My time on the Hamilton County Parks Tour By: Jack Russell

Last week I had an opportunity to ride around Hamilton County and see all the great parks we have in our community.

We all met at Coxhall Gardens in Carmel. Coxhall Gardens is a unique and fascinating park, waiting to be discovered. This modern, 125-acre park includes the elegant Centerpiece, twin 90-feet bell towers, a recreation lake, and Children’s Garden, which features village stores, echowalls, peek-a-boo hills, a sun dial, and Tiki huts. In 2005, the facility served as the location of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Solheim Cup, and is the ideal setting for weddings, reunions and other special gatherings. Such an amazing location and with the discussion of an event center on the park as well it can be home to many different activities.1

Our first stop was at Cool Creek Park in Westfield. Not only does it have some amazing trails it is home to the Cool Creek Nature Center. 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.

We headed north after our adventures at Cool Creek to the Bray Family Homestead. This is a unique park because it also offers a community garden that you can rent from the parks department. The Bray Family Homestead Park is Hamilton County’s newest park, with big plans to include trails, verlooks, feeding areas and new plantings. Although the park is still in developing, it is currently an ideal location to observe and enjoy the spring wildflowers. This 92-acre park was acquired in 2007 from the Bray Family of Noblesville.

As we continued north we stopped at the Rookery Preserve. Amazing views and of course
2home to 120 Herron Rookeries. This amazing, quiet park is located at 25440 Scherer Avenue in Arcadia. After a nice trip to Erika’s or 10 West in Cicero head a little north and it’s a great place to relax.

Are you a camper? Did you know that there is a place right in our own backyard? The White River camp grounds is an amazing place to go if you want to leave the suburb life for a day to a week or more! One of the most unique projects 3going on if you go out there is the construction of 3 historical walking bridges. I could never tell the story like Al so give him a call! Located on the west bank of a picturesque stretch of the White River, the White River Campground offers the perfect spot to spend a getaway weekend in Hamilton County. Explore 26 acres of beautiful terrain by foot or by river, enjoy the wildlife and have fun with friends and family close to home. The campground has 106 modern and primitive campsites with quiet spots for fishing, boating and relaxation.

If you thought that so far we had a lot of parks they are nowhere near Strawtown Koteewi 4Park. 750 arces Researchers have discovered that the major occupancy of this property dates back to 1200-1400 A.D. Artifacts found include arrowheads, pottery and remains of what the occupants may have eaten, including bear and elk. Researchers have also discovered evidence of post holes, storage pits and fire pits that show the location of early villages and huts on the property. In addition to some amazing artifacts the park also includes a canoe launch on the White River for boating and fishing, nature trails for hiking or cycling, equestrian trails for riding, and wetlands and prairies for enjoying the park’s natural beauty. They also have archery and a new project going on out at the park is the zip line and tree top walking trails where you can be 8 to 40 feet in the air!

We finished our day back at Coxhall Gardens and toured the Williams House on the property. It was an amazing tour and more importantly taught me a great deal about how are parks come about. These parks are not Carmel parks or Arcadia parks, these are Hamilton County Parks and they are a big part of our community. The parks has a magazine called The Chatterbox. If you do not get this, you should! Great magazine to tell you even more about the amazing parks in our community.

Finally, I would like to thank Allen Patterson for being an amazing tour guide. He is the parks director and has so much knowledge on how the parks came about and the history they hold. So go out and enjoy one of these parks!

By: Jack Russell

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