Indy Parks 100 Year Celebration Kick-Off Event: A Century of Innovative Green Spaces

Indianapolis hasn’t always had the far reaching and comprehensive system of parks that it does today. In the mid 1800’s, in fact, the Circle City only had Military Park, a former militia training ground that had been outfitted with fountains and walkways. When the city’s population skyrocketed at the turn of the century, the city government saw the need for a broader system of parks that could better serve Indianapolis people. The Indianapolis Park Commission was founded in 1895, but legal wrangling, lack of funds, and disagreement among residents caused some snags in the plan. In came George Edward Kessler, one of the country’s most renowned landscape architects. In 1908, Kessler began creating the foundation for the current Indianapolis parks system with his Kessler Park and Boulevard System.

Now, 100 years later, the Indianapolis parks system comprises dozens of interconnected green spaces that provide recreation for everybody. Most residents take these beautiful landmarks for granted, but Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard has recently declared 2011 to be “The Year of Indy Parks” in recognition of the founding of the Kessler Park and Boulevard System. And the city’s park system is celebrating in style. On Saturday, January 22, 2011, Garfield Park and Conservatory will be hosting the Indy Parks 100 Year Celebration Kick-Off event in honor of the rich history of Indy parks and recreation. Held in downtown Indianapolis at the picturesque Garfield Park Sunken Gardens, the Indy Parks 100 Year Celebration Kick-Off is a family friendly smorgasbord that includes food, dancing, and a scavenger hunt to remember.

There will be plenty of hands on activities for Indianapolis children and their parents at the Indy Parks 100 Year Celebration Kick-Off. If you have a GPS and an adventurous spirit, you can try your hand at geocaching at Indianapolis landmarks dotting the city. Geocaching is an interactive scavenger hunt; clues are strewn throughout Marion County and your only resource for finding them is your handy GPS unit  and the clues you find scattered along the way. Get the coordinates for each clue and use your noggin to claim the ultimate prize! The geocaching contest at the Indy Parks 100 Year Celebration Kick-Off will take you to over 100 different park landmarks, many of them Indianapolis attractions in their own right. You and your kids can also witness the grace and power of Brazilian Capoeira dancers; who knows, you might even learn a few moves yourself! And at the end of the day, you can take a souvenir home with you; participants are invited to create their own commemorative clay tile for the 100 Years of Indy Parks celebration.

Come on down to Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens to celebrate a century of vibrant Indianapolis parks at the Indy Parks 100 Year Celebration Kick-Off! Explore the Circle City with your trusty GPS unit, create a clay tile to remember your day on the town, get caught up in the rush of Capoeira dancing, or simply explore the Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens. Besides being absolutely fun, this Indianapolis event is absolutely free, so you have no excuse not to go. In fact, there’s an extra incentive to show up early: the first 100 guests get a free piece of Indy Parks birthday cake. The Indy Parks 100 Year Celebration Kick-Off begins at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 22, 2011 and runs until 2:00, so you’ll still have plenty of time to grab a bite at an Indianapolis restaurant after the event.

Indy Parks 100 Year Celebration Kick-Off
Saturday, January 22, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Tickets: FREE (first 100 guests get free cake)

Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Garden
2505 Conservatory Dr
Indianapolis, IN 46203

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