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Splash into summer with Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation!


If you’re anything like me you’ve done plenty of daydreaming about the warm summer days ahead of us! What’s your favorite thing to do with the kiddos during the summer? The park? The pool? Did you know that the best of both worlds is at your doorstep?


If you’ve never experienced the fun of a splash pad, you are really missing out. A splash pad is an

outdoor play area with sprinklers, fountains and water features galore. Now with full transparency,

I don’t have kids of my own. But I am a sister, cousin and babysitter, and I would 100% take kiddos

to splash pads! So where can you find these glorious (and did I mention free?) fun spaces?


West Park

As if beautiful West Park wasn’t enough fun already with Jill’s Hill, the boardwalk, trails and

playground…did you know that it’s also home to a splash pad? The splash pad at West Park is

designed for younger kiddos. The natural looking features of the splash pad simulate rain and

a runoff stream.


Click here to find more information about all the fun you can have at West Park.


Inlow Park

The splash pad at Inlow Park is also great for young kids! The huge water spray feature keeps kids cool and entertained for hours. And the fun doesn’t stop at the splash pad. While you’re at Inlow Park, check out the brand-new inclusive playground. Needless to say, make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and snacks because hours of fun are waiting for you at Inlow Park.


Click here to learn more about all Inlow Park has to offer.


                                                                                                        Westermeier Commons

                                                                                                        The splash pad at Westermeier Commons is just one feature of the amazing                                                                                                                            playground that make it a destination spot! The splash pad, which is adjacent to the                                                                                                                playground, was designed to match the nature that surrounds it. Spray features and                                                                                                              geysers resemble cattails, flowers and animals. The splash pad provides relief from                                                                                                              the heat and continues Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation’s commitment to use an                                                                                                                    environmentally friendly water management.


                                                                                                        Click here to learn all about the splash pads at Westermeier Commons.


The Waterpark

Okay, okay…The Waterpark is a lot more than a splash pad and this one isn’t free. But! If we’re talking about splashing into summer, we have to talk about The Waterpark. The Waterpark is acres of water fun for the whole family and can easily fill a whole day’s time. Engage in a relaxing day lounging in the lazy river or in your cabana. Explore by taking an adventurous surf on the FlowRider®, riding the adventure slides, climbing the AquaClimb® and so much more. The Waterpark opens for the summer on May 25 at 11am! So mark your calendars now. You can learn all about The Waterpark here.


So now that you know just where to splash your summer away, where will you go? To learn more about Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation’s splash pads, parks and facilities, visit carmelclayparks.com.


And if you do get out to splash around, make sure to share your pictures with us. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @CarmelClayParks. Happy splashing!

















































Put a Little Healthy in Your New Year!


As you’re rolling out your new year’s resolutions for a happier, healthier you, consider the vast array of programs and fitness opportunities at Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR). Whether your goals include a more mindful approach to daily living, pushing your personal boundaries or seeking enriching experiences, there’s something for everyone at Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation! Have you thought about …


 * Enriching your child’s life in 2019? From singing and dancing to celebrating the royals, and even

   navigating the outdoors, we have the perfect parent/child programs for you.

 * Making fitness a family affair? We offer Parent/Child classes, so instead of

   sitting on the sidelines, get in there and join your little ones to start forming

   an appreciation for nature in Knee High Naturalists or for some tumbling, Zumba®

   or music.

 * Taking up a new sport? You’re never too old to learn! Check out our adult beginner

   classes for fencing, pickleball and archery.

 * Taking your workouts more seriously? The 4-week Women with Weights (W3) program

   will introduce you to free weights and a variety of equipment that will help you build a

   safe and effective workout. Led by a certified Personal Trainer, this class will help you feel confident and safe no matter your body type, age or goals.

 * Experiencing the benefits of meditation, Tai Chi and yoga … or even “Aqua Yo-Lates” that combines Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates movements in our indoor     heated pool!

For more programs that meet your wellness needs, check out our Winter/Spring Program Guide.


Are you interested in one of these classes but still don’t have a membership? Visit

carmelclayparks.com or visit our front desk at the Monon Community Center to become

one and gain access to our fitness facilities and group fitness classes at no extra cost to

you. Memberships are just $42/month for adults!

You may register for classes one of three ways: online at carmelclayparks.com, by visiting the Monon

Community Center or printing a registration from the website and mailing it in. We can’t wait to see you this winter as you work toward a healthier you.































