Trails in Indiana

Indianapolis Museum of Art Pathways




If you have not been to the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in the heart of Indianapolis for awhile, you have missed out on a lot of beauty and fun! The trails consist of the garden walks, with great beauty to behold, and the new Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park, where adventure and amusement await you.
But first, a bit on the museum which hosts the pathways. The Indianapolis Museum of Art has recently undergone tremendous renovations, over doubling its size and offerings. Founded in 1883 and located on 152 acres, the museum in among the 10 biggest and oldest general art museums in the nation. With an encyclopedic collection of over 54,000 works spanning 5,000 years, the Indianapolis Museum of Art offers significant collections of African, American, Asian, European, and contemporary art, textiles and fashion arts, as well as a growing collection of design arts. The museum also hosts many significant traveling exhibits, and offers many on-going programs for the whole family. Although some of these special events cost a nominal fee, most of the museum's offerings are at no cost.
As far as the trails of the museum, let's start with the well – established garden walkways. Made of stone slabs and dirt trails, these paths are strictly for walking only. But in addition, there are wheelchair accessible routes, one should obtain a map to the trails in the art museum for more information. The trails offer a range of scenic views from formal gardens walks to flowering trees and conifer paths. One can discover sculpted trees and bushes, as well as fountains and bridges over waterways. Also to be enjoyed are large mall areas for resting, playing, or picnicking, with plenty of park benches along the way. Other offerings include many sculptures, modern and older styles, including Robert Indiana's famous “LOVE” sculpture. Many of the pathways are quiet and secluded. Along the trail, one can discover the Horticultural Center Library, and The Greenhouse, with its large display of plants of all kinds, including a display of orchids. The Greenhouse offers displays for viewing only, as well as plants for sale and a gift shop. The garden walkways have stairways in areas, and sometimes become gravel or just dirt. Some paths overlook the White River, and one path connects to the long canal towpath, where bicyclists can also enjoy outdoor recreation. Of historic note, there is one bridge where the Interurban Rail Road used to pass. The garden paths also encircle the famous Oldfield's – Lilly House. A real gem of its own to visit, this home is where the famous businessman Josiah K. Lilly resided and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a a rare example of an Intact American Country Place era estate, a French – chateau – style mansion which has been restored to the 1930s splendor of the Lilly family's occupancy. Much more can be said about the Indianapolis Museum of Art's garden paths, but let's now look at the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park trails.
Located on 100 acres that include wetlands, meadows, and a 35 – acre lake, the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park is one of largest museum art parks in the country, and features the ongoing commission of site – responsive artworks. Named for Richard M. Fairbanks wife Virginia Nicholson Brown Fairbanks, who committed $15 million of a $36 million budget for the construction of the park. He was a leader in radio broadcasting. Comprised of fine grit – gravel, these paths offer visitors encounters with the multiple terrains and communities of plants and animals. Easily navigable paths direct walkers, runners, or wheelchairs to both nature and art that is intended for touch or play. This includes a piece which has an actual basketball net and small court. The park is accessible from a path behind the art museum, crossing the canal with a pony truss bridge where the canal towpath crosses, offering bikers recreation too. This trail is not wheelchair accessible, however. The other entrance to the park is via a parking lot just to the west of the Indianapolis Museum of Art off 38th street, where one is well – directed to the paths of the park and also offers access for handicapped. A free map of the trails, indicating handicapped and non – handicapped paths may be picked up at the art museum. The park features the Ruth Lilly Visitor's Pavillion, a signature architectural landmark of its own, offering restrooms, a gathering and educational space, and emergency services. The trails wander by a meadow and a clearing, intended for play and relaxation. One can also discover a marsh, which is a calm, lush retreat for wildlife, including numerous species of plants and animals not found elsewhere in the park. Throughout the park, the paths meander through wooded and garden areas with spectacular views of the large lake it's situated on. There are piers overlooking the lake as well as 2 art sculptures in the lake itself. Although not officially part of the park trails, for the more adventurous, one can hike around the entire 35 acre lake. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park includes emergency phone stations throughout, and many friendly, helpful staff along the trail to assist you.
Ready for some diverse, relaxing trails with varied, beautiful features and scenery? Come check out the Indianapolis Museum of Art pathways!
Type of Trail: 
Total Length of all segments: 
1.5 miles
Asphalt, gravel, dirt
Wheelchairs allowed: