Richmond Indiana with Kids | Outdoor Fun

We discovered Richmond on accident, like most people do. Richmond, Indiana is just over an hour from downtown Indianapolis, but it’s on the way to everything. About 10 years ago, Richmond was a great stop for a bathroom break along the way, or a halfway meeting point with grandparents who live in Dayton. Now, Richmond is a favorite year-round destination for adventure, fun and good food. The proximity to home makes Richmond an amazing day trip but the number of things to do in Richmond with kids make it the perfect weekend getaway.

Things to do in Richmond, Indiana

Our handful of road trips to Richmond in Wayne County, Indiana have taken place during two seasons; summer and winter. I’m certain with all of the natural spaces that this destination would be glorious in the fall. During the summer, we enjoy the trails and the gardens and the waterfalls. Our winter visits always center around attending the Meltdown Ice Festival in Richmond. This festival is full of fire and ice and chainsaws and fantastic community events. Richmond has always been one of the most affordable destinations on our map, with so many free activities for children and families.

While most of our favorite things to do are right in the city limits of Richmond, there are other notable favorites in Wayne County. While in the area, you have to visit Hoosier Hill, Indiana‘s Highest Point, located just 20 minutes outside of Richmond.

Best Places to Walk or Hike in Richmond

During this time when social distancing is the norm, we’re exploring and spending time outside. Here are some great outdoor spaces that kids love.

Cope Environmental Center

4910 Shoemaker Road, Centerville
Cope has a Sustainability Education Center. During our visit, it was closed to guests due to COVID, but we made our way along towards the Green Trail for a little hike that took us near ponds and across bridges. Using the iNature app on my phone, we identified plants, insects and fungi. After a walk in the woods, we found our way to the nature Playscape, an area with natural play features. You’ll also find the well known Children of Indiana Nature Park here. This 30-acre park was given to all K-12 students in Indiana, allowing each student to claim a deed to their own place in the park. Students can use technology to connect with nature when they find their spot in the park.
Best time to visit: Year round, dress accordingly.

Hayes Arboretum

801 Elks Rd., Richmond
While in Richmond, we never miss a chance visit to Hayes Arboretum. Grab a copy of the Critter Friends Scavenger Hunt outside of the Nature Center and then hike the blue trail to find the items listed on the scavenger hunt. The trail starts behind the Nature Center and is less than one mile. While you’re there, head over to play in the Nature Playscape area and make connections with the native plants, animals and insects. I just know you’ll love the butterfly garden. If it hasn’t rained too much, take your car for a ride on the auto tour trail and see the beauty from your vehicle. The nearly three mile gravel loop will take you through the forest, along the stream, near the wedding Chapel area and past the Morton Arch.
Best time to visit: Year round, dress accordingly.

Whitewater River Gorge Trails

Richmond High School Parking Lot Trail Head -380 Hub Etchinson Parkway, Richmond
Take a hike in this scenic gorge where you’ll find miles of paved paths for biking, walking, hiking and running. You’ll find rubble piles along the way where you can search for ancient fossils. If you walk the entire path, you’ll cover three and a half miles from start to finish or seven miles round trip. During your walk, you’ll cross bridges, climb stairs and see Thistlethwaite Falls.
Best time to visit: Year round, dress accordingly.

Outdoor Adventure in Richmond

Thistlethwaite Waterfall Adventures

65 Waterfall Road, Richmond
Park above the falls and take a short walk down the stairs to a rocky “shore” of a man made waterfall. Originally created to harness waterpower for a nearby sawmill, Thistlethwaite Falls is a popular summer attraction for waterfall hunters, fossil hunters and adventure hunters. This swimming hole provides hours of fun for those who love sliding down the falls, climbing them and wadding in the water.
Best time to visit: Year round for seasonal activities, dress accordingly.

Whitewater Valley Fossil Hunt

5701 National Road East, Richmond
This free passport program helps participants learn about life hundreds of millions of years ago. Stop by the Richmond Welcome Center to pick up your free passport. Visit fossil locations of your choice throughout Wayne County and collect five or more fossils and then stop by the Visitor Center to collect your special Fossil Patch and a prize.
Best time to visit: Year round, dress accordingly.

