Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Indy on a Budget
10 Free Things to do in Indy this Spring

by Krista Bocko

April 01, 2011

1. Learn to Drum

Every Thursday night Bongo Boy Music School in Castleton hosts a free community drum circle for all ages and levels—no experience is necessary. Drums and instruction are provided, making this is a great and unique family activity. The drum circle takes place from 7 to 8 p.m. with a Pre-Jam session beginning at 6:45 p.m. Go to for details.

2. Make a Kite

Children ages 6 through 13 can learn about kite flying and can make their own kite in a Kite Making Workshop. This workshop is held at various Indianapolis libraries, which includes the Irvington, Shelby and Brightwood Branches in the months of April and May, and the Central Library in early June. Visit to see dates and times and to register for the workshop.

3. Take a Trip to a Local Park

Discover, or re-discover, some of the most beautiful parks and gardens in Indy. Holliday Park has a great playground with a rock climbing wall, tunnels, “spider web” and more. Be sure to check out the nature center and the unusual “ruins” on the grounds. Go to for details.

4. Make Music with Paper Instruments

Check out the Paper Jam at Garfield Park Saturday, May 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. Make paper instruments and jam along with live music at the Arts Center, then learn how to use paper scraps to make a new sheet of unique plant-able paper. You can also learn to make and fly paper airplanes or kites. Go to for more information.

5. Take a Walk Along the Canal

Day or night, the Canal in downtown Indianapolis is a great place to take a stroll along the tranquil water and to view the beautiful sights. While you’re there, check out the USS Indianapolis National Memorial, located on the north end of the Canal at Senate Avenue and Walnut Street.

6. Visit Indy’s Slow Food Garden

At the Canal in downtown, you’ll also be in close proximity to Indiana’s only urban state park, White River State Park, where you can visit Indy’s first Slow Food Garden, a 6,000 square foot urban vegetable garden. Seedlings will be transplanted to the garden beginning in April, and the public can get up close and personal with the plants throughout the growing season. Maybe you and your child would even like to volunteer! Go to or for more information.

7. Outdoor Art Exhibit

Check out some outdoor art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s 100-Acres Exhibit, where interactive art sculptures by artists around the world await visitors. Kids will enjoy “Funky Bones” and the 15 yellow undulating benches that punctuate the 100-Acres Art experience. Make sure you check out the 26-acre Lilly Gardens, with its reflecting pools, statues, and winding paths.

8. Strawberry Hill

Make your way up to the tallest point in Marion County up on Strawberry Hill in Crown Hill Cemetery. Take in the view as you look out at the spring flowering trees and over at the spectacular view of the Indianapolis skyline. Sunset views are amazing, too. Kids will also get a history lesson, because Indiana poet and native James Whitcomb Riley is buried at the crest of the hill.

9. Earth Day Festival

Visit the Earth Day Festival, rain or shine, on Saturday April 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at White River State Park. Learn more about living green with over 130 exhibits and special kids activities, as well as live music and good food. After that, be inspired to take a walk and clean up the Earth by grabbing a couple of trash bags and picking up trash together to beautify your own neighborhood.

10. Indy 500 Parade

Finally, kick off the start of summer at the Indy 500 Parade which takes place on Saturday, May 28. Starting at noon, the parade begins at North and Pennsylvania Streets, heads south to Washington, goes around the circle and back north up Meridian, and then ends at Meridian and 11th Streets. Bleacher seat tickets may be purchased, however there is plenty of free streetside seating along the route. You’ll want to get there early to get a good spot and make sure to bring blankets, chairs, snacks & drinks!

Happy Spring! I would love to hear other free ways that you celebrate springtime in Indy.