White River State Park Guide
With 250 acres, a scenic canal, and multiple attractions located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, White River State Park is an oasis of fun. To make exploring easy, here are 8 ideas for making the most of your visit.
Take to the Water on the Central Canal
Enjoy picturesque skyline views from a pedal boat or kayak from Wheel Fun Boat Rentals as you drift down the 1.5-mile Central Canal. For a romantic slice of Venice, grab your special someone and take a ride with Old World Gondoliers. Costumed gondoliers will serenade you as you sip a glass of wine or simply soak in the scenery.
Trek the Canal on Foot or Wheels
Wide bike paths that are part of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, as well as a secluded promenade behind the Indianapolis Zoo, provide runners, bikers, and walkers a unique setting for exercise or leisurely exploring. Wheel Fun Bike Rentals offers traditional cruiser bikes, 3-wheeled choppers, or a double-surrey than can accommodate a family of four.
Give Yourself Something to Cheer About
Sports Illustrated and Baseball America have named Victory Field, home to the Indianapolis Indians, the best Minor League Stadium in America. With panoramic views of downtown and cheap lawn seats that are perfect for the kids, there are few better places to take in a ball game. College sports fans can connect with their favorite team at the NCAA Hall of Champions. Interactive exhibits allow visitors to get into the game, and the retro gym is ideal for a game of H-O-R-S-E!
Two of the cities premier museums conveniently sit next door to one another in White River State Park. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is the largest museum of its type east of the Mississippi. This impressive museum has traditional art as well as an impressive contemporary collection. The Indiana State Museum showcases science, art, and culture in celebration of Indiana’s history. It is also home to the IMAX Theater and its six-story screen that plays 3D IMAX films as well as contemporary Hollywood features.
Indulge Your Animal Instincts
The Indianapolis Zoo is the only zoo in the country that is triple-accredited as a zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden. The zoo is focused on intimate animal experiences. The enclosed dolphin dome gives an in-water view of dolphin shows while recent exhibits bring visitors face-to-face with tigers and cheetahs. Not to be missed this year is the new International Orangutan Center, which has been called the most important zoo exhibit in the world.
Go Ga-Ga for Gardens
Your green thumb will love White River Gardens and their ornate planting and conservatory. As part of the Indianapolis Zoo, the garden is almost as well known for their annual display of butterflies as they are for their botanical displays. The park is also home to the Wishard Slow Food Garden where visitors can observe urban gardening that promotes biodiversity and sustainable farm practices.
Enjoy an Artful Experience
Throughout the park you’ll encounter a wide range of public art. The canal is home to The Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial where you’ll find names of each medal recipient and, if you listen closely, you can hear their stories. The Tent is a colorful collection of polished metal tiles that sits in the center of the park. Stroll along the pedestrian bridge that traverses the White River to see a collection of sculptures that change on a semi-annual basis.