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Photo of the Week – Share your Art & Nature Park stories

As a new segment this summer, the IMA Blog will be featuring a Tuesday Photo of the Week, highlighting juicy tidbits of info including works of art, artists, news, events, or locations.

I hate being stuck on a machine in a gym, just staring at the back sweat of the guy in front of me. To combat this, I have been taking an opportunity of the gorgeous weather and walking the Monon. Now, I am not an outdoorsy person, but being outside in the sun and fresh air is fulfilling- just add some bird chirps and I really feel like I am communing with Mother Earth. The trail provides changing scenery and a different experience each time, something missing from the gym.

My main walking partner left on Saturday for a month-long camping and road trip with her family in Montana (talk about outdoorsy!) and I have been looking for new walking routes to mix it up in her absence. I was very excited to discover the Central Canal Towpath and its connection to the trail around the 35 acre, man-made lake at the IMA’s Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park.

While I had heard about the more formal building that will be opening in 2009, I thought that all of this property was closed until that time. I was surprised when I found out yesterday that the peaceful, shady trail that runs around the lake is open and accessible from the IMA grounds, as well as the towpath.

I walked down to check it out yesterday, making my way down the path and across the bridge. I thought I had turned the wrong way because the trees get pretty dense, and it really doesn’t seem like there could be such a large lake in that direction. Suddenly, you come into a clearing, with the lake in front of you and a beautiful meadow to the left.

I had just started exploring when a flash of lightning appeared in the suddenly ominous clouds, and I headed for the museum. Thank goodness, I just missed a total downpour! I am looking forward to walking the full loop someday soon, so I can let you know what is on the other side. For now, I’ll share what I have already learned…

  • The Art and Nature Park, Canal Central Towpath and red bridge can be accessed any day of the week by a road between the museum building and the Lilly-Oldfeilds house or a flight of stone steps connected to the Oldfeilds gardens.
  • The Art and Nature Park can get very muddy after it rains.
  • The red bridge connecting the IMA to the Central Canal Towpath and the Art and Nature Park was built in the 1870’s and restored in 1999.
  • In a vegetation survey, 187 plant species were observed in the Art and Nature Park.
  • There are rumors of a naked jogger using the paths.
  • Naked joggers are neither art nor nature.
  • There is a public forum at the IMA about the Art and Nature Park on June 19th, 2008.
  • It’s about 1 mile around the path loop at the Art and Nature Park.
  • It’s about 2.5 miles from the Butler University campus to the IMA along the Towpath, including once around the Art and Nature Park path loop.
  • It’s about 5 miles from Broad Ripple to the IMA along the Towpath, including once around the Art and Nature Park path loop.

Do you have any juicy tidbits or stories to add about the Art and Nature Park?

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Local, Musings

3 Responses to “Photo of the Week – Share your Art & Nature Park stories”

  • avatar
    Noelle Says:

    I can testify that you can’t often walk all the way around the lake without having to traverse an inlet or ditch of some kind. Luckily, I had a strong companion with me to carry me across!

  • avatar
    Daniel Says:

    I love running the path around the lake after some rain. Your feet get heavier and heavier, balancing on the slippery surface takes greater concentration, and the wet socks all point to a grueling workout.

  • avatar
    Jason Says:

    Where can I get me one of them strong companions? Invariably, I will get 11/12 of the way around the lake, and have to turn back because the inlet is full of water. It’s interesting that the lake is man-made–I had always suspected it was an oxbow lake.

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