We created a summer bucket list and on it was "visit Forest Park." I should have made my list say "visit all of Hamilton County's parks" because we ended up at several new parks over the summer and each one offered its own special highlights.

Let's start with Forest Park located in Noblesville. One of my favorite things about this park in particular is how shaded it was! Perfect for a hot summer day! And, you won't be lacking for things to do. Not only are there two playgrounds (one designed for younger kids and one for older), but there is also a skate park, "Little Beauty" , "Tom Thumb" putt-putt course, an aquatic center, a 9-hole golf course, the Indiana Transportation Museum and an annual Summer Concert Series. You can't beat that! We met some friends, packed a lunch and spent a good three hours there and that didn't even include hitting all of their attractions!

I have often driven by Coxhall Gardens and am always amazed at the immaculate 125 acres it includes. And how can you not stare at the lovely clock towers? We stopped one day with a picnic lunch to check out their playground. The kids playground area was tucked away in one corner of the property. It didn't have much shade, but it did have a water/sand area to cool kids off.  We weren't quite prepared to get sandy and wet so we stayed our distance and instead visited the adorable kids' town that had play structures and gardens for my daughter to run around. And let's not forget the awesome tube slide built into a hill ... a huge hit!

Some friends conveniently suggested we meet them at Founders Park one day. While it is a bit smaller than the other ones we visited they have recently added shade more shade and it has an awesome sand pit for the kids. I wish I would have been more prepared and packed some buckets and shovels ... next time! 

And the last one I'll mention (for now) is the . Because we went on one of the hottest days of the summer, we took full advantage of the splash grounds!  They also have a playground, shelter and nine-hole disc golf course.

Even though we have succeeded in visiting all of these parks, I just keep adding to our list of where we need to go. I think I might need to create a fall bucket list!

For a full list of Hamilton County parks, outdoor recreation places and details, visit Hamilton County's Outdoors and Nature Page. You'll be amazed at all the options!