Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

January 16, 2013

Park celebrates MLK Jr. Day with free admissions


— 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 on Jan. 21, with a canned good donation (one can per person, per attraction).

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.

Special activities will take place throughout the day at the six major attractions that make up White River State Park: Eiteljorg Museum, IMAX Theater, Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis Zoo, NCAA Hall of Champions, and Victory Field.

Returning this year, the IMAX Theater will host a blood drive. All blood donors will receive free concession items in addition to free admission.

The following free activities at park attractions will be taking place on MLK Day:

- Indianapolis Zoo - Visitors can walk the grounds and see the animals, especially the ones that love the cooler temperatures. Favorite activities will 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 the Deserts Dome, where it's a comfy 82 degrees.

- IMAX Theater - Experience one of the thrilling IMAX standard engagement action films where "Born To Be Wild" and "To The Arctic" will be shown for free until 5 p.m. With "Born To Be Wild," follow 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 a child-friendly story of love, family, and hope. Intimate footage brings movie goers up close and personal with this family's struggle to survive in a frigid environment of melting ice, immense glaciers, spectacular waterfalls, and snow-bound peaks.

- NCAA Hall of Champions - 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.

- Indiana State Museum - Films, activities, poetry, and performance art will fill the museum as the life and times of 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 Cafe and the historic L.S. Ayres Tea Room will be serving lunch; reservations are recommended for the Tea Room.

- Eiteljorg Museum - Visitors can immerse themselves in Native American and Western cultures with the museum's many exhibits including "National Geographic: Greatest Photographs of the American West." The exhibit features the best images of the West published by National Geographic magazine over its 125-year history and includes works by nearly 80 photographers including Ansel Adams, Edward S. Curtis, and Annie Griffiths. There will also be lunch specials at the Eiteljorg Museum Cafe.

- Victory Field - 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 off of 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.

For more information about White River State Park, visit the website at www.whiteriverstatepark.org.