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June 01, 2023

Great Outdoors Month: Let’s Get Outdoors Together!

By Tori Rumschlag, Public Services Librarian

You may already know that spending time outdoors is great for your health. Maybe you read one of the many studies linking nature to positive mental health attributes. Maybe a friend who is really (really, really) into hiking/running/biking/skiing/camping/sporting has tried to get you to join them. Or, maybe you’ve experienced it yourself.

Unfortunately, Americans are spending less time outside than ever before. Surveys have found that children are spending between 35-50% less time outside than their parents, which is a shame, because kids that play in nature demonstrate greater confidence, creativity, focus, and responsibility – and lower stress and fatigue.

June is National Great Outdoors Month. In the spirit of this year’s Summer Reading Program theme of “All Together Now,” let’s explore some places where you and your family can get outdoors together!

Walking and Hiking

Great Outdoors Month kicks off with National Trails Day on the first Saturday in June. Hamilton County is lucky to have over two dozen parks with hiking and/or biking trails.

Forest Park in Noblesville not only offers many in-park trails but also is the trailhead for the White River Greenway (to downtown Noblesville), the Morse Beach Trail, and the trail to Potter’s Bridge. Find the trail map here.

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve in Fishers is one of two state-designated preserves in Hamilton County. It offers over two miles of hiking across nine nature trails, perfect for unwinding and exploring with the family.

Flat Fork Creek Park in Fishers also has plentiful nature trails, as well as a sledding hill, pond, paved trails, boardwalk loop, and ADA-accessible scenic treehouse.

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve


Local Parks

The second Saturday of Great Outdoors Month is National Get Outdoors Day! This may be the perfect day to hit up one of our many local playgrounds.

Finch Creek Park in Noblesville has splash pads, pickleball courts, a basketball court, trails, and an enormous modern playground.

Dillon Park also offers a splash pad, as well as a disc golf course, skate park, multi-use playing fields, and a sprawling playground with tons of activities.

Finch Creek Park

Cyntheanne Park in Fishers is great for sporty families; it includes fields for lacrosse, pickleball, rugby, soccer, and more, as well as a playground that’s perfect for non-structured play.

Roy G. Holland Memorial Park has one of the coolest playgrounds around, with enormous slides and other interactives, as well as basketball, baseball, sand volleyball, soccer, and a splash pad.

Roy G. Holland Memorial Park


Water Fun

What better way to cool off this summer than to visit a local water feature? Many of the aforementioned parks offer free splash pads for a quick and easy cool-down. For a day trip, consider the following options.

Geist Waterfront Park is a ton of fun for families. The pirate-themed playground is a local treasure (arrrrgh)! The beach itself is fun for the young and young-at-heart. There are also kayak, paddle board, and pedal kayak rentals available. Just make sure to check the website to learn about parking limitations at this facility as you plan your trip.

Geist Waterfront Park

The White River Canoe Company offers kayak, canoe, and river tubing at several locations throughout Noblesville. Trips range from an hour to a full day, so there’s options for every family schedule and ability. Just don’t forget to pack your sunscreen for a long day on the water!

Visit a Farm

Going to a farm not only takes your family outside but also brings opportunities for learning about science, nature, and agriculture, as well as new appreciation for food.

Otis the Pig

The Fishers AgriPark is home to gardens, fields, greenhouses, and more. The public can come pick seasonal produce through the U-pick program, meet farm animals (including a pig named Otis!), and play on the grounds. The play area has some of the most unique activities in the county – wanna play on a tractor-tire sand tower or with a mud kitchen? Plus, the Sensory Garden envelopes the senses with music, aromatics, and colors.

Fishers AgriPark

Another local option for U-pick crops is Spencer Farm. The farm offers fresh produce in their market, as well as asparagus and strawberries in the late spring, raspberries in June, and sunflowers in July.

And while you’re out and about this summer, don’t miss HEPL on the Move! The library will be visiting parks and farmers markets throughout the season to connect with patrons, offer fun activities, and talk about library programs and services!

Great Outdoors Month Booklist

Trying to get outside with the kids? Consider checking out one of these books:

“Kids” of all ages may appreciate these titles: