Natural Areas: Holliday Park
Holliday Park occupies about 95 acres of ravines and adjacent uplands along the White River. Mowed areas mixed with trees and a large playground occupy much of the western portion of the park, along Spring Mill Road. To the east, the land drops down toward the river, giving way to forested slopes and the floodplain. In between is one of the nicest nature centers in the state, with exhibits, meeting rooms, and an extensive schedule of activities and presentations, including those of several nature-related clubs that meet in the building. There’s also a bird feeding station and a quiet natural history reading room, where I wrote parts of this book. More than 150 species of birds have been observed here, and Wallman (2013) has documented more than 300 species of flowers, many of them native. There’s also an arboretum with hundreds of numbered trees; if that interests you, pick up an identification key at the nature center.
Trail maps are also available at the nature center and are very helpful when exploring the 3+ miles of footpaths. Expect to traverse long staircases or occasionally steep slopes. Except perhaps for a short stretch that extends under Meridian Street, I enjoy all the trails, but like most visitors tend to gravitate toward those along the river or in one of the adjacent ravines.
Favorite areas include seeps along Trail 7, where well-disguised skunk cabbage flowers poke above the ground around Valentine’s Day. If you walk southwest from the pond you’ll soon encounter a boardwalk; check the wet ground below for marsh marigold in spring. Ravine walls all host nice spring wildflower displays as birds call from the trees that tower above.
Marion County. From I-465 Exit 31, south 4.0 miles on Meridian to 64th St., right 0.4 miles to Spring Mill, then left 0.1 miles to entrance on left.
GPS: N 39 52.326 W 86 09.892
Nature center with bathrooms, water
Click to enlarge
Nearby Natural Areas