indiana, then tried to find specific bird species at the viewing room near the very lively bird feeders. One center guide nicely retrieved an adorable Eastern Screech Owl for us to get up close and personal with. The Ornithology Center offers “Meet a Raptor” every Sunday at 2.30 pm so guests can get their own personal experience with one of their educational birds of prey.
After visiting the Ornithology Center, and walking around the grounds a bit, we headed down to the Earth Discovery Center, also located within the park. The Earth Discovery Center was built in 2007 and offers many classroom spaces that host a variety of programs (be sure to consult the Indy Parks Fun Guide!). Here we explored a number of native fish, reptile, and amphibian displays, as well as other interactive and hands on activities. Every Saturday and Sunday at 1:30pm the Earth Discovery Center offers a family nature program on a variety of topics. Next time you’re at Eagle Creek Park, or if you need a break from the usual activities, be sure to head over to one of these fun locations! Follow the Eagle Creek Naturalists and the Eagle Creek Ornithology Center on Facebook for the latest events and programs!
6515 Delong Road
Visit Eagle Creek Ornithology Center and Earth Discovery Center
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