Summer is officially here, and it has been nothing less than amazing thus far! It’s about creek stomping, firefly catching, and seemingly endless daylight. It’s about creating a whole new batch of memories and remembering those of days past. It’s slowing down. It’s cherishing the moment. Because this season too will pass.
Here in central Indiana, we have a lot of parks. We have over 12 within 20 minutes of our house! Needless to say, there is always plenty to choose from when choosing a day outing. Here are a few local events we’re looking forward to attending this summer!
Bamboo Wind Chimes
Create your own natural wind chime while learning about wind and what causes the wind to blow! What will your whimsical wind chime look like? Recommended for ages 6 through adult. $3/project (up to 2 people per project).
Get to know the various kinds of animals that visit or live at McCloud Nature Park, visit the Bee House, and build a simple bird feeder to take home. For youngsters (age 2-5) with adult. $12 fee covers both child and adult. Maximum enrollment is 12 children. We prefer a 1:1 adult-to-child ratio, with the exception of siblings (in that case, one adult for two siblings is fine).
Young Adventurers Camp
Look for animals, build a shelter, and go on an adventure! Become an expert of all kinds of McCloud animals. For kids ages 6-12.
Creek Critters and Bugs
Step into the natural habitat of our local aquatic creatures! Together we will capture water insects to see how healthy Big Walnut Creek’s ecosystem is. Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes in the creek to protect your feet. A towel and extra shoes and socks are also recommended, and don’t forget your water bottle! (If the creek or weather conditions are unsafe, there will be alternative activities.) This program is FREE to attend, appropriate for all ages, and no advance registration is required.
Nature’s Floral Fireworks
Nature is bursting with color in the summer and putting on a vibrant display just in time for the 4th of July! Learn to identify some of our native wildflowers and discover which ones will complement your landscaping! Hiking terrain info: easy to moderate difficulty, natural and gravel surfaces, up to 2 miles.
Firefly Night Hike
Learn why fireflies flash (and why they never have to pay an electric bill!), and catch and release these bioluminescent insects! Registered participants will receive glow sticks and insect jars. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a water bottle. Recommended for ages 6 through adult. $5/person.
Fly Fishing for Beginners
Have you ever wanted to try fly fishing? Learn the basics of fly fishing during this hands-on program. We will go over some of the local fish that you can catch, as well as assemble fly fishing rods and practice casting on land. No fishing license is needed, as this is on land only. Dress for the weather and bring a water bottle. Recommended for ages 13+.
These majestic birds have recovered from their endangered status, and it is much more common to spot bald eagles now. With any luck, we’ll see our national bird flying along Big Walnut Creek! Be sure to bring your camera and a water bottle, and wear comfortable hiking shoes as we learn all about these regal creatures who double as our national symbol. Hiking terrain info: easy to moderate difficulty, grass and gravel surfaces, up to 2 miles. This program is FREE to attend, appropriate for all ages, and no advance registration is required.
Get messy! Help make mud soup and mud pies, paint with natural materials, create natural crafts, and play outdoor games. For youngsters (age 2-5) with adult. $12 fee covers both child and adult. Maximum enrollment is 12 children. We prefer a 1:1 adult-to-child ratio, with the exception of siblings (in that case, one adult for two siblings is fine).
Creek Stomp Hike #2
Cool off and enjoy a splashing good time in Big Walnut Creek! Stomp in the water with Naturalists to learn about the health of the creek and to discover some great places to explore! Wear closed-toe water shoes or old sneakers, bring towels, and don’t forget your water bottle! (If the creek or weather conditions are unsafe, there will be alternative activities.) Recommended for ages 6+.
With Christmas being just weeks away, we have officially started our Christmas shopping! I know, it’s a bit early, but sometimes it takes a while to find unique, fun, and educational gifts for our little outdoor lovers. These have been our favorites for the past few years, and will probably remain favorites for years to come!
Science on a Tracking Expedition
Track through exciting hands-on science experiments and activities! We love this kit!
Because, seriously, everyone needs a bug vacuum! Hehee!
SAS Survival Guide-Pocket Size
The perfect pocket sized survival guide for both kids and adults!
The LifeStraw® Personal water filter, and LifeStraw® Go water filter bottle will filter 1,000 liters of water (264 gallons). A great item to keep on hand for emergencies, or in our case, a fun tool to take out to the creek!
