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Summer Fun in Indy
All of the upcoming festivals, events and family activities
May 01, 2011Boredom this summer? Not a chance, not with all of the summer activities, camps, festivals, fairs, concerts, cookouts and other events happening all over the Indy Metro area. There's something for all ages—and all over the map—whether it's attending a cookout on Monument Circle, enjoying a free concert series in Greenwood or cooling off at Splash Island Water Park in Plainfield. Here's to making this summer unforgettable, full of new experiences and fun with the family, (almost) right in your own backyard.
The 2011 Indiana Historical Society Concerts on the Canal series, featuring Local entertainers, will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday beginning May 26 through August 11 (except for Thursday, June 30). A Fourth of July celebration will take place from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Guests may bring in their own food and non-alcoholic beverages (there is also a café and cash bar). Bring chairs and blankets for the free seating, either on the stairs leading to the terrace or across the canal on the grassy knoll. Tables are available to reserve on the terrace as well ($35 for a table of four). Visit www.indianahistory.org for more information.
Opening June 11, the new permanent exhibit at the Children's Museum, National Geographic Treasures of the Earth, will allow guests to delve into digging up the past. The hands-on archaeological adventure includes the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh, a Warrior burial site in China, and a Caribbean shipwreck. www.childrensmuseum.org
Strawberry lovers will converge on Monument Circle on Thursday, June 9 for the Christ Church Strawberry Festival from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The "Works" includes berries, shortcake, ice cream and whipped topping and is $6, and á la carte variations are available for less. www.cccindy.org
On Thursday, June 16th, come back to Monument Circle from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for the Marsh Cookout on the Circle. Enjoy grilled chicken or brats, potato salad, cookies and a drink. Proceeds from ticket sales, which are $6 in advance at Marsh Supermarkets and $7 on the day of the cookout, help to send Boy Scouts to local camps. www.crossroadsbsa.org.
Kids can meet some of their favorite characters such as Arthur, Clifford and Curious George on Saturday, June 11 at Let's Meet PBS KIDS in the Park. Taking place at the historic Military Park located in White River State Park, three stages will feature live entertainment and hands-on activities. Festival foods are also on the menu and the event lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See www.wfyi.org for more details.
Voted the "Best Minor League Ballpark in America" by Sports Illustrated and with 72 games at Victory Field this season, baseball fans have lots of opportunities to cheer on the Indianapolis Indians. Single game lawn seats are available for $9 per adult and $8 per child. Visit www.inwhiteriver.wrsp.in.gov to link to the Indianapolis Indians site for more ticket information and the games schedule.
All Around Indy
Take the Indy Parks 100 Parks. 100 Miles. 100 Years Challenge. Indy Parks has picked 100 Parks (out of its 207) to visit and explore. Parks are located all over the city. Visit www.indyparks.org and click on 'Take the Challenge' for a map of the 100 parks and amenities listings. Be sure to also visit the '100 Days of Summer' link for a listing of special park programs throughout the summer. Indy Parks Aquatics' 21 pools and 15 spray grounds open on Saturday, May 28.
On Saturday, May 21 and Saturday, June 18 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., families can participate in a free three hour family Learn to Fish workshop at Fort Harrison. All equipment is provided. Children must be ages 6 or older. Pre-registration is required at 317-562-1338. And if you don't participate in the workshop, come enjoy trails, canoeing on Fall Creek, picnicking, fishing and more at the 1700 acre park. Entrance fees are $5 per vehicle. Visit www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2982.htm for more information.
In the height of the summer in Indiana, July is also the time for 4-H Fairs all around the state. Here are the dates for the fair in Marion County as well as all of its surrounding counties. Marion County—July 21-30, Johnson County—July 17-23, Morgan County—July 29-26, Hendricks County—July 17-23, Boone County—July 22-28, Hamilton County—July 14-19, Hancock County—July 8-15, Shelby County—July 4-9. The 'Fairs/Festivals' link on www.indianafairsandfestivals.org will take you to the websites of many of the 4-H fairs for more information.
