Written by Ashley Dykton
W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park is a free public park for residents and visitors to Avon and Danville to enjoy. Hendricks County Parks and Recreation operates this park, which is open daily from dawn to dusk. The park opened to the public on July 21, 2021, and currently includes a playground, a disc golf course, a dock, trails, public shelters, picnic spaces, and a sledding hill. There are future phases of development in the works for another 70 acres of land that will feature a dock for the smaller pond and a permanent restroom facility.
W.S. Gibbs purchased 160 acres of farmland in 1920 and became the original owner of the current park’s property. This land stayed in the Gibbs family until 2009 when John “Chub” and Lydia Gibbs sold 140 acres to the Hendricks County Park Board so a park could be created to memorialize W.S. Gibbs. This transaction led to the beautiful natural area and playground you can explore with your family today!
The park offers a par 60, 18-hole disc golf course with complimentary frisbees to borrow and a “tossed and found” frisbee box. The course includes beginner/recreational (white) and intermediate (blue) tee boxes. Just be mindful of your surroundings and courteous of other park guests while playing and yield to pedestrians and bikers on the trails.
There are 2 ponds totaling 5 1/2 acres at the park. Both were stocked in the fall of 2021 with thousands of Bluegill, Bass, and Redear fingerlings and young Channel Catfish to grow into mature fish. Beginning in the spring or summer of 2023, the fish will have reached maturity and guests can start fishing for consumption – “keep what you catch.” All fishing regulations are enforced by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The large pond features a 20′ by 35′ ADA-accessible dock with picnic tables.
Shelters and Picnic Areas
The park offers 2 ADA-accessible covered picnic shelters with grills and picnic tables. Both can be reserved for events and parties. The 24’ by 44’ Bluegill Shelter is located near the pond and is available for rent at $75 daily. The 20’ by 36’ Firefly Shelter is located near the playground and is available to rent at $50 per day. Multiple picnic tables are scattered throughout the park and by the playground. There are even ADA-compliant picnic tables that extend out for wheelchairs. Please note that at this time there are only portable restroom facilities at the park.
The park boasts over 2 miles of trails. These trails include Bluestem Bend (.26 miles), Oriole Stroll (.15 miles), Monarch Way (.6 miles), Heron Hideaway (.14 miles), Turtle Crawl (.15 miles), Walnut Walkway (.4 miles), and Forebay Crossing (194 feet). Crushed gravel and natural surfaces make up the trails, so be mindful when navigating with wheelchairs and strollers. After a rain, the ground will be muddy.
You cannot miss the 30-foot-tall observation hill when you enter the park. The hill was created by using soil excavated from the ponds. In the winter, this would be an excellent sledding hill. Be mindful that sledding is done at your own risk.
Playground and Nature Play Areas
My daughters loved the nature-themed playground. There are two play structures with slides. One is designed for 2-5-year-olds and the other for 5-12-year-olds. Engineered wood mulch surrounds the play area to add a soft surface for falls and for wheelchairs to move across. The playground also features two separate swing sets. One set features two ADA swings with shoulder supports, as well as a tire swing. The other set has two standard swings and two toddler swings.
My family also loved the nature play area by the playground that included two teepees, a log climbing structure, and a collection of tree stumps. The playground also has a free library book box so you can enjoy a book during your visit.
My family had such a great time playing on the playground and the nature play structures. We also just loved walking the trails and can’t wait for the future development of the park. W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park is such a great new addition to Hendricks County. Explore this outdoor escape or other favorite parks in Danville with your crew soon!
4521 Gibbs Road Danville, IN 46122