Among other locations, you can find and keep fossils at;

  • Fossil Park (Corner of Bridge Ave. & Sim Hodgin Avenue, Richmond)
  • Thistlethwaite Falls 
  • Whitewater River Gorge lime stone cliffs

Art Walks Near Richmond

Sculpture Garden at IU East Campus

2325 Chester Blvd., Richmond
Head to the main part of campus where the dorm area is and enjoy a walk along the sidewalks to see unique works of art. Kids will love running ahead to spot the next piece of art along the trail. Some information is provided for each sculpture, but our kids loved telling stories about the art.
Best time to visit: Year round, dress accordingly.

Wayne County Mural Trail

The Wayne County Mural Trail is a collection of 80 murals within Wayne County, including Richmond. You can find a map at the Visitor Center or here.
Best time to visit: Year round, dress accordingly.

Parks with Playgrounds

Middlefork Reservoir

1750 Sylvan Nook Dr., Richmond
The brand new nature themed playground is a hit with the kids, but our favorite part of Middlefork Reservoir is when there’s a remote control airplane using the airfield. Middlefork Res has an airfield just for RC airplanes, and it’s the coolest! From mid April thru September, visitors can rent paddle boats, row boats and canoes.
Best time to visit: Year round, dress accordingly.

Glen Miller Park

2200 block of E. Main St., Richmond
Glen Miller Park is one of my favorite places to visit because of the gorgeous Richmond Rose Garden. My children love the ADA accessible playground and splash pad, but I’m a fan of walking through the gorgeous gardens and seeing all of the varieties of roses. Once upon a time, Richmond was known as Rose city because three different rose companies called the city home.
Best time to visit: Year round, dress accordingly.

Clear Creek Park

1201 W. Main St., Richmond
Clear Creek Park is a recreational gem, home to the city pool, a beautiful playground and various sport courts and fields, there’s a lot to do!
Best time to visit: Year round, dress accordingly.

Fun Family Dining in Richmond

Ullery’s Homemade Ice Cream

168 Fort Wayne Ave., Richmond
There’s a chance you’ve enjoyed Ullery’s Ice Cream at the Indiana State Fair or another popular event. But there’s also a chance you haven’t, because Ullery’s Ice Cream is handcrafted goodness made in small batches. Ullery’s has been featured on the Food Network and there’s even a song about Ullery’s. Check out their ice cream escapades on Tik Tok and Facebook. If you smell fresh ice cream cones during your visit, you should take a peek, they’re likely being made fresh right behind the counter! While it seems there can be nothing new when it comes to ice cream, Ullery’s is stretching the limits and finding new ways to serve up the best treat in the world.

Little Sheba’s

175 Fort Wayne Avenue, Richmond
The Zacatelco’s have put the family in family dining at Little Sheba’s. When you step inside this restaurant, you might not notice, but it’s likely that you’ll see the whole family working in some capacity, bringing favorite local dishes and delicious fare to your table. The kids’ meals are fantastic and the menu is full of flavorful entrees and treats. Must try items: Kettle Chips with the signature Ranch Pesto Dipping Sauce, the Greek Gyro and the Hot Mama. Save room for the Homemade Chocolate Cherry Brownie, trust me.

Bismarck Donuts & Coffee

1241 N.W. 5th St., Richmond
If your salivary glands don’t kick in to high gear the second you enter Bismarck Donuts, then you’ve got to get checked out! The cases full of gorgeous cookies and donuts are a work of art. The fragrance of sweet food and cafe drinks take over your brain and convince you to try everything!

King’s Café

109 W. Main St., Cambridge City
King’s Cafe is a MUST visit! Locals will tell you that King’s is famous for their hand-dipped ice cream and baked goods, including their GIANT cinnamon roll. Your whole family will delight in the fresh baked, plate sized cinnamon roll with luscious cream cheese icing. Almost everything we ordered was larger than we anticipated and the menu prices were a bargain!

Buffalo Wings & Rings

500 Commerce Road, Richmond
Burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads and of course, wings! Buffalo Wings & Rings is a family friendly sports bar with traditional American style food and a kid’s menu! The large selection of starters and entrees make Buffalo Wings & Rings a great spot to eat. The atmosphere is sporty with televisions displaying active games and sports news and the children’s menu items are smaller plate versions of popular menu items + a few popular kids meal selections.

Where to Stay in Richmond, Indiana

We typically stay in hotels when we visit Richmond, our kids are partial to hotel pools, but during our most recent visit, we enjoyed the luxury of a space of our own in a Richmond Air BnB rental. This cottage was less than $100 per night and had three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and several spaces for evening play time.

Updated: January 7, 2021

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