One of my favorite things to do is discover new parks around Indianapolis and the surrounding areas. Fortunately, my kids love playing at parks, so this little interest of mine works out well for everyone involved!
Dan Wakefield Park was completely off my radar until I some friends suggested meeting there for a playdate. Back then, it was called 61st and Broadway Park because … well, it was located between 61st Street and Broadway Street. But in the summer of 2016, the name was changed to celebrate local author Dan Wakefield, who grew up in Indianapolis.
This park turned out to be the perfect park for a play date, especially in the summer, which is when my friends and I met up. During the summer is when the splash pad is turned on, and although it’s nothing fancy, the splash pad is great fun. There are several geysers that bubble and flow from the concrete-covered splash pad area, as well as a tall sprinkler that rains down from up on high. It’s simple and it gets you wet — it’s great for no-frills summertime fun. Every so often — probably to conserve water — the splash pad will turn off. No biggie: Just place your hand on the sensor right by the splash pad, and the water will come on again. My kids actually liked when the water turned off, and would take turns running over to the sensor to “magically” turn it back on.
Beyond the splash pad, Dan Wakefield Park also has a small playground, with slides, monkey bars, a fireman pole and other things to climb. There are also swings (both standard swings and ones for young kids), as well as a few spinning poles that kids can sit or stand on and twirl around.
Splash pads and playgrounds are all great, but what I like in a park is a shady place to sit and easy access to clean restrooms — because as a parent of young children, I know I’ll be heading to the loo at least once during every park visit! Fortunately, Dan Wakefield Park has both these things. There are several picnic benches under a shelter that sits in between the splash pad and the playground, so you can see what’s going on in either direction, no matter where you sit. And the bathrooms? They are single-occupancy, but they’re large and include a changing table (which is always a welcome sight!).
Dan Wakefield Park is a small pocket park, but it’s a great place to meet up with friends if you’re ever in the Warfleigh neighborhood!
Nicole Sipe is a freelance writer and editor in Indianapolis. A Southern California native, she enjoys exploring Indy with her husband and two sons.