Wooden Animal Slingshots
Every little boy’s favorite! 🙂
Camp Board Game
Learn about the great outdoors with CAMP!! A family favorite!
See the world in a new way! From rocks, to trees, to critters. This book is our family’s favorite nature resource!
Ant Universe- Gel Habitat
Provides hours of watching and observing fun!
Knot Tying Game
A perfect game for road trips!
Do you have a favorite nature/outdoor activity? Post below! 🙂
In Indiana, there’s always a reason to celebrate.
Car shows, historic reenactments, carnivals, art fairs, music festivals, county fairs – Sky’s the limit! Each year, over 640 festivals and events are held in all 92 counties from January to December. Here are our favorite Fall events! 🙂
#1. Summer’s End Market
Summer’s End Market August 26th- 9am-2pm | Parke County Fairgrounds As the summer is coming to an end, this market will provide for you a great opportunity to shop those unique vendors, yet again. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through an inside building and plenty of parking.
#2. Bridgeton Milling & Craft Demo Days
Bridgeton Grist Mill 1878 Grounds Live demonstrations at the mill. Grinding flour and cornmeal on 200 year old French buhr stones. Pioneer craft demonstrations, fiber arts. No admission. For more information call 765-548-2136 or visit www.bridgetonindiana.com
#3. Covered Bridge Festival
This countywide festival, Indiana’s largest festival, always starts on the 2nd Friday in October is nationally known as one of the largest. Enjoy visiting communities throughout the county with a wide array of shopping and a variety of food that is sure to please everyone.
#4. Elephant Retreat
Circus History is deep rooted in French Lick with the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus once owned by Ed Ballard. An African elephant herd of three girls will be retreating at Wilstem Ranch, only 7 miles from French Lick. The three elephants that retreat at Wilstem Ranch each year are retired from making appearances in parades, circus acts and more. But as they age, even elephants need retreats, and they’re coming to town for a vacation! This one of a kind up-close encounter is a rare and wonderful opportunity to learn more about these amazing creatures and connect with them in a tranquil environment. Various levels of engagement are available.
#5. 50th Annual Orange County Pumpkin Festival
Carnival, food booths, vendor booths, flea market, games, entertainment and more. Parade will be held on Sunday.
#6. Outdoor Movie Night!
Family Movie Night August 18, 2017 Location: Hendricks Regional Health YMCA Address: 301 Satori Parkway, Avon, IN 46123 Time: 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM Price: Free
#7. McCloud Prairie Maze
September 1, 2017 – October 31, 2017 Recurring daily Bring the whole family out to test your navigational skills from Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 in our huge maze that is cut into the McCloud Prairie. The maze is open from dawn to dusk daily. Be sure to wear comfortable closed-toe shoes, dress for the weather, and pack some water. Venue: McCloud Nature Park Host: McCloud Nature Park Address: 8518 Hughes Rd., North Salem, IN 46165 Price: Free
#8. North Salem Old Fashioned Days
September 2, 2017 – September 4, 2017 Recurring daily Three days of family fun! Live music, vendors, food, tractor pulls and horse pulls! A smorgasboard breakfast kicks off the festival at 7 a.m. on Saturday at the United Methodist Church on Main Street. At 11 a.m., you can’t miss the Old Fashion Days Parade, the largest parade in Hendricks County. Be sure to bring a sack for the kiddos as candy will be aplenty and plan to come early as parking will fill up fast.
#9. Natural Valley Ranch
This family-owned ranch set in a scenic wooded area allows visitors to experience 30-, 60- and 90-minute horseback rides through their sprawling 75-acre property nestled alongside White Lick Creek near Brownsburg. In addition to horseback rides, visitors can see and interact with farm animals, go hiking, fishing or even stay in a 3,100-square-foot country cottage with a wrap-around porch that can sleep 12-16 people.
#10. Beasley’s Orchard
Voted a top Indiana destination, this family-owned business boasts a Civil War-era barn featuring a local market with both homemade and home-grown produce and products including apples, fresh vegetables, jellies and more. Other features include a pumpkin patch, corn maze and annual Heartland Apple Festival in the fall. Visitors can even enjoy a cup of Beasley’s apple cider, voted by the Indiana Horticultural Society ‘The Best Apple Cider in Indiana’ .
Do you have a favorite festival? If so, share it below! 🙂