|White River State Park|
|Type||Urban park, state park|
|Location||Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.|
|Area||267 acres (108 ha)|
|Owned by||State of Indiana|
|Operated by||White River State Park Development Commission|
|Open||Daily, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.|
|Status||Open all year|
|Public transit access|| 8|
Indiana Pacers Bikeshare
White River State Park is an urban park in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. Situated along the eastern and western banks of its namesake White River, the park covers 267 acres (108 ha). The park is home to numerous attractions, including the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis Zoo, NCAA Hall of Champions, Victory Field, TCU Amphitheater, and the White River Gardens.
Initial plans for the park were conceived by civic leaders in the late-1970s to capitalize on the city's amateur sports economic development strategy. Bipartisan support from state legislators and seed money from corporate partners led to the organization of a quasi-governmental commission to oversee planning and operations for the park. Construction began in the 1980s with the acquisition and clearing of blighted industrial properties and realignment of Washington Street for redevelopment.
Restoration of 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 have allowed the area to function as a cultural center within the city.
In 1980, architect César Pelli's Indiana Tower was proposed as the park's focal point; however, the 750-foot (229 m) observation tower was never constructed due to funding concerns and public criticism of the tower's design. Since, several proposed attractions have been considered, including an Indiana African American History Museum, seasonal ice skating rink, tethered balloon ride, amusement park, and public beach.
From 1983 until 1994, the park co-sponsored the White River Park State Games alongside the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport. The games were intended to promote a healthy lifestyle and encourage Hoosier athletes to participate in sports.
Tragedy struck the park on September 11, 1992, when a plane carrying four prominent community leaders – park executive director Robert V. Welch, Frank McKinney, John Weliever, and Michael Carroll – collided with a private plane on the way Columbus, Ohio. All four men were instrumental in the park’s development. A memorial honoring their memory was placed in the park near the Old Washington Street Bridge.
In December 2020, officials announced that the park's footprint would expand by 10 acres (4.0 ha) as part of a $100 million public-private partnership between the State of Indiana, City of Indianapolis, and Elanco to redevelop the neighboring General Motors site to the south. The new parkland will hug the west riverbank and incorporate a portion of the former plant's preserved crane bay, designed by industrial architect Albert Kahn.
Ownership and operations
White River State Park is owned by the State of Indiana under the auspices of the White River State Park Development Commission, a quasi-governmental board composed of 10 commissioners. The commission is charged with overseeing park maintenance, marketing, operations, and future development. The commission was created in 1979 by the Indiana General Assembly to distinguish the park from those managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
- 2002 – Opened
- 1996 – Opened as Indiana's only IMAX theatre and still the largest IMAX theatre in Indiana
- 1996 – Opened as home of the Indianapolis Indians
- 1989 – Opened as the park’s second attraction
- 2005 – Opened expanded gallery space, education facility, performance/special event areas, and indoor/outdoor dining restaurant doubled the museum's size
- 1999–2000 – Relocated to Indianapolis from Kansas City
- 1988 – Established as park's first attraction
- White River State Park Concert Series - TCU Amphitheater
- 2004 – Opened inaugural summer concert season at a temporary concert venue, the 7,500-seat "Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn"
- 2007 – Doubled concert attendance with 50,000+ spectators, included 11 shows
- 2018 - Plans to replace temporary structure announced by White River State Park Development Commission
- 2019 - Construction begun on $27 million "The TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park", with 3,000 permanent seats and a general admission lawn area for 4,500
- 2021 - Construction of TCU Amphitheater completed
- White River State Park Visitors' Center (Dr. Frank P. Lloyd Sr. Visitors Center)
- 2003 – Opened
- 1999 – Opened
- Historic Washington Street Pedestrian Bridge
- National Federation of State High School Associations Headquarters (NFHS)
- 1999–2000 – Relocated to Indianapolis from Kansas City
- 1999 – Opened
- 2001 – recognized in Landscape Architecture Magazine 
- 1870 – Opened as the original water pumping station for the city of Indianapolis
- 1969 – Pumping station closed
- 1980 – Accepted for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places
- 1981 – Reopened as the park's headquarters and visitors' center after renovations.
