Saturday, January 12

Free Admission to White River State Park for MLK, Jr. Day Jan. 21

*Press Release*
INDIANAPOLIS – For the 13th year in a row, visitors to White River State Park attractions will receive free admission and free parking on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21, with a canned good donation (one can per person, per attraction).

Visitors can walk the grounds and see lots of animals, especially the ones that love the cooler temperatures. Favorite activities include the 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. dolphin shows, indoor shark petting in the nation’s largest shark touch pool and heating things up with the meerkats in Deserts Dome.

Born To Be Wild and To The Arctic will be shown for free until 5 p.m. Born To Be Wild follows young orphaned elephants and orangutans on the trip of a lifetime, from birth to their rebirth into the wild. This family friendly documentary transports moviegoers around the world to the far stretches of Kenya and Borneo and inspires them to take action and save earth’s precious creatures. To The Arctic is an emotional, kid-friendly story of love, family and hope. Captivating and intimate footage brings moviegoers up close and personal with this family’s struggle to survive in a frigid environment of melting ice, immense glaciers, spectacular waterfalls, and majestic snow-bound peaks.
Warm-up with a complimentary cup of hot chocolate or coffee and learn more about what it takes to be an NCAA student-athlete. Ronald Nored, a former basketball student-athlete from Butler University will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will have a storytime for children. There will be continuous screenings of "Game of Change," a documentary that reaches far beyond sports, demonstrating the significance of the game of basketball in the struggle for racial equality. There will also be opportunities to win official NCAA merchandise throughout the day.

Films, activities, poetry and performance art fill the museum as the life and times of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are celebrated. “Tragedy, Trains, Truth & Tales” will be performed by Arts for Learning actors as part of the Indiana Affiliate of Young Audiences. And, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, visitors can view original signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery. The Canal CafĂ© and the historic L.S. Ayres Tea Room will be serving lunch; reservations recommended for the Tea Room.
Visitors can immerse themselves in Native American and Western cultures with the museum's many exhibits. Don't miss your chance to visit National Geographic: Greatest Photographs of the American West. The exhibit features the best images of the West published by National Geographic over its 125-year history and includes works by nearly 80 photographers including Ansel Adams, Edward S. Curtis and Annie Griffiths. And be sure to check out the lunch specials at the Eiteljorg Museum Cafe.
 From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., health care professionals from Wishard will offer health screenings and general information about Wishard services. Nurses will also be available to discuss the importance of primary and preventive care. Health screening participants will each receive two free tickets to Opening Day at Victory Field (April 4). Plus, Rowdie, the Indians mascot, will stop by for autographs.

The Park is also offering complimentary parking on MLK, Jr. Day. Visitors may park in the underground garage located off Washington Street in front of the Indiana State Museum, in the surface parking lots at the Indianapolis Zoo and Victory Field, and in the surface parking lot across from Victory Field next to the Park's Visitor's Center. Parking is not guaranteed and is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Park’s partnership with Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana has resulted in more than 75 tons of non-perishable, canned food donations over the years from this one-day, annual event. That weight of food is the equivalent of approximately 28 zoo elephants, or 15 mastodons that once roamed Indiana, or 150 western horses, or 468,000 professional baseballs, or 273 full-length IMAX movie reel platters, or 109,000 collegiate-level basketballs.

Images provided by WRSP
For more information about White River State Park, visit

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at and and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on,, an in print. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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