Art and nature lovers alike will enjoy this art park in Indianapolis. The 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park consists of woodlands, meadows, wetlands and a lake. It opened in June 2010 on the site of a former gravel quarry between the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the White River. From woodland and meadow trails, visitors view a collection of artwork, including a pair of massive rings suspended overhead that on solar solstices cast a single shadow. There is also a huge, stylized human skeleton reclining in a meadow and a bubble-shape structure, Indy Island, that serves artists as a temporary floating home on the 35-acre lake. The artists sometimes row visitors out to see their place. There are 10 works in all, and like the ever-evolving natural setting, they will change over time as new artists add to the collection. Wide crushed-stone trails make for easy walking through the woods and along the lake to a visitors pavilion, slightly elevated to protect it from occasional high water. The pavilion has a meeting room and modern restrooms.
Up the hill from the park is the Indianapolis Museum of Art (a 7-10 minute walk with some steps) as well as the Lilly House and formal gardens. (The complex is on the estate of the late J.K. Lilly Jr., an Indianapolis businessman, collector and philanthropist who was the grandson of Eli Lilly, founder of Eli Lilly & Company.) Before you go, be aware that the art park is located near some iffy neighborhoods. Free parking is available at a small lot (about 40 spaces, so it fills quickly) off an exit ramp from the westbound lanes of 38th Street just west of the art museum. Other than that, the only exit is pretty awkward: one-way only, south onto White River East Drive. There is much more free parking and easier access at the art museum, but you'll have to complete the walk down to and back up from the art park. Admission is free, and the park is open dawn to dusk.