Written by Jessica Deubner
Are you looking for new places for your family to explore? Check out the Frank and Judy O’Bannon Soccer Park in Downtown Indianapolis! Located in the Old Northside neighborhood, this updated park will be a great addition to your downtown plans this summer. Indy Parks and Recreation has greatly revitalized this area, which now includes so much more than soccer fields.
This park spans 17 acres and is well known as the home of a youth soccer league and easy access to the Monon Trail. New additions to the space in 2023 include playgrounds for older and younger children, a beautiful picnic shelter, a vibrant splash pad, and improved landscaping. Two parking lots and restrooms add to the convenience of this downtown gem. Pack your lunch and sunscreen. You can easily spend an entire afternoon at the Frank and Judy O’Bannon Soccer Park.
Playground at O’Bannon Soccer Park
The playground area has features to interest and challenge kids of all ages. Older kids will love testing the limits and climbing all. The play structure is filled with a rock wall, ropes to climb, ladders to scale, as well as places to sit and relax after all that climbing. There are fun spots for kids to perch and look out at the downtown skyline. My kids loved figuring out the best ways to climb and showing friends how to get to the top. For kids that love a challenge, this is a great spot to test out their strength and balance.
There is also a large climbing net. Getting to the top is a great accomplishment, and kids beam with pride when they make it. My kids love to pretend that they are spiders catching bugs in a web. Next to this is an area filled with a variety of swings. You can find traditional swings, baby swings, and a netted swing perfect for laying back and enjoying the breeze.
Younger kids and toddlers will not miss out on the fun. An entire section is dedicated to them! In this zone, you will find two play structures complete with rock walls, slides, and ropes to climb all suited for younger kids. Details are hidden throughout the play structures at the height of young ones, giving them opportunities to make their own discoveries.
There is a small playhouse that is perfect for pretend play, along with a fun merry-go-round spinner. The entire playground area is covered in rubber turf, which is nice when you don’t want to track the mud home on a rainy day. Speaking of rain, we keep a towel in the van to wipe down the slides when wet.
Splash Pad for Scorching Hot Days
Be sure to pack a swimsuit and towel because the colorful splash pad is definitely going to catch the attention of every child that visits the park. Water shoots out from every direction, providing tons of fun. There are archways to go under, buckets and fountains that dump if you are wanting a bigger splash, and jets that shoot out of the ground. My son loved the water blaster that he could aim all around the splash pad.
This would be a great place to bring toddlers to experience a splash pad. Most of the water jets are gentle and there is plenty of space to walk around and not get soaked if you choose. We love visiting different splash pads throughout the summer and finding our favorite ones to visit over and over again.
Relax in the Shade of the O’Bannon Soccer Park Shelter
The shelter area has five durable picnic tables and two charcoal grills available for use. This is a great spot to sit and relax, enjoy some snacks or a picnic lunch, and get a break from the sun. You can see all areas of the playgrounds and splash pad from this spot. This would also be a great place to have a park playdate or use as a shaded spot to stop and have dinner while using the Monon Trail.
If you would like to reserve this shelter, you will need to use the online scheduling system for Indy Parks. You can find availability for all of Indy Parks shelters around the city using their portal.
Restrooms at O’Bannon Soccer Park are located conveniently next to the splash pad. If your kids hate being wet after playing in the splash pad, they can change clothes and enjoy the playground or a picnic afterwards. You also won’t have to cut playtime short because someone needs the restroom.
There are two parking lots connected to the park. Bring your bikes and take some time to ride along the Monon Trail. It runs right next to the O’Bannon Soccer Park, making it a very easy add-on activity for your day. Pack some balls for the big fields! If your kids love soccer or need an area to run around, there is a ton of space to enjoy.
Add O’Bannon Soccer Park to your summer bucket list! Your kids are going to love it.
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1001 E. 16th St.