                                                                            Hi there, I’m Jylian Vigar – the newest member of the Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR)                                                                                                marketing team. My official role is marketing content coordinator, but I like to think of it more as the                                                                                    role of a storyteller. Can you think of a job more fun than that? I sure can’t! I am thrilled to have the                                                                                      opportunity to share the incredible impact CCPR has on the community, to get to know and be a part                                                                                    of the community, and to hear from you.


                                                                              So, let’s hop to it! First of all, enchanté! That’s French for “nice to meet you!” Something you should                                                                                    know about me is that I love to learn. Now that I’m out of school I’ve taken to learning other fun things                                                                                – like French and how to train for a half-marathon! My love for learning started at a young age. I often                                                                                played school with my cousins and spent more time than a normal child probably does reading                                                                                            Hooked on Phonics books (for fun). Fast forward a few years and I graduated with my bachelor’s                                                                                          degree in journalism and strategic communication from Butler University. Go Dawgs! I then went on                                                                                    to get my master’s in public relations from Ball State University. Chirp Chirp!


What I’ve really garnered from my time in school is that my love for learning can be a job – in fact, it’s the job I have now. As the marketing content coordinator, I get to learn about CCPR and the community of people it serves. I get to learn the stories of our members, the children in our before and after school program and the folks who enjoy our parks. I get to do the thing I love every day.


I think we all have a story to tell, and no two stories are the same. My story includes: my love for my friends, family and fiancé, my passion for travel and spending time outdoors, my desire to have a bulldog one day, my love-hate relationship with running half-marathons (in that I don’t enjoy running them, but I somehow keep signing up for them), my desire to explore my community and shop/eat/drink local, and my drive to give back to my community through volunteering.


So, in a nutshell that’s me. Who are you? I want to know your story. I want to hear from you. If you have a story to tell (which I know you do!) about Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation, drop me a line. You can reach me at jvigar@carmelclayparks.com. Au revoir!

Meet new blogger Jylian Vigar 

Let’s Grow Wild


Did you wake up this morning wanting to learn something new? You’re in luck, because I can help you with that!


Let’s start with some fun facts:

  1. National Plant a Flower Day is March 12.

  2. Native plants support native wildlife.

  3. In our parks, we promote “Grow, Don’t Mow.”


While National Plant a Flower Day may not be a holiday you usually celebrate – I think this is a great year for everyone to start…and you can start by simply planting native plants!


From hummingbirds to hummingbird moths, Indiana has a rich natural history. By planting native plants, you support that history. Native plants can be a breeze to grow. Why? Because they have naturally evolved right where you are gardening. Native plants have survived throughout history without our help, so even if you don’t have a green thumb, once your garden is established, it will be very low maintenance. If you choose to plant with perennials, your maintenance needs will be even lower because perennial plants come back year after year.


                                                                                                  At first, planting with natives can be overwhelming—there are lots to choose                                                                                                            from! The first thing you should do is figure out how much sun your garden gets                                                                                                      and check your soil quality. When you check your soil quality, you’ll want to think                                                                                                      about three things—is it well drained or poorly drained? Is there any topsoil                                                                                                              present? Is it mostly sand, silt or clay? This will help you determine what kind of                                                                                                      plants you should buy. Another thing to keep in mind is when these flowers bloom                                                                                                    —you want to plant flowers with different bloom times, so pollinators like bees                                                                                                         and butterflies can utilize your garden the whole growing season.


                                                                                                 To help you get started, Brittany McAdams, our natural resources coordinator, put                                                                                                     together a list of five native plants great for starting a native garden! All of these                                                                                                       plants are preferred by pollinators and grow well in most soil types.


1.       Purple coneflower (Echinacea spp.): This flower is a staple for pollinators. It blooms from June through August and is utilized by goldfinches and other birds in the fall.

2.       Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta): This hallmark prairie plant attracts butterflies and beneficial insects (like flies and bumblebees), and late season seed heads attract birds. This flower blooms from June through September.

3.       Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa):  A beautiful member of the mint family, Bergamot

is a very popular nectar source and blooms bright purple. This plant blooms July through


4.       Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa): A great beginner milkweed, butterfly milkweed

or “butterflyweed” has bright orange blooms and attracts a range of butterflies and pollinators.

This plants blooms June through August.

5.       New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae):  This flower benefits pollinators and

birds, and is a host plant for butterflies and moths. This flower blooms August through October.


