Kids and climbing go hand in hand- or foot on foothold. If there’s something vertical in sight, at least one of my kids will try to climb it. While inside climbing adventures are fun, outdoors is where the fun is in good weather.
Sure most playgrounds have places to climb. But the climbing towers at Holliday Park or Founders Park are a challenge even for best climbers. More and more playgrounds are offering more free-form options for climbing- the new playground at Holland Park encourages climbing. My kids are also huge fans of what they call “the treehouse park” – also known as Brooks School Road park in Fishers. You can climb high, and there are a multitude of ways to get up and down.
Holliday Park also has hiking trails with stairs that go down to the White River. Hiking up and down to the river can be challenging- encourage the kids to grab use walking sticks to add to the fun. Ritchey Woods in Fishers also has good hiking over not-so-flat terrain. Fort Harrison State Park has one of the better sledding hills in the city- and in the summer it’s fun to climb up and roll down.
Broad Ripple Park has a fitness trail that’s fun for grownups and kids alike. Kids can try monkey bars, vertical ladders, chin ups and more. Follow the path around and see what the kids can do!
Of course there are trees to climb at many of these parks- Holliday Park offers some of those as well. Last week my daughter found some pine trees at Sahm Park to climb.
The Monuments and Sculptures
While you don’t want your kids climbing over the “Keep Off” signs, there are plenty of monuments to climb around in Indianapolis. The obvious choice is the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. With stairs going all the way up to the pedestal, there’s a lot to climb. The Indiana War Memorial also has a lot of stairs to climb. Walking around downtown Indianapolis, you’ll find many other buildings with stairs to climb (and planter boxes and what not).
100 Acres Art Park at the Indianapolis Art Museum may be the most cultured playground in the city. There’s the iconic Funky Bones, yellow benches and other sculptures that are ready to be explored…by hands and feet as well as eyes. The Art Park has plenty installations to discover, as well as its natural surroundings.
The Special Events and Unusual
Special events sometimes appeal to the monkeys in the crowd. Every time we visit a Touch-a-Truck event, my kids climb into the trucks…and then they climb all over the trucks. When carnivals come to town, or the Indiana State Fair, my kids get in line for each one of the fun houses- these non-mechanical rides are basically obstacle courses and my climbers find them loads of fun.
Brown County State Park offers a lot of hilly hiking, and they also offer an old-school fire tower to climb up. From that high perch, you can see for miles- which was the purpose of the tower in years gone by.
The Waterpark at the Monon Center boasts the most unusual climbing wall- it’s a water wall. When you lose your grip, you land in the pool. Talk about refreshing!
As your kids grow, you’ll find that some playgrounds and sites become more fun, and others lose their appeal. The good news is that there’s always something new to explore!