White River State Park Celebrates MLK, Jr. Day with Free Admissions

INDIANAPOLIS – White River State Park (WRSP) attractions will offer free admission and parking to visitors in exchange for non-perishable food item donations on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Mon., Jan. 20, 2020.

White River State Park has partnered with Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana for the past twenty years to host this annual event on MLK, Jr. Day. Now only one of two food collection opportunities provided by Gleaners in the city, this annual event nets one of the largest food donations for the organization. Together, WRSP and Gleaners have collected more than 95 tons of non-perishable, canned food donations.

“Every year, we look forward to continuing our commitment of serving hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers who are most in need. Partnering with White River State Park on this important day celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., showcases this national day of service encouraging Americans to improve their communities. Thank you for providing both food and engagement in our community to serve neighbors in need,” said John Elliott, Gleaners’ President & CEO.

Special activities will take place throughout the day at most of the major attractions that make up White River State Park, including Eiteljorg Museum, National Institute for Fitness and Sport (NIFS), IMAX® Theater, Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis Zoo and the NCAA® Hall of Champions, where the Indianapolis Indians will host activities. Attractions are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors will be granted free admission to any of the WRSP attractions with a non-perishable food donation to Gleaners. Visitors may also make monetary donations. Dip jar donations of $1 can provide up to five meals and can be made at various locations throughout the Park.

“We are so excited to again offer access to our wonderful park and its attractions at no cost to visitors on MLK day. We are even more thrilled that through our partnership with Gleaners and the generous donations of our park visitors, we are able to fill the needs of some of our most vulnerable communities,” said Carolene Mays-Medley, executive director of White River State Park Development Commission.

The following FREE activities at WRSP attractions will take place on MLK Day:

Indianapolis Indians

The Indianapolis Indians will be at the NCAA Hall of Champions from 10am-2pm promoting their 2020 home opener, scheduled for Thursday, April 9. The first 500 people to visit the table will receive one ticket voucher good for Opening Night. The Indians mascot Rowdie will also be in attendance signing autographs and taking photos from 1-2pm. For more on the Indianapolis Indians, contact the Victory Field Box Office at (317) 269-3545 or visit IndyIndians.com.

NCAA Hall of Champions

Experience all 24 NCAA sports through interactive exhibits including a 1930s replica gymnasium, sports simulators, trivia challenges and more. The newest exhibit, “Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Making an Impact”, is featured on the second floor.  Known for their rich traditions and legacies, this display celebrates the history and accomplishments of NCAA HBCU schools. As in years past, guests can also participate in a scavenger hunt and register for hourly raffle prizes for official NCAA merchandise. There will also be photo opportunities with replicas of the 2020 NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball trophies. For more information, visit www.ncaahallofchampions.org. 


Visitors can immerse themselves in Native American and Western cultures with the museum’s many exhibits. It’s your last chance to visit the amazing Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure, a one-of-a-kind model train experience featuring trains that chug through a network of trestles, bridges and tunnels with detailed replicas of national treasures, including new scenes The Alamo and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Visitors can also see a couple of powerful exhibits: Blurring the Line: The Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship and For A Love of His People: The Photography of Horace Poolaw, a traveling exhibit of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. For more information visit, www.eiteljorg.org.


The National Institute for Fitness and Sport (NIFS) will have free group fitness classes starting at 6am and running throughout the day until 7:35pm. Classes include our popular Les Mills BODYPUMP™ classes, TRX®, Cycle, Boot Camp, Barre Fusion and Yoga. The full group fitness schedule for the day can be found at https://www.nifs.org/fitness-center/group-fitness . Additionally, from 10am-2pm our field trip obstacle course will be setup for kids of all ages and levels in the fitness center. All kids must be accompanied by an adult. For more information on NIFS call 317-274-3432 or visit nifs.org.

IMAX® Theater

Visitors to the IMAX® Theater can enjoy one of five free screenings of the IMAX original film, Superpower Dogs 2D. The film provides an astonishing look at the science behind the life-saving superpowers and amazing abilities of some of the world’s most astonishing dogs, on the immersive IMAX screen. The screenings will run  at: 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis until capacity is met. For more information, visit www.imax.com/wrsp.

Indiana State Museum

Visit the Indiana State Museum from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to celebrate Dr. King’s dream and explore the story of the fight for civil rights. See some of Dr. King’s most iconic speeches, experience activities themed around civil and human rights, create a “Dream” mural, and reflect on what you can do to ensure Dr. King’s dream lives on for future generations. For more information, visit www.indianamuseum.org.

The Indianapolis Zoo

Enjoy a special visit to the Indianapolis Zoo on MLK Day. Our hardier animals who love the cold will be out to enjoy the day, including sea lions, tigers, walrus, brown bears and more. Guests can get warm in the Zoo’s indoor exhibits — Oceans, Dolphin Dome, Deserts Dome, Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center and the Hilbert Conservatory. Plus, visitors can enjoy a free Dolphin Presentation. The Zoo is open 9am-4pm. For more information, visit www.indianapoliszoo.com.

WRSP will also offer complimentary parking throughout the day between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Regular rates will resume after 7 p.m. Visitors may park in the WRSP parking garage located at 650 W. Washington St. or surface lot located at 801 W. Washington St.  Parking is not guaranteed and is on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information about MLK Jr. Day at  White River State Park, visit our website at  www.whiteriverstatepark.org.

For more information contact Jihada Garrett, Herd Strategies, at jihada@herdstrategies.com or 317-572-7102.

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#MLKday @WhiteRiverStPrk

About Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc.
On a yearly basis, hundreds of thousands of hungry Hoosiers depend on food and other critical grocery products provided by Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. Gleaners supplies items to hunger relief agencies and schools throughout 21 counties in central and southeastern Indiana.

Gleaners was founded in 1980 and is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network.  Charity Navigator has recognized Gleaners as a 4-Star organization for six consecutive years, the highest rating for charity demonstrating fiscal management and accountability. Since its inception, Gleaners has distributed over 320 million pounds of food and critical grocery products to over 230 hunger relief agencies serving needy Hoosiers. In addition to food distribution to hunger relief agencies, Gleaners serves our most vulnerable populations, seniors and children, through specialty programs such as the BackSacks: Weekend Food for KidsSchool-Based PantryMobile PantrySummer Meals for Kids, and Senior Hunger Initiative Programs. To learn more, visit www.gleaners.org.

About WRSP

White River State Park is an extraordinary park in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, offering 250 acres of vibrant green spaces, waterways, and world-class attractions. The Park draws millions of visitors annually and is home to the Indianapolis Zoo, Indiana State Museum, IMAX® Theater, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, NCAA® Hall of Champions, Indianapolis Indians Baseball at Victory Field, The Lawn at White River State Park, the Medal of Honor Memorial, and Military Park.  To learn more, visit www.WhiteRiverStatePark.org. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @WhiteRiverStPrk and Facebook @WhiteRiverStatePark.




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