My kids have been begging me to check out the newly opened playground at Tarkington Park since they started hearing the school yard gossip about how amazing the redeveloped park is. And like any good mom, I gave into peer pressure when we had a unexpected 60 degree Saturday morning in January. As always, those kiddos know what they’re talking about because this new playground blew me away with how creative and innovative it was. If you’re a local Indianapolis resident, you have to check it out as soon as possible and if you’re visiting Indianapolis, the park is only a few blocks from our outstanding Children’s Museum.
Located at 38th and Illinois, Tarkington Park is part of the fantastic Indy Parks Department and has long been a part of the Butler-Tarkington and greater Midtown neighborhood. The park is currently being reimagined as part of some larger economic development in the area and is being updated in phases. The playground space recently opened and I can’t say enough great things about how interesting the space is for kids and adults.
The playground is spread out over a series of astroturf hills that embeds the equipment in a way that kids can explore and interact with almost every surface of the park. My boys spent as much time sliding down the the turf hills as they did on the actual play equipment and I loved that the surfaces won’t ever be muddy since everything is artificial.
Both my 7 year old and 4 year old found plenty to do and I saw kids anywhere from 1-12 find ways to play. The huge amount of climbing surfaces makes sure that all kids have a challenge but nobody gets left out. There’s also several elements in one area that create music and it made for a very pleasant soundtrack while we were there.
Because the play elements are all spread out, the park feel less crowded than a single play structure although it does make it a bit harder to see the whole playground from one point of view so make sure you set clear expectations for your kids on where they can wander.
A building that will eventually house a cafe and restrooms is almost complete and there’s plenty of bench seating all around the playground for parents to grab a seat and catch up. Come summertime, the splash pad area on the other side of the shelter will provide some much needed relief from the heat since this park has almost no shade which I hope will change once the landscaping is complete.
Living closer to the city, we don’t always have a strong neighborhood connection but I’m so excited about the potential of this park to offer a hub for families all across the area. In the hour we were there, I ran into two other families we knew and I saw several other families greet each other in surprise so I’m anticipating this being a perfect spot to catch up with friends and neighbors all year long.
Have you checked out Tarkington Park yet? What’s your favorite place to play either here in Indy or in your town? Leave a comment with the best park you’ve visited recently.