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White River State Park facts for kids

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Not to be confused with White River Falls State Park in Oregon.
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White River State Park
White River State Park Indianapolis Skyline 2020.jpg
Indianapolis skyline from White River State Park.
Type State Park
Location Marion County, Indiana, United States
Nearest city Indianapolis
Area 250 acres (100 ha)
Created 1979; 42 years ago (1979)
Operated by White River State Park Development Commission
Visitors 3.0 to 3.5 million (in 2009)
Status Open all year

White River State Park is one of seven designated cultural districts in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States, and covers 250 acres (1 km2) on the western edge of the downtown area at 801 West Washington Street. The park includes attractions such as the Indiana State Museum and IMAX Theater, the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the NCAA Headquarters and Hall of Champions, the Medal of Honor Memorial, Victory Field (home of Indianapolis Indians baseball), Military Park, the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn Concert Series, and the Indiana Cross Country Arena.


White River State Park is an urban park located in Indianapolis and is not part of the 32 properties managed by the Division of State Parks, a land management team within the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Restoration on this area began in the late 1980s, when public attention fell on the Indiana Central Canal. The canal was originally engineered in the 1830s as a way to ship goods through the state of Indiana, but the project, as governed by the Indiana Mammoth Internal Improvement Act, went bankrupt and the Indianapolis section of the canal was the only section that was ever dug. Although the canal was never used for its intended purpose, recent restoration and development has allowed the area to function as a cultural center within the city. One of the proposed focal points of the park, Indiana Tower, was never constructed.


  • Historic Pumphouse
1870 – Opens as the original water pumping station for the city of Indianapolis.
1969 – Pumping Station closed.
1980 – Accepted for inclusion on the National Register for Historic Places.
1981 – Renovations complete and reopens as the Park's headquarters and Visitors' Center.
  • White River State Park Visitors' Center (Dr. Frank P. Lloyd Sr. Visitors Center)
2003 – Opens.
1988 – Park’s first attraction established.
1999 – Opens.
  • Historic Washington Street Pedestrian Bridge
1916 – Opens as part of the National Road.
1994 – Historic National Road U.S. 40 previously linking the U.S. from east to west start renovations.
1999 – Art Sculptures in the Park begins.
  • NCAA Headquarters & NCAA Hall of Champions Museum
1999–2000 – Relocated to Indianapolis from Kansas City.
  • National Federation of State High School Associations Headquarters (NFHS)
1999–2000 – Relocated to Indianapolis from Kansas City.
2002 – Opens.
  • IMAX 3D Theatre
1996 – Opens as Indiana's only IMAX theatre.
1996-Present – Operates as the largest IMAX in Indiana.
  • Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial
1999 – Opens and dedication.
1822 – Indianapolis's first documented 4th of July celebration.
1852 – First Indiana State Fair.
1861 – Civil War encampment until 1865.
Present day – Home to many charity events, festivals, and outdoor concerts
1830 – Founded.
1999 – A neighbor of White River State Park located just east of West Street; opened in 1999.
Not one of the Park's attractions, but a neighbor to White River State Park and open to the public.
1989 – Opened as the park’s second attraction.
2005 – Opens expanded gallery space, state-of-the-art education facility, performance/special event areas, and indoor/outdoor dining restaurant – doubling the Museum's size.
  • Victory Field
1996 – Opens as home of the Indianapolis Indians playing games from April to September.
2005 – Triple-A affiliate of MLB Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • White River State Park Concert Series
2004 – Opens inaugural summer concert season at a temporary concert venue, the 7,500-seat "Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn".
2006 – Named one of the top 100 outdoor concert venues in the world by Pollstar magazine.
2007 – Named one of the top 100 outdoor concert venues in the world by Pollstar magazine, doubles concert attendance with 50,000+ spectators, includes 11 shows.
2008 – Once again, named one of the top 100 outdoor concert venues in the world by Pollstar magazine and over 50,000 spectators at 8 shows.
2009 – Named one of the top 100 outdoor concert venues in the world by Pollstar magazine and another great season with over 50,000 spectators at 12 shows.
2018 - The White River State Park Development Commission announced plans to replace the temporary structure.
2019 - Construction began on a permanent venue. The $27 million project is set to be completed in June 2020. The new venue, "The Amphitheater at White River State Park", will have 3,000 permanent seats with a general admission lawn area that can hold up to 4,500.
  • The Indiana Cross Country Arena
2007 – White River State Park partners with the Indiana Invaders, Indy Greenways, Indianapolis Parks, the National Institute for Fitness & Sport (NIFS), local and international businesses, and community partners to revitalize the flood plain green space along the White River for education, health, and recreation opportunities.
2008 – Opens unofficially in August with 9 meets and invitationals.
2008 – Middle school (National Middle School Championships), high school (City of Indianapolis Championships), and youth (Indiana USA Track and Field Junior Olympics) teams showcase their competitive spirit.
2010 – Anticipated its official inaugural season in late summer.
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