Special Events


Tubing the Elkhart River

Saturday, September 9  • 10–11 a.m.

»Event Page

Nothing beats a relaxing float downstream on a warm summer's day! Bring your favorite floatation device, or borrow one of ours on a fantastic trip down the Elkhart River. This laid-back ride will last about an hour and is fun for the whole family! Life jackets will be available or you can bring your own. Before tubing, be sure to slap on some waterproof sunscreen, and please wear sandals or tennis shoes! When you sign up, please specify if you will need to borrow a tube for the event.

Date: Saturday, September 9
Time: 10–11 a.m.

Cost: $2/person (Limit 15)

Age: All

Pre-register by: Friday, September 8 by 4 p.m.
Call: 574-535-6458
What to bring: Sandals or tennis shoes (required), a tube and a life jacket if you have them (extras available for use upon request), and waterproof sunscreen.

Location: Benton Landing, River Preserve County Park. Google directions here.


Weekend Bird Walk

Saturday, September 16 1-3 p.m.

» Facebook Event

In this special weekend walk, join experienced birders and learn ID tips and how to recognize calls as the group seeks out the resident and migratory species found in the park. The bird walk will head out at 1 p.m. sharp, so please plan accordingly.

Date: Saturday, September 16
Time: 1-3 p.m.

Cost: Free (Pre-registration required)

Age: All (Participants 18 & under must be accompanied by an adult)

Pre-register by: Friday, September 15 by 4 pm
Call: 574-535-6458
What to bring: Binoculars (a few extra pairs will be available for use) and comforatable walking/hiking shoes. Other items you may wish to bring: bottled water, a hat, bugspray, field guides, and a camera.

Location: Cobus Creek County Park. Google directions here.


Family Nature Fun Day: Native Americans

Sunday, September 24 24 p.m.

» Facebook Event

Families are invited to learn about Native Americans through fun, interactive activities including shelter building, fire starting, wild edibles, and more. Activities will be geared towards families with kids, ages 6 and above.

Date: Sunday, September 24
Time: 2–4 p.m.

Cost: $10/family (Limit 12 families)
Age: 6 & up (1 responsible adult/family must attend entire program)

Pre-register by: Wednesday, September 20 by 4 p.m.
Call: 574-535-6458

Location: Black Maple Shelter, Ox Bow County Park


Evening Sound Walk

Friday, October 6 6-8 p.m.

Step outside on a fall evening and you might wonder, "What's making all that noise?" Find out the answer in a special evening sound walk led by ear-trained naturalists, and experience the audible side of the River Preserve. During the program, participants will explore the park's natural soundscape, and learn about the sounds made by insects, birds, amphibians, and other wildlife. Dress for an evening hike.

Date: Friday, October 6
Time: 6-8 p.m.

Cost: Free (Pre-registration Required)
Age: All

Pre-register by: Thursday, October 5 by 4 p.m.
Call: 574-535-6458

Location: Benton Dam, River Preserve County Park. Google directions here.


Haunted Michiana

Friday, October 13 1011 a.m.

Many strange stories of hauntings and events have occurred right here in Michiana! Please join us as we wander into the realm of the unknown in a family-friendly program that will reveal some of the actual eyewitness accounts of the paranormal, including ghost sightings and hauntings, a local “dog man” legend, and other oddities. Come out Friday the 13th for an evening of fun and fright!

Date: Friday, October 13
Time: 10–11 a.m.

Cost: $2/person (Limit 20)
Age: All

Pre-register by: Wednesday, October 11 by 4 p.m.
Call: 574-535-6458

Location: Ox Bow Haus Shelter, Ox Bow County Park


Gathering at Five Medals

Saturday, October 21-22

» Event Site

Step back in time 300 years and experience a living history festival spanning the arrival of the French in 1670 to Indiana's statehood. Visit the merchants exchanging homemade wares and wools, witness a fur trade, enjoy traditional music from the frontier, watch a skirmish on the prairie, and so much more!
Come be a part of the Gathering of Five Medals and experience historic moments in motion.

Date: Saturday, October 21-22
Time: Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Cost: $5/adult, $3/child (12 & under)
Age: All

Location: Benton Spillway, River Preserve County Park. Google directions here.


