White River State Park offers options for Spring Break
Looking for Spring Break options that will tear kids away from their screens and entertain Mom and Dad, too?
Downtown Indy’s White River State Park offers something for every family member.
Nowhere else in the Midwest offers such a range of experiences in such a concentrated area. Park once at White River State Park and you’ll be within a short walk of experiences and exhibits that let you do everything from catching a ballgame or wandering among swarms of butterflies to getting an inside look at a tornado to celebrating man’s best friend through art.
And in between all those activities, you can even find a spot to spread out on the grass and relax.
“In addition to our fabulous attractions, White River State Park has great greenspace, trails, waterways and art sculptures to explore right in the heart of downtown Indy,” said Carolene Mays-Medley, executive director of the White River State Park Development Commission. “We encourage families to take advantage of the park as a place to walk, bike, picnic and explore.”
Here are some highlights of spring break activities throughout White River State Park:
Celebrating the extraordinary bond between people and dogs in the American West, the exhibit “Dogs: Faithful and True” offers art and interactive experiences that bring to life the many roles dogs play: as companions, workers and heroes. Geared toward visitors of all ages, the exhibit’s striking works of art are complemented by workshops, discussions and activities highlighting pet adoptions, dog obedience, mushing and herding, dog-centric films and pet photography and portraits.
The Indiana State Museum is putting nature’s power on display with “Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters.” See what causes the ground to shake, the wind to spin and rock to melt as you explore the science behind earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and volcanoes. Listen in on firsthand audio accounts of what it’s like to live through a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina.
Want to try your hand at playing Mother Nature? Simulate an earthquake or build a volcano and watch it erupt. Want to get a unique view of nature’s power? Watch the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami sweep across the globe, or step into the circular theater to watch the only footage ever captured inside a twister.
“Extreme Weather 3D” brings audiences face-to-face with Mother Nature at her most dangerous, and the massive screen, 3D images and rumbling sound system at the IMAX Theatre mean you don’t just watch nature … you experience it. This film about wildfires, melting glaciers and tornadoes shows how climate change is spawning a new, increasingly dangerous, weather reality. Directed and filmed by Sean Casey (“Storm Chasers”, “Tornado Alley”, “Forces of Nature”), “Extreme Weather 3D” showcases breathtaking cinematography reflecting Casey’s life-long immersion in the world of giant-screen nature documentaries.
A live-action remake of the studio’s animated classic, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” refashions the traditional characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience. While the new film stays true to the original music and film, it does update the score with several new songs and scenes. The IMAX Theater is one of the premier theaters to offer the film, as it will be presented in an expanded IMAX 1.9:1 aspect ratio to fill 26 percent more of the screen than in standard theaters.
Spring brings butterflies … and they’re coming early to the warm, aromatic Hilbert Conservatory at White River Gardens. Butterfly Kaleidoscope arrives March 17, with new butterflies being released daily to take their first flights. Visitors can learn about the metamorphosis of these winged beauties and see the process in action through the specimens on display. Don’t forget the camera to capture a blue morpho, monarch or great owl butterfly as they float on air currents or even land on visitors. Of course, you’ll also want to stop by next door at the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan exhibit, at the St. Vincent Dolphin Pavilion and Marine Mammals area, and at the various exhibits and biomes throughout the zoo.
For college sports fans, spring is one of the best times of all. What better way to engage in a little Hoosier Hysteria and March Madness than to visit the NCAA Hall of Champions and experience a retro gym. But there’s more than hoops here: You’ll find sports simulators and hands-on displays from all 24 NCAA sports. A special exhibit features the Missouri Valley Conference, the nation’s second-oldest NCAA Division I conference and one of the nation’s most progressive conferences.
Break free from cabin fever as the Indianapolis Indians open the 2017 season with a seven-game home stand April 6-12, at Victory Field, recognized as one of the best ballparks in America. Families can be assured of inexpensive, memorable fun, because individual ticket prices range from $11 to $17 but are discounted $2 when purchased in advance. Promotions this season include Kids Eat Free Sundays, Thursday Craft Beer Nights, Friday Fireworks and much more. And kids can take in the action all season long with the Knot Hole Kids Club. Memberships are $17 and include a ticket to every home game, a t-shirt and a chance to run the bases after every Sunday home game.
If the weather cooperates, consider taking a scenic tour of the 250-acre Park with Segway® of Indiana, or exploring miles of bike paths on a variety of bicycle styles from Wheel Fun Rentals or the Pacers Bikeshare, both of which rent bikes in front of the Indiana State Museum. Call the Visitors Center in advance (800-665-9056) to check availability.
One of the great things about the Park is that you can park once and walk everywhere. Parking lots include the underground garage located off Washington Street in front of the Indiana State Museum, the surface parking lot at the Indianapolis Zoo, and the surface parking lot across from Victory Field next to the Park’s Visitor’s Center. Parking is not guaranteed and is on a first-come, first-served basis.