Family Trip Tips: The Ford Hoosier Outdoor Experience

We’ve already told you the Ford Hoosier Outdoor Experience is coming. And Indy’s Child blogger The Momista was out this summer previewing some of the activities your family will enjoy at the Experience like camping, atlatl, archery and fishing. Now’s the time to get your family prepped for the fun. Here’s a checklist of what to expect and what to pack.

1. Parking is available at the Bean Finance Center on Post Road/56th Street. You might be used to driving into Fort Harrison State Park, but it’s closed to vehicle traffic during the Experience. Follow signs for parking and expect a teeny wait – school buses will shuttle you and the family into the park.


2. There is a walk-in entrance. If you can’t wait to get in to the Experience and want a jumpstart on your daily steps, look for signs directing to the walk-in entrance located off Glenn Road. Tip: Leave the bicycles and pooches at home – no dogs are allowed at the Experience.


3. The Welcome Center should be your first stop. Pick up an event map {or preview it here}, ask questions or buy your annual State Parks pass which will be good through the end of 2016.


4. Make a list of which activities you want to try out. Create a game plan so you know where you’re headed. Use the map to plot out your ‘must-do’ activities and restrooms for much-needed potty breaks.


5. Bring strollers or wagons for the little ones. The 2015 Experience is a little different from years past. Trolleys used to carry visitors between park venues but have now been replaced by footpaths. In other words, expect a little walk to your favorite spots. Pick up a pedometer at the Welcome Center {200 available each day} to track your steps or bring your own. Prizes will be awarded to the families with the most steps.


6. Check the weather and plan accordingly. The Experience is a rain or shine event – just like many of your outdoor activities! Pack raincoats or umbrellas if the forecast calls for sprinkles, and don’t forget sunscreen for any warm/bright days. And don’t worry if a small rainstorm swoops in: The Indiana DNR has a plan in place to keep you safe.


7. Don’t forget about lunch. The Experience is a full day event. Bring picnic-style eats for your family or grab food from vendors located in the main venue. All will accept credit cards.


Any other questions? Well the Indiana DNR has you covered over at Check out their full list of FAQs.



This year welcomes many new elements to Ford Hoosier Outdoor Experience programming, including the family-friendly Harrison Hustle 5K Fun Walk & Run. According to the Experience website, race-goers are invited to Enjoy a fun and festive military-themed 5k race that honors Fort Harrison State Park’s unique history. The race will start at 9am as participants march to the music around the paved Fort Harrison Trace trail alongside costumed re-enactors. After reaching the finish line, snacks, swag bags, and a group stretch workshop led by Indiana Trail Running will be available.

COST: Ages 16+ $15 in advance, $20 day-of; Youth 15 and under FREE. All proceeds go to the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation to help fund future Ford Hoosier Outdoor Experience events. Registration requested at:

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