Halloween Campfire & Hayride

Thursday–Saturday, October 26–28

Caramel apples, roasted marshmallows, hot cocoa, a campfire and a hayride–yep, it’s that exciting time of the year again. The ever-popular Halloween Campfire & Hayride is back for three nights of autumn delights. The traditional, family-friendly campfire and hayride will be held on Thursday and Saturday, while Friday will feature the Scary Hayride Night. Hayrides run around 20 minutes.

Please note that advance tickets are required, and can be purchased on the day of the event. As one of our most popular events, tickets sell out fast.

Date: Thursday–Saturday, October 26–28
Hayride Times: Thursday 6:30–8:15 p.m., Friday 7–9:35 p.m., Saturday 6–9 p.m.

Cost: $5/person (Limit 5 tickets/person)
Age: All

Location: Red Pines Campfire Area, Ox Bow County Park


Weekly Programs

Wednesday Bird Walks

Meets every first and third Wednesday at 8 a.m., Runs Year-round

» 2017 Dates & Locations (pdf)

Join experienced bird guides on an informative walk in the park in search of resident and migratory species found in our area. The program offers information on proper identification, tips on how to spot birds and recognize them by ear, and the chance to find rare or unusual species found within the Elkhart County Parks. Every walk offers something different, so grab your hiking boots and binoculars and come discover the fascinating lives of birds!

In addition to the Wednesday Bird Walks, be sure to check the Currents magazine and our Facebook Events for info on special weekend walks and bird workshops.

Date: Meets the first and third Wednesday of every month
Time: 8–10 a.m.*

Cost: Free

Age: All (Participants 18 & under must be accompanied by an adult)

*Please note that walks leave promptly at 8 a.m., so please plan travel time accordingly.


Mommy Stroller Meetup

Meets weekly on Monday 9-11 a.m., Runs JulySeptember

» Upcoming Facebook Events

Moms, lace up your tennies, brake out the stroller and join the new Mommy Stroller Meetup group at Ox Bow County Park! This casual walking group gives moms and caregivers a chance to connect, form new friendships, and enjoy some time outdoors in a stroll through the park. The walk route follows a paved bike trail, with a couple playground stops along the way to give the kids some time to play. Meetups are every Monday from July through September. The walks are free and open to all moms and caregivers with children ages 5 and under. All fitness levels are welcome!

Meetup Dates: July 3, July 10, July 17 , August 7, August 14, August 21, August 28, September 11, September 18, September 25*
Time: 9–11 a.m.

Age: Caregivers with children ages 5 & under

Cost: Free (pre-registration required for new attendees)

To Pre-register: If you have not yet attended a Meetup, please pre-register by the Friday before the Meetup by 4 pm. Call (574) 535-6458 to sign up.
Location: Concessions, Ox Bow County Park

*Please note that there will be NO WALKS scheduled on July 24 and on Labor Day (September 4).


Hiking Club

Meets third Thursday of every month, Runs March–October

»2017 Dates & Locations (Word Doc)

Offered on the third Thursday of every month March through October, the Hiking Club offers the opportunity to meet new people, reach health goals, and explore the diverse terrain and trails found throughout the Elkhart County Parks. All hikes are free and all ages are welcome (participants under 18 must be accompanied by an adult).

Date: Meets the third Thursday of every month

Cost: Free (Pre-registration required)

Age: All (those 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult)

To Pre-register, please call: (574) 535-6458


People of Elkhart

Meets the first Saturday of every month

» Upcoming Facebook Events

We often focus on the historic events of Elkhart County, but forget about the people that influenced these moments in time. The People of Elkhart brings these notable individuals into the spotlight, sharing stories on their lives and how their actions helped to shape the county.

Date: Meets the first Saturday of every month

Cost: Free

Age: All

Location: Elkhart County Historical Museum


Volunteer Work Days

»2017 Dates & Projects (pdf)

Get involved with and help support your Elkhart County Parks by becoming a volunteer. Projects range from gardening to painting and will take place at different park locations. All skill levels and ages are welcome (participants under 16 must be accompanied by an adult). Pre-registration is required.

Cost: Free (Pre-registration required)

Age: All (under 16, must be accompanied by an adult)

To Pre-register, please call: (574) 535-6458


Historical Museum: Exploring Elkhart's First 20,000 Years

Featured Exhibit

» Exhibit Page

Find out what was living in Elkhart County before humans lived here. See a 23,000 year old mammoth tusk found in Middlebury. Learn about the first people who entered this area around 12,000 years ago, and see how their cultures and civilizations evolved over time. Discover how life changed for these people, known today as Native Americans, when they encountered Europeans.


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