Nature at Night in Indy

nature at night

The pools have closed and school busses are back on the street. Fall in Indiana is upon us, and there’s nothing better than being outside on a crisp Indiana night. We’ve got a few weeks left of long, golden evenings, so make a plan to take advantage of them.

Check the calendar at Holliday Park to see what’s happening around the Nature Center. Family campfires happen on a monthly basis, September’s is happening on Friday, September 18. Registration is required, and the $5 fee per person includes s’mores. The topics vary, but always include a campfire and a hike.

Ritchey Woods is also getting ready for fall evenings- they will kick off October with a family luminary hike. Enjoy the campfire and then walk through the woods on a path lined with lit jack-o-lanterns. The woods are open daily from dawn to dusk, so an after supper hike is also a possibility for a few more weeks. Keep your eyes open for creatures who may be more active as the sun starts to go down.

Eagle Creek Park, part of the Indy Parks system, offers occasional evening programming at the Ornithology Center (check the monthly calendar for offerings)  and other areas of the park. In September, children 6 and over are invited to evening paddles with an adult. See the park in a whole new way- from the water. Preregistration is required. Private hayrides are also available at Eagle Creek Park if you’ve got a group together!

Cool Creek Nature Center also offers occasional evening programming, including free night hikes.

Indiana State Parks around central Indiana have programs planned to get visitors in the mood for some nocturnal fun. Programs vary by park, but some offerings include:

Autumn Owls at Ouabache State Park

Evening Hayrides at White Water Memorial State Park and Mounds State Park

Full Moon Hikes at Charleston State Park

While some of this programming may be too far to reasonably drive for an evening, follow their lead and plan outdoor fun on your own. A full moon hike can easily take place around your backyard, or on your neighborhood walking trail. Listen to the sounds, and let your eyes adjust to the dark. On nights were the moon isn’t as bright, pass out flashlights or glow-sticks and head outside.  Borrow some books about owls from the library, and then go out listening for them yourself. Listen to the insects, and try to figure out where they are or even what they are. Challenge your family to head outside instead of inside at sundown and see what they discover!

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