Frosty temperatures and cloudy skies are enough to keep most people indoors during the gloomy winter months. But Fishers Parks and Recreation Dept. Director Sarah Sandquist wants residents to get outside and enjoy the parks, despite the uninviting weather.
“I think this has been a goal of ours for a couple years now to encourage people to recreate in our parks year-round, and the cold and the winter shouldn’t scare them away because the amenities are open year-round and you just need some sensible clothing choices to be out there,” Sandquist said. “And of course, more than ever with COVID, it’s safer to be outside when possible.”
The parks department is promoting winter activities in its parks, such as sledding at Heritage Park or building a snowman in the park’s large field.
“Additionally, we are offering pop-up activities throughout the season, and we recently hosted one at Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve that included a kit to take on a hike with you to create plaster animal prints,” Sandquist said. “In Holland Park, we had winter outdoor bowling that involved using a ball of ice and plastic water bottles as pins.”
In February, the parks department will conduct a month-long scavenger hunt, whereby a parks mascot is placed in one of the parks. People who find it can take a selfie with the mascot to post on social media. When someone finds it, Sandquist said the department connects with the person and gives them prizes and a gift certificate and then hides the mascot in a new location.
McCordsville resident Megan Gamble, who grew up in Fishers, takes full advantage of the nearby parks with her two sons.
“Some of our favorite places to visit when it’s cold really honestly are just the same places we would go when it’s warm out,” she said. “The kids still play on playgrounds in the parks, and it makes it more fun if it’s snowing, and they go down slides and slide into a pile of snow. My guys are still little, 5 and 2, so we love going to Heritage Park, especially if there’s snow because the hills are a little smaller for them.
“It’s a great place for them to free run, and there’s a trail back through the woods.”
Gamble also appreciates the health benefits of participating in outdoor activities in the parks.
“Most people here in Indiana only tend to go out when the weather is perfect, but there are so many great benefits that come from it, even when the weather is not so perfect,” Gamble said. “It’s a mood reliever, a natural way to get vitamin D, a great way to relieve stress, and for kids, also, the more they are outside, the better it is for their vision. I read a study recently that showed more kids now than ever wear glasses, and that’s attributed to being inside.Vision is limited inside.
“There are four walls or you’re looking at a TV when you’re just feet from it versus being outside. The expanse is so much wider.”
Gamble said her kids have not been sick in about two years.
“Like no runny nose or anything,” Gamble said. “I attribute it to being outside. We are outside every day in the winter for a half hour or an hour. I honestly believe that’s a big contributor of why my kids are never sick.”
For more, visit playfishers.com.
A list of Fishers parks
- Bee Camp Creek Trailhead, 13870 Ambria Dr.
- Billericay Park, 12690 Promise Rd.
- Brooks School Park, 11780 Brooks School Rd.
- Central Green, 1 Municipal Dr.
- Cheeney Creek Natural Area, 11030 Fishers Pointe Blvd.
- Cumberland Park, 10580 Cumberland Rd.
- Cyntheanne Park, 12383 Cyntheanne Rd.
- Fishers AgriPark, 11171 Florida Rd.
- Fishers Parks Office, 11565 Brooks School Rd.
- Flat Fork Creek Park, 16141 E. 101st St.
- Hamilton Proper Park, 11525 Hoosier Rd.
- Harrison Thompson Park, 13573 Conner Knoll Parkway
- Heritage Meadows Park Playground, 11233 Fountainview Lane
- Heritage Park at White River, 10595 Eller Rd.
- Hoosier Woods, 11034 E. 121st St.
- Mudsock Fields, 12160 Packers Ave.
- Nickel Plate District Amphitheater, 6 Municipal Dr.
- Olio Fields, 14181 e. 126th St.
- Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve, 10410 Hague Rd.
- Roy G. Holland Memorial Park, One Park Dr.
- Saxony Beach, 13358 Pennington Rd.
- Saxony Hall, 13362 Pennington Rd.
- The Ambassador House and Heritage Gardens, 10598 Eller Rd.
- The Pavilion at the NPD AMP, 10 Municipal Dr.