10 Best Nature Centers in Central Indiana

Nature centers are great places to bring kids because they allow children to interact with nature firsthand. No matter the weather, nature centers provide a place to experience nature. Most central Indiana nature centers offer special activities and events that are perfect for families, like story time, family hikes, and campfires.

Nature centers provide visitors with a way to get close to nature – indoors! Bonus: Most nature centers are free to visit. 

These are the top 10 nature centers near Indianapolis worth checking out! 

1. Holliday Park Nature Center

6363 Spring Mill Rd, Indianapolis

What makes it special: The dynamic exhibit in Habitat Hall at Holliday Park includes the White River Water Table, Music of the Wetlands Exhibit, and an elevated Hardwood Forest viewing area allowing visitors to experience the forest canopy. Free. 

Holliday Park - Free things to do in indinapolis

2. Eagle Creek Earth Discovery Center

5901 Delong Road, Indianapolis

What makes it special: If you’re seeking a place where education and adventure intertwine, look no further than Eagle Creek Park’s Earth Discovery Center. As soon as you walk in, it’s very likely you’ll be greeted by some sort of creature! That might be a snail, or during the summertime, you can even catch the morphing of a caterpillar into a monarch butterfly right at the front desk. Inside the center you’ll find a beehive, exhibits of the American toad and grey tree frog, and much more. Free with park admission.

3. Cool Creek Nature Center

2100 E 151st St, Carmel

What makes it special: Families, school groups and nature lovers can explore the science of Indiana woodlands and learn about the importance of preserving plants and animals in their natural habitats.

Cool Creek Park & Nature Center
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4. Zionville Nature Center

250 N 5th Street, Zionsville*

What makes it special: The Zionsville Nature Center encourages Zionsville and Central Indiana families to actively participate in their native environment through educational and inquiry-based programs and activities. Free.

*The Zionsville Nature Center is located within the Youth Services Department at the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library.

5. Pecar Park Nature Center

5203 East County Road, Avon

What makes it special:  Here you will find several different animals, including the park’s two sulcata tortoises named Jack and Diane; Maize, a friendly corn snake; an iguana; a Cuban tree frog; aquatic turtles; and many other critters. The animals that live at Pecar Park’s nature center are there because of a partnership with A Critter’s Chance, a Plainfield-based animal rescue organization. Most of the critters you see at the nature center are available for adoption (with the exception of Jack and Diane). Free.

6. Taylor Center of Natural History

12308 Strawtown Ave, Noblesville

What makes it special: The Taylor Center of Natural History displays exciting archaeological finds uncovered at Strawtown Koteewi Park. Park guests can learn about the history of the land that is now Strawtown Koteewi Park from artifacts and educational displays. Related Article: Strawtown Enclosure: Native American Village Tour. Free. 


7. Mounds State Park Nature Center

4306 Mounds Road, Anderson

What makes it special: The park itself is home to the Great Mound, a structure thought to be constructed by the Adrena-Hopewell people in 160 B.C. The Nature Center gives ample information on the rich history and includes a wildlife viewing room, animal displays, interactive games and more. Free with park admission.mounds state park

8. Turkey Run Nature Center

8121 Park Rd, Marshall

What makes it special: Turkey Run State Park offers interpretive naturalist services all year long. Scheduled programs include hikes, planetarium programs, history talks, a junior naturalist program, and evening programs. Free with park admission.

Turkey Run State Park Nature Center exhibits

9. McCloud Nature Park

8518 Hughes Rd., North Salem

What makes it special: The McCloud Park Nature Center hosts over 1,000 square feet of exhibit space and is filled with informative modern exhibits, animal specimens, interactive and educational computers, a bird viewing area, a greenhouse, a resource library and rotating local artists’ exhibits. Free.

10. McCormick’s Creek Nature Center

250 McCormicks Creek Park Road, Spencer

What makes it special: The Nature Center at McCormick’s Creek State Park, designed on the ‘Please Touch – Gently’ theme, houses natural history exhibits, nature games and quizzes, a wildlife observation room, and a full range of naturalist-led activities available free of charge to park visitors. Free with park admission.

Upcoming events at local Nature Centers:

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