Did you know that Indianapolis is home to the nation’s largest municipal park? My husband and I discovered Eagle Creek Park a few months after we moved to the city last year. We had wanted to go on a picnic but didn’t want to stray too far from the city because neither of us is from the area. We learned about the park from a long time Indianapolis resident. Not long after we ventured into the park my husband and I fell in love with the place.
It’s not hard to forget that you are surrounded by a city while you explore the park. Eagle Creek Park covers 1,400 acres of water and 3,900 acres of forest. Forest surrounds you on all sides and the deeper you go the more you feel you have wandered into untapped wilderness. Eagle Creek Park can be accessed through the North gate, located on 71st street, and the South gate, located on 56th street. The main road running through the park is 62nd street. The park is so large it is best for any visitor to obtain a map upon entry. The City of Indianapolis primarily uses the park as a nature reserve and it is the only city park that charges admission. The cost of admission is generally $5 per car but sometimes the park entrance is free for special occasions. The park is completely self-sustaining and most of the activities within the park were designed to provide financial support for projects within the park.
One of my favorite places to visit in the park is the Ornithology Center. Located along the eastern shore of the bird sanctuary, the Ornithology Center offers one of the best places to watch for birds at the bird sanctuary. The bird sanctuary is home to 260 of the 400 different bird species seen in Indiana. Popular birds sightings at the bird sanctuary include Bald Eagles, Double-crested Cormorants, Loons, Grebes and Great Blue Herons. During the early summer mornings visitors may be able to see the group of Turkey Vultures that roosts in the trees behind the Ornithology Center. The Ornithology Center also has a hummingbird garden and a feeder area. Visitors can hike around the bird sanctuary and get and closer look to the birds. One of the best places to photograph the birds is along the pathway that divides the bird sanctuary from the Eagle Creek Reservoir.
Eagle Creek Park has more to offer residents of Marion County. Other park activities include a beach, marina, picnic areas, 10 hiking trails, Discovery center, zipline, and more. You don’t want to miss this park if you love the outdoors.