The EcoLab at Marian University is a Unique Outdoor Hidden Gem in Indianapolis

Trails, wetlands and more for families to explore

Marian University’s Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab is a 75-acre natural area open to students and the Indianapolis community. The EcoLab is a unique nature preserve in Indianapolis, with rare wetland habitats and threatened animal species all within a few miles of downtown. Marian University’s EcoLab is free to visit

Marian University EcoLab

Hiking the Trail

If you’re looking for an easy hike with children, consider visiting the EcoLab at Marian University. The trail along the pond is mostly a rock path that is easy to navigate. The rock stairway down to the trail is probably the most difficult part of the path. The stairs are steep, so young children may need assistance.

Stairs Down to EcoLab
Stairs Down to EcoLab

Once you make it down the stairs, you will immediately be on the same level as the pond and can start exploring. Along the way, you will run into things such as bat boxes, beaver damns, a frog pond, and more. The university also has signs along the way to explain the things you are looking at. 

Pond at the Marian University EcoLab

Can I take a stroller to the EcoLab at Marian University?

No. Getting a stroller down the initial set of stairs would be very difficult. Indy’s Child recommends saving this trail for children over the age of 3 who are comfortable walking about a mile without a stroller.

Can you bring your dog to the EcoLab?

Yes. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail. 

Dogs at EcoLab at Marian University

Where is the EcoLab at Marian University located? 

The EcoLab trails can be a little tricky to find your first time. If you depend on Google Maps, you may end up at the EcoLab building instead of the trailhead. To make it a little easier on you, you can use THIS MAP to find the best entrance and parking area. You can also use these coordinates on google maps 39.816129, -86.203081.


School Groups and Field Trips

The EcoLab at Marian University is a great location for a field trip. School groups, church groups, garden clubs, scout troops, homeschool groups, and others can schedule a guided group activity in the NMP EcoLab. See the program page for more information on educational programs, and contact Sarah Downing, [email protected], if your adult group is interested in a tour.

Hiking at the EcoLab

More Information:

Marian University’s EcoLab is free, and open to the public everyday from dawn to dusk. Marian University is located at 3200 Cold Spring Rd, Indianapolis; use the northernmost entrance into Marian University to find the EcoLab.

Indy's Child
Indy's Child
For 40 years, Indy's Child has been the trusted source for Indianapolis families seeking fun, educational, and enriching experiences. Our award-winning magazine and website are dedicated to providing expert advice, insider tips, and up-to-date information on everything from the best local attractions and events to parenting resources and support. As local experts deeply rooted in the central Indiana community, our passionate team at Indy's Child is dedicated to uncovering the best family-friendly experiences and resources our city has to offer. Whether you're new to parenting or looking for new ideas, Indy's Child is here to help you enjoy the adventure of raising a family in central Indiana.

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