We have always loved Holliday Park! This favorite Indianapolis park has a great playground, hiking trails, open spaces, and the Ruins garden and splash pad, and a seasonal skating rink. As if all these amenities weren’t enough, Habitat Hall at the free Holliday Park Nature Center is a community gem you don’t want to miss.
With enough live animals and nature-themed activities, toys, and educational materials to hold your kids’ attention for most of the morning or afternoon, the nature center is a destination in and of itself. Plan a rainy day playdate, a homeschool field trip, or just satisfy your curious kids with all the facts and information about Indiana wildlife habitats they could ask for.
Explore a Miniature White River
Habitat Hall showcases Indiana forest and wetland habitats for children of all ages. My youngest son was immediately drawn to some of the animal aquariums that were built low to the ground, just at his level to provide toddler-friendly viewing. From there it was all about the White River water table experience. Kids can float small boats up and down the miniature river and peek under hinged rocks to discover the living creatures that call this environment home.
A step is built into either side of this feature to allow younger kids to reach the water. The nature center provides water-proof smocks and a hand dryer located near the water play station. However, a change of clothes may be in order after some playtime here, so come prepared!
Nature-themed Fun to Fill an Afternoon
There are so many elements to Habitat Hall, you’ll have no problem spending an hour or more in this relatively small space. Children can play instruments resembling different animal sounds, feel animal pelts, make animal tracks, crawl through a log, hear the sounds of the wetlands, dress up as an insect, mammal, or reptile, read a book, do a puzzle…and the list goes on and on. There are truly so many different ways to enjoy the nature center.
You’ll also find plenty of live animals in tanks and aquariums, giving you an up-close view of these creatures you likely won’t find in the wild. Find turtles, salamanders, and bluegill in various locations throughout the space. You can also follow the buzzing sound to the working honeybee hive. Encased in plexiglass, the display lets visitors get a glimpse of the local colony’s intricately designed home, as well as the source of delicious honey.
The floor-to-ceiling windows in the corner of the exhibit remind children that they are surrounded by nature. Conveniently located right outside the windows are the birdbaths and bird feeders. There are plenty of forest creatures to be observed and my son kept checking out the wildlife from different angles. If you ascend the stairs, children can experience the forest canopy, dress as a bee, do their best bee dance, and practice pollinating flowers!
Habitat Hall was designed with accessibility in mind. An elevator is available for guests who are unable to use the stairs to access the upper level of the treehouse.
Restrooms are available in the nature center. As you enter the building, turn right. Restrooms and water fountains are located on the right side of the hall, across from the center’s classrooms.
The park hosts a variety of educational programming and invites the community to join the fun! Keep an eye out for craft projects, family campfires, animal feedings, nature storytimes, and homeschool programs.
If you are visiting in the winter, your family can take a spin on the seasonal outdoor ice skating rink. This feature is found directly beside the nature center and skate rental is housed inside the building.
Parking at Holliday Park Nature Center
Enter the south gate off of Spring Mill Road and you’ll find convenient parking spots with easy access to the playground, the Ruins and their accompanying water table, and Habitat Hall Nature Center. There are separate parking lots near each of these amenities.
The best part of Habitat Hall is that it complements the other rich offerings of this beautiful park. Spend the day at Holliday Park – hit the playgrounds, go creek stomping, walk the trails, eat a picnic lunch, play in the splash pad at the Ruins, and be sure to visit Habitat Hall at the Holliday Park Nature Center!
6363 Spring Mill Rd
- Creature Feature | Holliday Park - 9 Dec 2023 - 10:00