Does all this native plant information leave you wanting to learn more? Join us for our upcoming

Wildflower Walks or Gardening Basics programs.

And, if you start your native garden, please share photos with us on social media! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @CarmelClayParks. Happy growing!

Give the Gift of Experience This Holiday Season

with Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation!


Still searching for the perfect gift for a loved one? Do you often hear them say, “I need to give that a try, or I think I’d really like that?” A gift card to Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation’s (CCPR) Monon Community Center (MCC) is the perfect experience gift for that someone special! It may be a gift that helps introduce them to a new hobby, finally check something off their bucket list or allows them to start working on a personal wellness goal. 


At just $42/month for adults and $99/month for families, it’s an affordable option with so many great benefits:

  • During the long Indiana winter, they’ll have an indoor spot to get active, have fun and try something new.

  • With membership, there are never any joining fees or contracts.

  • They’ll be one of the firsts to try out the brand-new cardio, strength and free weight equipment in the newly remodeled fitness area, and enjoy over 120 group fitness class formats each week at the MCC.

  • KidZone (childcare) comes free with all memberships. Members can work out for up to 2 hours while littles 6 months to 12 years have fun. Drop in Monday-Saturday from 8am-1pm or 4-8pm Monday-Friday.

  • Certified trainers are here and ready to help with a personalized experience and customized workout to help tackle fitness goals. Personal training sessions are only $55/hour.

  • It’s never too cold to go swimming. They’ll enjoy adventure slides and a heated indoor activity pool, plus designated lap lanes.

  • With 800 programs in the categories of sports, nature, enrichment, arts and crafts and camps, there is surely a program perfect for your loved one. Help them try something new in 2019!


Experience Gifts Perfect for Littles to Teens Too!


  • Have a little that needs more confidence in the water? Winter is the perfect time for swimming lessons and building safe water skills before summer swimming season arrives. Classes exist from parent/child all the way up to the Sea Dragons swim team. New classes begin in January.

  • Have a little that loves to twirl and dance? The beginning dance classes are perfect for 3-5-year olds.

  • Have a sporty tyke? There is youth archery, volleyball, fencing, karate and more!

  • Plus sign language, STEM, theater and more for teens.


For program ideas, check out the Winter/Spring Program Guide.


Gift cards are available in any amount and can be purchased at any desk at the Monon Community Center. They can be applied to any program, personal training session or even a membership! It’s a no excuses gift that can help friends and family work toward their own health and wellness goals, or try something new. This season wrap up a little bit of healthy and fun in a pretty little box and give your loved one the gift of endless possibilities! There’s truly something for everyone at Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation.

Indoors can be fun too...

As an outdoor enthusiast, I try to get my family outside as much as possible. But, in the winter there comes a time when I’ve had enough and am tired of bundling everyone up – the layers of clothes, gloves, hats, bulky coats. There always comes a time when I’m ready to shed the layers and head indoors.


What some folks don’t realize is that there is just as much fun to be had indoors during the colder months as there is outside. And, the fun can be had right here in Carmel at the Monon Community Center by those of all ages and abilities. In order to help you prepare for the winter ahead, I’ve put together a list of 8 activities to help you get through the chill.


  • It’s never too cold to go swimming. Check out the 2 adventure slides, kiddie activity play feature, lap pool and more within the indoor pool area.


  • As a mom of two, I’m always looking for indoor places I can take the kids to let off some steam and energy. Youth & Family Open Gym takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from 3-5pm.


  • Jump on the STEM bandwagon and sign up your little engineer for any or all of the Junior Robotics classes.


  • Toddler Open Gym (Tuesdays at 10am) is a great time for your child to explore interactive open-play stations and get creative. Click here to watch a short video of what it’s all about.


  • Channel your inner Anna or Elsa and dress up and dance at the Frozen Celebration taking place on February 3.


  • Make a difference and volunteer within one of the adaptive programs. Classes are designed specifically for individuals with disabilities. Come see the biggest smiles come across the participants’ faces.


  • Calm your mind and drift away to a warmer climate during a yoga class, or try out any one of the group fitness classes.


  • Get your workout in, while the kids play in the KidZone (childcare). You can work out for up to 2 hours while your little ones are being watched. Kiddos ages 6 months to 12 years are welcome. Drop in Monday-Saturday from 8am-1pm or 4-8pm Monday-Friday.


