Here are some tips for this weekend’s Hoosier Outdoor Experience at Fort Harrison State Park. Hosted by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation, this free family event is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. You don’t need tickets, but we appreciate if you register online so we can get a head count. The weather should be nice, with no rain and temperatures in the middle 70s.
- You can arrive and leave on your own schedule, even returning the same day. The event will occur rain or shine.
- For free horseback rides, head early to the saddle barn. You can reserve a spot for the day until the spaces are gone. Registration for morning rides starts at 9 a.m. Registration for afternoon rides begins at 1 p.m. Rides last about 45 minutes. You must register in person. There is no advance online registration.
- Sunday is a lighter day for crowds, especially before 1 p.m. Try the shooting sports, canoeing and off-road vehicle rides. If you plan to do canoeing or kayaking on Delaware Lake, visit those activities before 10:30 a.m. The lines get longer throughout the day.
- Leave your pet at home, but bring sunscreen, insect repellent and rain gear. Dogs will not like the trolley traffic and the noise from the shooting sports. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Park at the Major Bean Federal Center, 8899 East 56th Street, and catch our DNR shuttle service to the park. They will be departing about every 10-15 minutes. Avoid parking in the Lawrence Government Center or at Ivy Tech. It’s a very long walk, and the DNR shuttles will not stop to pick you up. If you walk in, you will have to walk out. If you are riding IndyGo bus route 4 to the event, get off at stop G, Finance Center South and hitch a ride on the DNR shuttle. Route 4 will only be operating on Saturday.
- Food for purchase is available in several areas. We’ll offer free drinking water (from coolers, not from the lake).
- New activities this year are tennis, geocaching and horseshoe pitching. Some events occur only at specific times. Check the activities web page at hoosieroutdoorexperience.in.gov for more details.
- If you need assistance because of a disability, check with our parking staff for transportation to event areas.
- Make sure to grab an event map. It has a coupon for free admission to any Indiana state park, reservoir or state forest on Sept. 29.
- Bring cash. You can buy state park park passes and merchandise at Mother’s Nature Mercantile. I recommend the SPR Go! packages because of the value.
- While at the Experience, get social. Use the hashtag IDNREXP on Twitter. You can share photos on Facebook with facebook.com/hoosieroutdoorexperience. I’ll post event updates on that page and use the @INdnrwebguy Twitter account.
See you outside,
Scott Davis, DNR