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Best Things to do with Kids on Indy’s North Side – Indoor & Outdoors

I work three days a week (in case you didn’t know, I’m an Indianapolis family photographer), which means I get to soak up precious moments with my kids for the remaining two (plus weekends). And let me tell you, those two days are all about hitting the pavement and exploring! With little ones aged 8, 5, and 2, I’ve pretty much got the whole city mapped out. Being Carmel residents, we’ve got a soft spot for the north side. Plus, bonus points: most of our go-to spots won’t break the bank.

Frequently, my Indianapolis photography clients inquire about my go-to spots for family outings. So, I’ve compiled our favorite destinations in one handy guide for you to enjoy too! Get ready for a rundown of our top picks for family adventures on Indy’s north side.

Carter’s Play Place in Westfield, Indiana

Carter's Play Place in Westfiled, IN

Carter’s offers an inclusive indoor gym catering to children of all abilities. From abundant swings to a foam pit, ball pit, climbing structures, zip lines, slides, and beyond, there’s no shortage of excitement. It’s the perfect outlet for kids to fulfill their sensory needs before nap time rolls around. Plus, admission comes with complimentary popcorn and coffee. Our family opted for the yearly pass and the kids have yet to tire of this location! Insider tip: Opt for weekday mornings to enjoy the place all to yourselves.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis - Kids Playing

While not the most budget-friendly option, it promises an unforgettable experience! Our kids are particularly fond of the outdoor attractions available during the summer months. For those with little ones under 5, the Playscape is a surefire hit.

WonderTree Farm in Zionsville

Wondertree Farm in Zionsville

WonderTree Farm holds a special place in my kids’ hearts. As a regenerative farm, it offers an enriching experience for visitors. The highlight? Their Farm Days, held on select Saturdays throughout the summer. These days are packed with horseback riding, animal petting, farm tours, delectable treats, and much more. For those weekday explorers, the farm welcomes visitors during specific hours, allowing time to interact with the animals. Among my kids’ favorite activities is chasing the barn cats. The best part? It’s almost free! While there’s no admission fee, they kindly request that you make a purchase during your visit. With offerings like the finest eggs, meat, and milk in town, it’s a win-win situation.


Newfields with Kids

Did you know that Indianapolis’ art museum, Newfields, offers free admission on the first Friday of every month? You just need to reserve your tickets online in advance, but they’re completely free. We’ve taken advantage of this and never encountered large crowds. Definitely worth a visit!

Holliday Park in Indianapolis

Situated on Indy’s north side, Holiday Park is a hidden gem with a multitude of offerings! From numerous hiking trails with water access to captivating ruins featuring a water feature, perfect for year-round exploration and summer water play. During the winter months, visitors can enjoy the indoor nature center. With one of the largest parks in the area, the best part is that all these amenities come free of charge!

Any of the Playgrounds in Carmel

Playgrounds in Carmel, Indiana

Carmel, Indiana truly excels in playground design. Each one is simply outstanding! Our top picks include Central Park and the Nature Adventure Playground at Jill Perelman Pavilion. Central Park is ideal for outings with all three kids, offering amenities for children of all ages and abilities. On the other hand, the Nature Adventure Playground is a well-kept secret, often delightfully deserted. Dubbed “the Ninja park” by my son, it features a zip line and ninja-style obstacles. Personally, I appreciate the ample shade and enclosed space this park provides.

Flowing Wells Park in Carmel

Flowing Wells Park in Carmel, IN

In the summer months we also love Flowing Wells park in Carmel. It’s like the beach for this landlocked suburb. We bring float toys and lunch and make a day of it!

The Park at Traders Point Church

The Park at Traders Point Church

This indoor playground is a hidden gem, and best of all, it’s free! Boasting an expansive space, it’s sure to impress. Just remember to check the public hours before heading over. Your kids are guaranteed to have a blast at this fantastic spot!

Brightly Art Studio

Brightly Art Studio

A haven for art enthusiasts, this place is truly magical. If my daughter had her way, she’d choose this spot every time. Our family loves attending the Preschool Play Group here. They offer a variety of open-ended art activities, allowing kids to freely explore and create. It’s an enchanting hour filled with crafting fun!

The Carmel Library

A hub of free activities awaits at the Carmel Library. From engaging story times to pre-K art/story sessions, there’s something for everyone. My son particularly enjoys the Chess club, and we’ve also had the pleasure of attending various special events hosted here. With a Carmel library card, all these activities are accessible at no cost.

Mid Town Plaza in Carmel

Mid Town Plaza in Carmel

A vibrant and lively spot in Carmel, IN, Midtown Plaza offers endless entertainment options. On beautiful days, we enjoy dining outdoors at one of the local restaurants, followed by a leisurely stroll along the Monon Trail, hopping from park to park. There’s no shortage of activities here, including skeeboard, ping pong, pool, two playgrounds, and a splash pad. To keep the adventure budget-friendly, consider packing a lunch and enjoying it at one of the picnic tables along the route.

Indoor Pool at the Monon Community Center

Indoor Pool at Carmel Monon Center

During the winter months, we’re constantly seeking indoor activities, and the Monon Center comes through with its indoor pool. The pool has two large waterslides, a toddler water slide, a zero-entry pool with water features, a small wading pool, and more. Admission costs approximately $14 for adults and $11 for kids, with children two and under enjoying free entry. It’s worth noting that the indoor pool is closed during the summer months due to the availability of the outdoor waterpark.

Ignite Studio at Hamilton East Public Library in Fishers

The Ignite Studio is in the lower level of the Fishers Library. There are Kid Kits and art activities that can be used in this space. You do not need a library card to use these resources, you can go to the desk, and they will be happy to show you around. The Ignite Studio is open the same hours as the library.

I’m always looking for new places to take the kids around Indianapolis. If you have a favorite spot that I missed, leave it in the comments below. I would love to check out your favorite spot, too!

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