Adventurous Outdoor Activities for Kids | Where to Hike and Play Near Indy

During the winter, our kids can’t wait for the weather to warm up so they can get outside! If you’re looking for outdoor activities for kids, we’ve got you covered. Read on for exciting, local outdoor activities to fill your spring, summer, and fall!

Eagle Creek is Full of Springtime Fun

7840 W. 56th Street, Indianapolis, IN
Entry fee charged per car

Head out to Eagle Creek Park, then start with a hike around Eagle Creek Ornithology Center. Connect with the natural world by visiting with the resident birds, which are permanently injured and unable to survive in the wild. They have been rehabbed and primarily serve as educational ambassadors for environmental education purposes, as they have an impact on how people view wildlife. The public can “Meet a Raptor” up close for free most weekends. There are two outdoor viewing enclosures as well that house a red-shouldered and red-tailed hawk, plus another enclosure that rotates residents like the turkey vulture or great horned owl. Hours to Eagle Creek Park change seasonally.

A nature center filled with models of Indiana natural bird habitats, including real stuffed birds. Eagle Creek Park has some of our favorite outdoor activities for kids.

Garfield Park is Blooming with Outdoor Activities for Kids

2505 Conservatory Drive, Indianapolis, IN
Park admission is free, fee charged for entry to the Conservatory

Stop by and visit Garfield Park Conservatory to check out the gorgeous displays of tropical plants and the calming waterfall. Visit during Spring Break to catch the whimsical Gnomes on Spring Break display! You’ll also want to take in the beauty of the tulips and other florals in the Garfield Park Sunken Gardens. It’s so wonderful to see these colorful petals blanket that area of the park. There are also preschool and children’s activities held throughout the month.

Holliday Park Brings Families Together

6363 Spring Mill Road, Indianapolis, IN
Free, some special programs charge fees

This favorite Indianapolis park is packed full of adventures. Hike through the woods and dip your toes in the White River. Learn about ecosystems and animal habitats in the educational gardens and the indoor exhibits in Habitat Hall. Climb and explore the giant playground. Splash in the splash pad beneath the park’s famous Ruins.

The Friday night campfires (small fee charged) at Holliday Park are a favorite for our family. Learn about a specific creature found in Holliday Park, take a brief hike to search for those creatures, and then end up around the fire with s’mores. Check the Indy Parks website for dates and times, along with registration information.

Thatcher Park Has Adventure

4649 Vermont Street, Indianapolis, IN
Fee charged, Ages 2 and under FREE

Okay, so this one isn’t really outdoors BUT it will prepare your kids for a fun outdoor adventure. Have fun rock climbing in the deep end of the indoor pool at Thatcher Park!

Discover Art in Nature at Newfields

4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN

In the spring, you can check out millions of flowers and budding trees at Newfields’ 100 Acres (free, no admission required for 100 Acres). Walk around the lake, see the pollinator meadow, and scour the amazing grounds for outdoor artwork.

Outdoor Activities for Kids: A toddler balances on a portion of an oversized 3D model of a skeleton splayed out across a grassy area at Newfield's 100 Acres Art and Nature Park.

Cool Creek Brings Kids into Nature

2000 East 151st Street, Carmel, IN

There’s plenty to do at Cool Creek Park! A playground, many trails to hike, a creek to stomp in, swings by the creek, and a Nature Center with a greenhouse. There are all sorts of reptiles inside the Nature Center and even an entire room for bird watching! Follow the signs on the road past the Nature Center to find the Nature Play Area, a hidden gem tucked back into the woods.

Conner Prairie is OPEN

13400 Allisonville Rd, Fishers, IN
Admission varies by season, Children 2 and under FREE

History, science, culture, and fun combine for an amazing outdoor experience at Conner Prairie. Step back in time to learn about life in the 1800s from costumed interpreters, play in the whimsical Treetop Outpost, ride in a tethered hot air balloon, find STEM learning at the indoor exhibits, and walk along the banks of the White River. As life on the Prairie once changed with the seasons, so does the guest experience, so visit often!

Outdoor Activities for Kids: A woman reads a book to two children while seated on orange folding chairs inside the Treetop Outpost at Conner Prairie.

Free EcoLab at Marian University

3200 Cold Spring Road, Indianapolis, IN

This under-the-radar outdoor option is a hidden gem at Marian University. Run, play, hike, explore, observe, and learn at this outdoor nature park eco lab.

Need even more outdoor fun? This article covers our 20 favorite places to play outside in Indianapolis.

Discover the 12 best parks and playgrounds in our city!

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