The Hoosier Quest Series | Discover and Explore our State Parks

The weather outside is so nice right now, it seems to constantly beckon to my family and we are all too happy to oblige.  From hiking and camping to swimming and creek stomping, we love to explore it all.  My nature babies would absolutely live outdoors if I let them!  This is one of the reasons why I am so happy to have heard about the Indiana State Parks Hoosier Quest Series.

Have you heard of it?

The Hoosier Quest Series is a patch and pin program specific to Indiana, designed to get you and your family outside and active at Indiana’s State Parks and Reservoirs.  My kids are all about this!  The program has something for everyone, some activities to be completed by individuals and others are to be completed as a family.

The Hoosier Quest is made up of three different opportunities, so you can choose which works best for you. The opportunities are called Discover, Challenge, and Explore.  Discover and Challenge are opportunities to earn patches, one for each.  The qualifications for these can be earned at different parks.  Explore is a pin opportunity, and the challenges for these are specific to the park locations.

Clicking on the names of each opportunity below will take you to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ website, so you can print off the brochure for your Hoosier Quest and plan your visit.

Discover

What: Patch

Age: People of all abilities and ages are encouraged to participate in this program, though most activities are geared for ages five and up.

Requirements: To earn this patch, you will attend three interpretive programs at a park, volunteer for the total span of one hour, and choose three activities from the pamphlet.  When attending programs, make sure you have the program’s interpreter sign and date your brochure.  A park interpreter can give you volunteer assignments or you can call the park and schedule them ahead of time.  There are many activity options to choose from, including taking photos, drawing pictures, leading a hike, getting acquainted with the night sky, and finding a fallen leaf that is beautiful to you.  Program attendance, volunteer times, and park activities can be completed in a single visit, or broken up over as many as it take to complete the brochure requirements.

Price: FREE, though a $1 donation is suggested for the patch, to help offset the costs of the program.

Challenge

What: Patch

Age: People of all abilities and ages are encouraged to participate in this program, though all participants must complete their own work to be eligible.

Requirements: To earn this patch, you will attend four interpretive programs at the park, volunteer for the total span of three hours, and choose four outdoor skills and ten outdoor experiences from the pamphlet.  There are many skills and experiences to choose from, including fishing, riding your bicycle, and identifying mushrooms or birds. The requirements for this patch are more extensive than the Discover patch, and will likely take several visits, so relax and make the most of your time outdoors!

Price: FREE, though a $1 donation is suggested for the patch, to help offset the costs of the program.

Explore

What: A unique pin that represents one of the thirty-three participating Indiana State Park and Reservoir locations.

Age: The Explore pin opportunity is open to all ages and is recommended to be completed as a family.

Requirements: There are only five requirements for this opportunity.  To earn the pin, you will need to attend one interpretive program, complete one hour of volunteer time, report to the interpreter how your volunteer time benefited the property and yourself, hike for thirty minutes  on a park trail or road, and complete a site-specific activity assigned by the interpretive naturalist.  When all requirements have been met, you will bring your initialed brochure to the property office or Nature Center Gift Store to purchase your pin.

Price: $2

Where: Program pins can be earned at Brookville, Brown County, Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Clifty Falls, Deam Lake, Falls of the Ohio, Fort Harrison, Hardy Lake, Harmonie Lake, Indiana Dunes, Lieber, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, Mississinewa, Monroe Lake, Mounds, O’Bannon, Quabache, Patoka Lake, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Raccoon, Salamonie, Shades, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Starve Hollow, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe River, Turkey Run, Versailles, and White Water Memorial.

Many of these parks are included in the list of our favorite Indy camping locations, if you are interested in extending your visit.  If you plan to tackle several of these, you should look into saving on park entrance fees by purchasing an Indiana State Park Annual Entrance Permit.

In addition to earning the Hoosier Quest patches and pins, many of the activities will also qualify for the Hoosier Outdoor Child certificate, and all of the time spent outdoors will give a good chunk of time towards the One Thousand Hours Outside Challenge.

For more Summer fun, check out our 10 Fun & Easy Summer Activities and 15 Activities for Your Summer Bucket List!

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