The Indianapolis area has no shortage of great parks. We are lucky to be surrounded by so many fantastic places to get out in nature or let our kids burn off some energy on a playground. But Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation really outdid themselves with Meadowlark Park’s most recent renovation.
Meadowlark Park is nestled behind a neighborhood off Meadow Lane, within walking distance from all the fun in the Carmel Arts and Design District. My family has been to basically every park there is to see on the Northside of Indianapolis, and I can honestly say I have never seen a park like this one. There are nature trails, pickleball courts, and a pond, but for families with small children, the innovative, nature-inspired playground is the main event.
The playground’s three different play structures are all thoughtfully designed to accommodate different age ranges. Children young and old can easily play on the medium climbing structure. You will find rock walls, climbing ropes, ladders, and multiple slides in this first area to your left. Your kids will love the challenge of climbing from different angles and directions as they explore this fun and unique feature.
The middle structure was our favorite section of the park. Kids climb through this whimsically designed space into the treetops. The tree “trunks” incorporate the ladder to get into this canopy. Different pod-like units, filled with interesting climbing activities, evoke a leafy tree. Once your kids are ready to come down, they can select one of two different tunnel slides to bring them back to the ground. The tree structure is truly the highlight of this park, and it’s a playground feature we won’t soon forget.
A Play Area Just for Toddlers
To the right of the tree play area is a toddler or preschool-sized climber. It is quite low to the ground and features a toddler slide, a climbing area, and sensory integration details on the lower section. This play space is perfect for kids 5 and under, who might not be quite ready for the large treetop section at the park.
On each side of the park are separate swing sets. Next to the toddler playground area, you will find two baby swings and one expression swing. Your kids will love being able to swing while facing each other! Opposite are two traditional swings and two accessible swings for those with physical differences who would benefit from over-the-shoulder support. With four different swing styles, Meadowlark Park has an option for all kids, regardless of age or physical ability.
Check Out the Fun Rolling Feature!
In the middle area of the playground are several different smaller play items. The spinning seats have nice, large backs to support your kiddos, so they don’t fall over. Additionally, there is a cooperative teeter-totter that requires bouncing and teamwork. You will also find a rope merry-go-round and a fun bouncing toy that seats up to two children. We loved one unusual rolling and crawling piece of equipment. With circular bars as your support, you pull, push, or slide yourself on rolling poles to move from one side to the other. It’s always fun to come across something new that we haven’t seen before!
When I visit a park, one of my favorite things to find is the rubberized turf surface – and Meadowlark Park has it! I love visiting parks that incorporate this material because it is mud free, eliminates splinters in the feet from mulch, and is wheelchair accessible and inclusive for everyone to use. It does heat up and get pretty hot on summer days, so keep that in mind when choosing shoes for your kiddos. Mine needed a good hiking sandal to climb and play at the park.
Conveniently Located Parking and Bathrooms
Parking is as close as you can get to the playground. Once you leave your car, the climbing structures are steps away. The bathrooms are located front and center, right before you enter the rubber turf play area. There are two individual family restrooms available, with baby changing tables located in each one. This awesome feature allows both male and female caregivers to quickly and easily help their little ones to the bathroom.
On the right and left of the bathrooms are two separate picnic shelters. They both provide ample shade and full views of the entire playground. The different playground zones were constructed using an “open concept” approach. This is a game-changer when you are watching multiple kids. Benches on both sides of the park give great vantage points for all the different activity areas.
Meadowlark Park is truly a one-of-a-kind playground in Carmel and is a must-visit for your summer bucket list. Pack lunch and spend hours playing and exploring. The park is surrounded by trails, for even more scenic walks after your time at the playground. Looking for more places to play? Check out our playground guide, broken down by cities and towns surrounding Indianapolis.
450 Meadow Lane