And of course, there's the pinnacle of the 4-H Fairs—the Indiana State Fair—taking place from August 5-21. www.in.gov/statefair/. Consider riding the Fair Train to the State Fair, which departs from Fishers Station on 116th Street. Tickets are $13 round trip for adults and $6 for children ages 2 through 12. Visit www.itm.org for more information on the Fair Train and other train events this summer.
Saturday, June 4 at 10 a.m., an All Play Inspiration Celebration at Brooks School Park in Fishers will commemorate the first ADA-accessible playground in the Fishers Park System. Indianapolis Colts Community Spokesman, Josh Bleill, will be the guest speaker, and children of all ages and abilities are invited to the celebration. More information can be found at www.fishers.in.us/brooksschool.
The Fishers Summer Concert Series, will take place every Tuesday evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the lawn at the Fishers Town Hall, 1 Municipal Drive, beginning on Tuesday, June 7 with Parrots of the Caribbean, a salute to Jimmy Buffett. Also in the lineup of the series is a Beatles Tribute Band, 1960's Rock and Roll, R&B and pop. Bring lawn chairs or blankets and picnics. www.fishers.in.us/parks
Beginning May 23rd at 10 a.m. and continuing for a series of eight hour-long concerts, young children ages 2 through 5 and parents can enjoy the Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation Kids Koncerts Series, designed to be engaging and participatory. Concerts are held at either River Heritage Park or West Park (see www.carmelclayparks.com for dates and locations). Children will also enjoy the Touch a Truck event on Wednesday, July 27 from 10 a.m to 12 p.m., where kids can climb in and explore vehicles such as dump trucks, mowers, and ambulances. Cost is $2 per child (adults are free).
Train lovers will enjoy a trip to the Indiana Transportation Museum which opens for the season on May 7. Located in Forest Park in Noblesville, admission to the museum is $3 for adults and $2 for ages 2 through 12. To enjoy a train ride that only takes a little time and money, check out the Forest Park Caboose rides which runs on most Sundays in May, June, July and September (It will run only one Sunday in August due to the State Fair). Tickets are $5 round trip for ages 2 and up. If you want a longer ride with a stop at a restaurant, check out the Pizza PLUS rides, running on select Saturdays May through October. There are four restaurants to choose from and tickets are $14 round trip for adults and $6 for ages 2 through 12 (dinner prices are not included). See www.itm.org for reservation and train schedule information.
Family Fun at the Farm begins Memorial Day Weekend on Friday, May 27th at Stonycreek Farm and runs each weekend through August 28th. Featuring a zipline, train, hayrides, farm animals and a jumping pillow and pedal cars, there are activities for all ages. A $10 bracelet can be purchased for all activities excluding the zipline, or $20 for all activities including the zipline. Visit www.stonycreekfarm.net for more information.
Stop by to see the smiling cows at the organic artisan dairy farm, Trader's Point Creamery. Daily self-guided tours are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $2 per person ages 4 and up and includes the 1.3 mile Eagle Creek trail walk if desired (the trail is open until 3 p.m., when the herd moving begins). Watch the cow milking in the milking parlor at 4 p.m. and be sure to take some milk or yogurt home from the dairy store.
For a fun alternative to the pool, check out Splash Island, where waterslides, floating lily pads, whirlpools and water guns make this summer hot spot a kids paradise. Open from Saturday, May 28th through Labor Day, hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Ticket prices are $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for school age kids and $5.50 for preschoolers. Infants 1 year and younger are free. Visit www.townofplainfield.com for more information.
Greenwood also offers a free summer concert series, at the Greenwood Amphitheater. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and enjoy a wide variety of genres, from country to swing, to the number one Jimmy Buffett tribute band in the country. Concerts generally start at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday or Sunday evenings, and begins on May 15. Visit www.greenwood.in.gov for the schedule.
For over forty years the popular Mrs. Curl Ice Cream Shop has supplied sweet tooths young and old alike with milkshakes and soft serve ice cream. Enjoy the outdoor seating and the park across the street along with your sweet treats. www.mrscurl.com
These are just some of the things you can do this summer for your summer fun. For more great ideas, be sure to check Indy's Child's monthly calendar for more events, classes and more!
KRISTA BOCKO is a freelance writer and lives in Noblesville, Indiana with her husband and four children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org