Winter may be a time where you spend less time outdoors, but that doesn’t mean you have to have less fun! The long winter is still ahead, so get to planning your visits today. More information about membership, daily admission or classes can be found at carmelclayparks.com.


Summer is the best time to celebrate kids’ birthday parties! And if you’re looking for a perfect place to celebrate this summer, head on over to Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR).


There are two routes you can take with shelter rentals with CCPR.


The first option is to host your child’s party at The Waterpark, located within Central Park and adjacent to the Monon Community Center. You bring all the decorations and party necessities, and we’ll provide the space. Parties in The Waterpark cost $200 and include three hours to use the shelter space, 10 youth and 4 adult admission passes. Parents can choose between two blocks of time, either from 12-3pm or 4-7pm. Additional attendees can purchase day passes at the group rate.


Your party guests will have a blast in The Waterpark, enjoying all that it has to offer including adventure slides, a lazy river, an activity pool and more!


To reserve the Party Shelter in The Waterpark, visit carmelclayparks.com/reserve-shelter. Click on the Waterpark Cabana/Party Shelter button.


Your second option is a park shelter rental at one of their many parks located throughout the city. Park shelter rentals may take place at the Central Park East Woods, Central Park North Campus (by the Bark Park), Central Park West Commons, River Heritage Park and West Park.


One big change to note this summer is that 4 out of 5 of the shelters near the popular West Commons playground are now rentable which means you can have the space all to yourself! The main large shelter (closest to the splash pad) is only available on a shared, first-come, first-served basis.


Shelter rentals range from $50-175 depending on size of the party.


Flowing Well Park, Founders Park, Lenape Park and Meadowlark Park main shelters are not offered for rent and are only available on a shared, first-come, first-served basis. This summer, Inlow Park shelters are unavailable for rent due to CCPR’s playground redevelopment project. If interested in staying up-to-date on this project, be sure to visit http://carmelclayparks.com/parks/inlow-park-playground-redevelopment-project/.


To reserve a park shelter, visit carmelclayparks.com/reserve-shelter.


This summer, make your child’s birthday celebration a memorable one!


Raise your hand if you have an absolute blast just playing. Don’t be shy. Put those hands up! If you’re like me, some of your favorite memories and life experiences happen when playing. From the time you were learning to crawl, to the games of Capture the Flag, all the way to the exercising you do today, you’ve experienced recreational play.


Recreational play can be split into 4 different types of development - emotional, intellectual, social and physical. Throughout this short blog, you’ll learn that it is through play that we do much of our learning.


Not sure what recreational play includes and how it fits into a developmental type? Let me explain. Recreational play is really anything you do for enjoyment, pleasure or fun - hiking,    golfing, fishing, running, sports, camping, playing games and so much more.


Must stay on the playground equipment. Can’t touch the hot lava. Remember this                    playground game? With social play, one learns to interact with one another, how to                make friends, role-play, lie and find their sense of self. This fan favorite tested the                  waters, err lava, as you climbed, jumped and pretended the ground would burn you if            you fell in. It’s a great game to work through individually and as a team.


I did it! I successfully completed a 4 day/3 night hike to Machu Picchu! A whirlwind of            emotions runs through me. I start crying happy tears, I’m exhausted and I’m in awe of            the beauty around me. In emotional play, one releases emotions through their                        feelings and fears. A hike up a mountain, or a few in this case, offers mental benefits              and therapy through inspiration and accomplishments.

Have to stay glued to that electronic device? I hear ya. Outside of my catching up on                friends and family through ‘social’ I play multiple games of Wordscapes or Knots                    each night. Intellectual play teaches one how things work, how to reason and how to              solve problems as well as practice mental skills. Get those minds working and                        download a fun new app.

When working out in a group setting, I need loud music and to get pumped up. Kickboxing is a full-body workout that moves fast and pushes me to my limits. Physical play is good for developing muscles, strength and coordination. In order to get more fit and relieve stress, I turn toward group fitness.


You’ve literally been playing all your life – from the day you were born up until today. So, why stop now? Head to a playground, a workout class or even turn to those cellphones and experience some recreational play.


Waterpark Bucket List

I’ve had the pleasure of working for Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation for just about 11 years. I’m only 1 short month away! And in that time, I’ve also had the pleasure of experiencing The Waterpark and all it has to offer.


Each summer, I feel like it really isn’t summer yet until I make it out to The Waterpark with my family. My two kiddos just love splishing and splashing in the water and testing out all they’ve learned in swim lessons at “mommy’s waterpark.” It’s not really mine, but if they are at the age in their life where what I’m doing is cool, I’ll take it!


