Written by Erin Dague
The Indianapolis area is home to many amazing parks, and River Heritage Park in Carmel is a fantastic addition to our numerous outdoor play options. This park is located right off 116th Street and River Road in Carmel and is truly one-of-a-kind. River Heritage Park features fully-accessible playground equipment mixed in with unique play concepts that you won’t find anywhere else around town.
Accessible Equipment Allows Everyone to Play
When you arrive, you will see the initial playground section right off the parking lot. The merry-go-round here is designed to be used by people of all abilities. This feature has a seat for those who need one, and an entrance flush with the park surface. This makes it possible for visitors in wheelchairs to access the equipment. You’ll also find swings, including the very popular expression swings, which allow caregivers and children to swing while facing each other.
There is also an interactive surround sound game. Kids select the mini-game they would like to play, and then enter the dome-shaped structure. Children are immersed in the sounds and lights of the selected game. There is even a scoreboard where your child can keep track of their progress and points! This feature is a great option for little ones and big kids alike.
Play as You Stroll the Wooded Trail
Immediately beyond the first section of play equipment, you will see a trail that leads you through a wooded path. Along this path are multiple playground areas where your children can explore as you stroll. This is such a unique design and really allows for lots of space to play and learn for hours. The first section features vertical spinning interactives, reminiscent of hamster wheels. Your children can turn the wheels by crawling or walking, and they’ll also enjoy a saucer swing in the same space. My kids loved the hamster wheel structures and could have spent an hour just exploring this first play area on the trail.
Don’t Miss the Zipline
Next, you will reach the section that contains a zipline. Yes, you read that correctly! Your children can zip through the woods on a real zipline, with a seat for them to sit on. This was a huge highlight on our visit, and your kids are sure to enjoy this special playground equipment. On the other side of the trail in this section is another seated suspended swing that serves as a smaller, more adaptive version of a traditional zipline.
Finally, you will reach the final section of the playground equipment. Immediately following the zipline, is another full playground space, complete with seating for adults. You will find a large climbing structure with multiple different rope, plastic, and metal features. Across the path, you with find more climbing equipment, complete with a fun slide for little ones to enjoy once they reach the top!
We learned on our visit that the only bathrooms at this park are located at the entrance. If you have little ones that need to use the restroom, make sure to stop before you head down the wooded trail. It is probably a five-minute causal walk from the back part of the playground trail to the front of the park. Keep this in mind if you have little ones that don’t give you much notice when they need to stop for a bathroom break.
Rubber Turf Trails for Accessibility
I love that the trail is made up of rubberized playground turf through the entire wooded area, minus a small bridge section. This allows wheelchair users to get to all of the playground equipment easily. The surface will not get flooded or muddy. Carmel really did a great job providing for inclusive play at this reimagined park. The design allows people of all abilities to play together and easily access the equipment.
If you are looking for a new place to explore, look no further than River Heritage Park! From the unique design that encourages play in nature, to the accessible and exciting playground equipment, this park is one that everyone in the family will enjoy! Looking for more things to do in Carmel? Check out our guide on Things to Do in Carmel with Kids.
11813 River Rd