Holliday Park and Nature Center
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This web site is provided as a public service by the Friends of Holliday Park.

Friends of Holliday Park

About Holliday Park

Come and be a part of this vast, 94-acre city park located on the north side of Indianapolis, where you can explore the nature center, play on one of the city’s best, hard-to-leave playgrounds, hike more than 3.5 miles of picturesque trails or walk down to the banks of the White River.

Admission to Holliday Park and the Nature Center is free! Some classes and programs have fees.

Deck in the woods

Nature Center

The 13,000 square foot Nature Center focuses on Marion County and Holliday Park natural and environmental history and features hands-on, discovery-based activities for all ages. Two classrooms host classes on nature, after-school activities and arts and crafts with an environmental theme.

The bird and wildlife observation area offers numerous feeding stations with a sound system to allow viewers to hear the birds, and extensive wildflower gardens and a wildlife-friendly prairie are located nearby.

Nature Center entrance nature exhibit area

Playgrounds

After undergoing an extensive renovation, the playground at Holliday Park boasts state-of-the-art equipment in distinct areas designed to bring out the child in everyone. Conquer the rock climbing wall, test your bravery on a five, 10 or 20-foot slide tower and see if you can make it to the top of the spider’s web. Younger children will enjoy exploring tunnels, crossing bridges and swinging next to mom or dad. When it’s time to refuel, families will find a number of picnic tables and benches to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Playground

The Ruins

In the 1950s, the St. Paul Building, at 220 Broadway in New York City, was torn down to make way for a modern skyscraper. Karl Bitter, one of the outstanding architectural sculptors of the late 19th century, had designed the facade of the original building, including three massive statues made of Indiana limestone called “the Races of Man.” To find a new home for the sculptures, the building’s owner, the Western Electric Company, held a competition among U.S. cities, which were required to submit plans for their display and preservation. Indianapolis proposed to place them in Holliday Park, which was then an arboretum, and the city was ultimately awarded the highly prized sculptures, valued at the time at $150,000.

Elmer Taflinger, who provided the sketches for the proposed structure, was chosen to carry out the design. He worked to complete the project over the next 20 years. For the complete story, download History of the Ruins at Holliday Park (PDF, 713 KB).

Statues Statues and columns

Gardens and landscaping

The diverse landscaping and gardens of Holliday Park provide visitors beauty no matter what the season. A walk through the grounds will take you through prairie habitat and native wildflower gardens, as well as provide inspiring views of beds cared for by groups such as the Fall Creek Garden Club, Indiana Daffodil Society, Indiana Daylily-Iris Society and Indianapolis Hosta Society. Holliday Park also boasts an arboretum with over 1,200 individual trees labeled by species, and the newly-restored, breathtaking Rock Garden dating back to the early days of the park.

Flowering dogwood tree

Trails

Discover why people feel they have left the city while visiting Holliday Park. More than 3.5 miles of trails lead hikers into the park’s densely wooded ravines, past natural springs and wetlands and along a dramatic stretch of the White River. While exploring, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife; over 200 species of birds have been spotted in the park, as well as deer, fox, beaver, rabbits, squirrels and many other species that reside in this natural oasis.

Trail through woods

White River

Flowing in two forks across most of Central and Southern Indiana, White River creates the largest watershed contained entirely within the state, draining all or part of nearly half the counties. The section of the West Fork at Holliday Park is among the most wooded in Marion County and is home to bass, bluegill and macroinvertebrates as well as great blue herons, owls, beaver and red fox. Anglers and paddlers alike frequent this riparian corridor.

A wheelchair-accessible platform can be reached from a parking lot on the southeast corner of Meridian Street and Arden Avenue, as shown on our Holliday Park map.

kayaks on the river Fisherman casting