White River State Park boasts world-class attractions and destinations that offer distinctive experiences for every interest and visitor! Yes, you will find green spaces, trails, trees, and waterways that you expect at any state park. In addition to nature’s wonderland, you will find cultural, educational, and recreational attractions and events in our urban getaway’s 250-acres. Must-dos and must-sees, such as the Mini-Marathon post-race celebration, The Lawn at White River State Park (Concert Series), Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art’s Indian Market, Rib America Festival, Indianapolis Irish Festival, Dig-IN A Taste of Indiana, Indiana Black Expo’s Circle City Classic Pep Rally, Indiana State Museum’s Celebration Crossing, and the revitalized FREE Shakespeare on the Canal at White River State Park are just a few of the diverse reasons to experience the Park all year – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.
Also, White River State Park is a spectacular place to hold your next memorable event. Our greenspaces and facility rentals are perfect locations for weddings, parties, charity events, and other must-do experiences. In addition to special events, the Park is a breathtaking place just to relax. Whether you are catching Indianapolis Indians Baseball (Victory Field in the Park), having a family picnic, relaxing under shaded trees, strolling along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, exercising along the Historic Central Canal, or just tossing around a football doing your best #12 Andrew Luck imitation (or reminiscing about All-Pros #18 Peyton Manning and #63 Jeff Saturday) in Celebration Plaza, there is more to do than you ever knew. Located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, White River State Park is the place you can enjoy the outdoors without ever leaving the city.
The Indiana General Assembly created the White River State Park Development Commission in 1979 as a quasi-governmental agency. It operates outside of the state park system and the Department of Natural Resources. This was done so the Commission could build the Park without restrictions often placed on state agencies, and so they could think “outside the box” for present and future developments. The Commission is composed of the Mayor of the City of Indianapolis, the President of Indiana University, the Director of the Department of Natural Resources, and seven citizens appointed by the Governor for four year staggered terms. Four members of the Indiana General Assembly also serve as non-voting members of the White River State Park Development Commission.
The first attraction to call the Park home was the Indianapolis Zoo in 1988. The following year, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art opened its door to the community. Following the openings of these two world-class destinations, there was much discussion as to what else was needed in the Park. Many ideas were suggested – including a Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park. With skillful foresight, the Park became home to Indianapolis Indians Baseball at Victory Field, the state’s largest IMAX® Theater (still the largest), the NCAA® Hall of Champions Museum (and the NCAA® World Headquarters), the Indiana State Museum, and The Lawn at White River State Park (Concert Venue). With all of these magnificent attractions within the Park, it was important to have the infrastructure to support these destinations. A unique partnership of the state, city, federal governments, and private businesses constructed viable pathways (for both pedestrians and vehicles), Historic Central Canal, Historic Old Washington Street (Pedestrian) Bridge, and Celebration Plaza in the Park.