- Wheel Fun Rentals 
- Indiana Cross Country Arena (at the Urban Wilderness Trail)
- 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 – Opened unofficially in August with nine 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 compete
- 2010 – Anticipated official inaugural season in late summer
- 2022 – Received Lily Endowment to pave half a mile of new trail
- Urban Wilderness Trail
- River Promenade
- Canal Walk
- Indianapolis Cultural Trail
- List of Indiana state parks
- List of parks in Indianapolis
- List of attractions and events in Indianapolis
- Visitation in 2022 was reported as the combined attendance of the park's individual attractions, including the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the Indiana State Museum and IMAX Theater, the Indianapolis Zoo, the NCAA Hall of Champions, TCU Amphitheater, and Victory Field.
- Bodenhamer, David; Barrows, Robert, eds. (1994). The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. pp. 1427–1428.
- Lindquist, Dave (February 17, 2023). "Rebounding visitor stats generate optimism in hospitality industry". Indianapolis Business Journal. IBJ Media. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
- "Cultural Districts". Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- "Washington Rerouting To Begin". The Indianapolis News. April 27, 1984. p. 19. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
- Mitchell, Dawn (January 26, 2018). "Indiana Tower: The 750-foot spire that never was". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
- Whitson, Jennifer (May 12, 2008). "Black history museum loses site, may land on Indiana Ave". Indianapolis Business Journal. IBJ Media. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
- Schouten, Cory (January 8, 2007). "Downtown ice rink in the works". Indianapolis Business Journal. IBJ Media. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
- "White River park passes on balloon". Indianapolis Business Journal. IBJ Media. June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
- Knight, Jerold; Blair, Lyndsey D. (2021) . "White River State Park". Digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Indianapolis Public Library. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
- Schoettle, Anthony (January 29, 2016). "Could the White River get a beach downtown? Maybe, says Visit Indy". Indianapolis Business Journal. IBJ Media. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
- "White River Park State Games - indyencyclopedia.org". Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- "History". White River State Park. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- Shuey, Mickey (December 4, 2020). "Elanco HQ expected to anchor new development, park expansion on former GM site". Indianapolis Business Journal. IBJ Media. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
- Burris, Alexandria (September 9, 2019). "GM stamping plant redeveloper hosts design contest to bring 'new ideas' to Indianapolis". The Indianapolis Star. Gannett Co. Retrieved June 21, 2022.
- "IMAX Theatre at Indiana State Museum - Indianapolis - Movie Tickets Showtimes". www.imax.com.
- "Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park". White River State Park. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
- Erdody, Lindsay (September 27, 2018). "State plans $27M permanent concert venue at White River State Park". Indianapolis Business Journal. Archived from the original on December 24, 2019. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
- Lindquist, David (October 17, 2018). "How upgrades at The Lawn at White River State Park could help attract more concerts". The Indianapolis Star. Gannett Co., Inc. Archived from the original on December 24, 2019. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
- Lindquist, David (December 3, 2019). "First concert announced for new-look Amphitheater at White River State Park". The Indianapolis Star. Gannett Co., Inc. Archived from the original on December 24, 2019. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
- Lindquist, David (October 16, 2019). "White River State Park: Here's what the permanent concert stage, fixed seating looks like". The Indianapolis Star. Gannett Co., Inc. Archived from the original on December 24, 2019. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
- "Plans Made for Entertainment at White River State Park". Times-Union. November 20, 2003. pp. 31–32. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
- "Map of Park". White River State Park. Archived from the original on November 22, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
- "Old Washington Street Bridge". White River State Park. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
- "Old Washington Street Bridge". Discover White River. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
- "Sculpture in the Park". White River State Park. Archived from the original on March 7, 2005. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
- "The Congressional Medal of Honor Memorial". IPL. Archived from the original on March 14, 2006. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
- Bressi, Todd W. (November 2001). "2001 ASLA Awards". Landscape Architecture Magazine. 91 (11): 70. JSTOR 44671097 – via JSTOR.
- "From training grounds to festivals: A look at Military Park's history". News at IU. November 6, 2019. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
- "Pumphouse History". White River State Park. Archived from the original on October 15, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
- Dwyer, Kayla (April 26, 2022). "$25M Lilly Endowment grant to fund trails, bike lanes in Indy's under-served communities". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
- "Urban Wilderness Trail". Discover White River. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- "River Promenade at White River State Park | Indianapolis, IN". www.visitindy.com. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- "Canal Walk | Indianapolis, IN". www.visitindy.com. Retrieved June 23, 2023.
- "History". White River State Park. Retrieved July 20, 2023.