But what about me? What do I enjoy? Well...let me tell you. I’ve put together a list of my “must do's” at The Waterpark. Here are my top 6, because who needs another top 5 list.


#6: Rent a Cabana. A cabana is seriously the best way to enjoy The Waterpark. Kicking your feet up, sipping on that root beer float from concessions and being in the shade is literally the best. I know my items are locked up safe and when I get a little too much sun, I know I have a place to go cool down. I always book ahead because I want to be sure that space is mine!


#5: Try an Aqua Fitness Class. As a runner, I’m always looking for low impact classes and these have been right up my alley. Aqua Run takes place in the Lazy River on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8am. The high-resistance training and strength needed to walk against the current has increased my pace and lung capacity. I can’t wait for my PR at my next race!


#4: Surf the FlowRider®. The Waterpark is still home to the first and only simulated surf machine in Indiana. While it’s been around for a few years now, I say it’s never too late to test your limits and try something new. The first time to do this (now it may have taken me about 15 minutes to get the courage to body board for the first time, but still) I felt like a pro! The lifeguards help you ever step of the way, and once I took my first leap in, there was no turning back! I was on those waves for the rest of the afternoon. I even stood up once! ...and fell quickly.


#3: Partake in a Monon Mixer. If you’re over the age of 21, you’ve got to check out this program...and register early! This adult-only event is a surefire way to enjoy the water in peace and quiet, all while enjoying a drink or two provided by local beer and wine vendors. Don’t worry, there is still one more left in August! So, register quickly, and, please drink responsibly. 


#2: Try the Soft Serve Ice Cream. I mean, c’mon. Who doesn’t love ice cream?! It’s the perfect cool-down treat on a hot day in the sun. Enough said.


#1: Float the Lazy River. This is just a staple and something you’ve got to do when at The Waterpark. The 1/8-mile float is another way to put up those feet and soak in the rays. It’s one of my favorites for sure, which is why it comes in at #1 on my list.

Waterpark hours of operation


Summer lovin’ … had me a blast!


Much like Danny and Sandy’s summer in “Grease,” the Summer of 2017 is going to be a blast with Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR) providing the perfect backdrop to fun with some new features and activities.


Taking center stage for fun is The Waterpark at the Monon Community Center (MCC). Opening for the season on Saturday, May 27, The Waterpark offers several amenities including two Adventure Slides, FlowRider®, AquaClimb® Wall, Plunge Slide, Lazy River, Kiddie Pool and a new and improved Activity Pool with a new play feature suitable for children of all ages. Play feature amenities include a 12-foot waterslide in addition to more than 10 spray features. Visit our website for admission costs and operating times for The Waterpark. (www.carmelclayparks.com)

Also new to CCPR for the summer season is the award-winning West Commons Playground and Splash Pad.  The interactive playground and splash pad opened early in September to rave reviews from parents and kids alike. More than 25,000 square feet of fun include numerous areas for climbing, swinging and sliding while providing inclusive features for those with disabilities. The spray park provides interest for kids of all ages, with opportunities to spin and rotate features and most importantly, cool off. 








Obviously, there is a lot to discover at Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation. With a total of 16 parks throughout the city and township, there really is something for everyone … whether you like stomping in a creek, taking a jog on a trail or catching a wave on the FlowRider®, we’ve got something for you. Give it a try … make this summer a blast!

For those more into communing with nature, 5.2 miles of trails at Central Park, 2.5 miles at White River Greenway Park and .66 miles at Greyhound Trail give hikers a place to bird watch and enjoy native plants while gaining the benefit of outdoor exercise. Speaking of, if you dig exercising in the great outdoors, try out one of our fitness programs like “Water Walking in the Lazy River” or “On the Trail to Fitness” consisting of a 2 – 3 mile, led exercise walk at Central or Founder’s Park.


Meanwhile, good news for busy, active moms this summer as CCPR is the first park system in Indiana to offer a portable Mamava lactation suite for nursing moms at the Monon Community Center. The unit, located by KidZone, is a self-contained, mobile pod with comfortable benches, a fold-down table, an electrical outlet for plugging in a breast pump and a door that can be locked for privacy. The 4-foot by 8-foot pod is meant for individual use, but can fit more than one person, as well as mothers with babies and other children in tow.