I don’t use the word “magical” very often to describe outdoor experiences. I’m am indoorsy city girl from Southern California, and I’m more at home among air-conditioned shopping malls than I am in the great outdoors. But when we moved to Indiana, I wanted my kids to experience all the woodsy, outdoorsy bounty that the Midwest had to offer. I wanted them to enjoy running barefoot, splashing in the water and getting wet, and discovering insects, plants, and animals that live in nature. Creek stomping fit all these criteria, so off we went to find some creeks to stomp in.
Marott Park, located near College Street and 73rd Street in Indianapolis, is and always will be the magical park at which to creek stomp. It’s hard not to think of it that way, despite initial first appearances. Because from the parking lot, Marott Park looks like a whole lot of nothing. There’s a few picnic tables, and a big, grassy field. Most people probably visit Marott Park and think, “That’s it? Where’s the creek?” But the magical part happens when you walk past the grassy field and spy a dirt path that leads you through a wooded area. Follow the path, and you’re immediately transported into a beautiful area full of babbling creeks, bridges, tall trees that rustle in the breeze and wildlife galore. It kind of feels like stepping into Wonderland!
The great thing about Marott Park is that the creeks are relatively shallow (depending on how much it has rained recently, of course). This makes it a nice place to bring toddlers and kids who might be reluctant to wade into natural bodies of water. The few times we have visited, the water was tame and just trickles along slowly and was completely unintimidating. My kids love to throw rocks into the water, and this place is the perfect park at which to do that. There are so many rocks to dunk and skip.
As you make your way around the 84 acres of this park, look sharp for another path that will take you to the banks of Williams Creek, a tributary of the White River. This is another great place to wade and creek stomp, because the water is clear and shallow, and the bank is wide and sandy — almost like a beach. This area of Marott Park seems to be the most popular during the summer, and you’ll see lots of families and dogs splashing and having a good time in this wide, open section of the park. It’s also where you’ll find a lot of cool-looking rocks of all different colors, shapes, and sizes. This bank of Marott Park is a rock collector’s paradise.
If you are looking for a place to experience the magic of creek stomping, Marott Park is a great place to explore! Luckily, Indianapolis is full of creeks and rivers, so creek stomping locales abound in the city.
Here are a few other places around Indianapolis where your kids can stomp til’ their heart’s content:
6363 Spring Mill Rd. Indianapolis
This is a huge park with many spots for jumping in the water! You can find several shallow tributaries that stem from the nearby White River.
2000 E. 151st Street, Carmel
There are lots of little creeks and tributaries to stomp in at Cool Creek. You can find creeks a short hike from the Cool Creek Nature Center.
5100 E. 116th Street, Carmel
This 18-acre park has a small hiking trail that takes you to an area where you can splash in Cool Creek. After you’re done creek stomping, stop at the artesian well at the front of the park and fill a water jug full of natural, drinkable water.
5624 S. Carroll Rd., New Palestine
Ponds, wetlands and Buck Creek await you at this park on the east side.
Apple Street and US 40, Greenfield
Lots of creek stomping opportunities at this quiet park.