Special Events

50 Year Festival

Sunday, August 20  • 1–5 p.m.

»Event Page

The Elkhart County Parks throwing a festival to celebrate our 50 Year Anniversary and you and your family are invited! Come out and enjoy a cake and ice cream social while listening to music from local Spanish rock band, Lalo Cura playing live on the Ox Bow Tower. We’ll be offering tons of fun prizes and activities, including lawn games, craft stations, live hawks and owls, a touch-a-truck area, and a portable rock climbing wall. Local food trucks will also be selling a variety of delicious entrees, so come hungry—there’s plenty to eat. Hope to see you there for this exciting 50-year birthday bash!

Date: Sunday, August 20
Time: 1–5 p.m.

Cost: Free

Age: All

Location: Ox Bow County Park

Reptiles & Amphibians at the 4-H Fair

Friday, July 28 1:15 p.m.

» Facebook Event

Celebrate Green Earth Education day at the Fair in an informative program featuring live reptiles and amphibians of Elkhart County. Participants will get the chance to come up and meet Snuffy the Corn Snake, and learn about a variety of other fascinating cold-blooded critters, including frogs, salamanders, and turtles.

Date: Friday, July 28
Time: 1:15 p.m.

Cost: Free with Fair Admission

Age: Adult

Location: Park Stage, Elkhart County 4-H Fair Grounds

“A New Wrinkle”: Mill Lifehacks

Tuesday, August 1 6:308 p.m.

» Facebook Event

How did 18th-century millers learn tips of the trade? With lifehacks, of course! Join John Jenney, at Bonneyville Mill and discover some of the weird and fascinating tips published in the vintage news column, “New Wrinkle”, and how they were used by the millers in their daily grind at the mill.

Date: Tuesday, August 1
Time: 6:30–8 p.m.

Cost: Free (Limit 25)
Age: Adult

Pre-register by: Friday, July 28 by 4 p.m.
Call: 574-535-6458

Location: Baldwin One Room Schoolhouse in Bonneyville Mill County Park. Google directions here.

Bristol Walking Tour

Thursday, August 3 6:30 p.m.

» Facebook Event

Bristol has a long and interesting history. From a major court case possibly connecting members of the community to the Underground Railroad to the first consolidated school in the county, join us for a great outdoor opportunity to see and hear about the significant sites where Bristol history took place.

Date: Thursday, August 3
Time: 6:30 p.m.

Cost: $5/person (Limit 20)
Age: All

Pre-register by: Wednesday, August 2 by 4 p.m.
Call: 574-535-6458

Location: Elkhart County Historical Museum

Bug Night

Friday, August 11 6:308:30 p.m.

» Facebook Event

They’re creepy, they’re crawly, and they’re back at this insect-inspired event! There will be lots of insect-themed crafts and activities for all ages, so bring the whole family for an evening of buggy fun! See a grasshopper up-close through a lens, tromp through the grass in search of fireflies, or taste a chocolate-covered cricket! “Buggy” caricatures, balloons, face painting and snacks will be available for purchase. Don’t miss out on this exciting event abuzz with bugs!

Date: Friday, August 11
Time: 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Cost: $2/adult, $1/child (12 & under)
Age: All

Location: Cobus Creek County Park

Sparrow ID Workshop

Saturday, August 12 14 p.m.

» Facebook Event

Often referred to as "LBBs" (Little Brown Birds), sparrows are one of those bird groups that birders tend to avoid like the plague when it comes to identification. Give sparrows a closer look, and you’d be surprised how varied and charming these birds can be. Get to know your sparrows in this workshop that will cover tips and tricks with identification, and fascinating facts. Following the class, the group will head out for a bird walk where participants can put their new I.D. skills to the test.

Date: Saturday, August 12
Time: 1 –4 p.m.

Cost: $5/person (Limit 25)
Age: Adult
Pre-register by: Friday, August 11 by 4 p.m.
Call: 574-535-6458

Location: Ox Bow Haus, Ox Bow County Park

DeFries Calendar Garden Tour

Saturday, August 12 14 p.m.

» Facebook Event

Join the garden designer and caretakers on a guided tour to learn about the history, layout, and special features of this beloved Garden. The tour will also take an in-depth look at some of the beautiful garden plants, including Helianthus, Solidago, Obedient plant and other varieties found in bloom during the peak of summer.

Date: Saturday, August 12
Time: 1 –4 p.m.

Cost: Free
Age: All

Location: DeFries Gardens in River Preserve 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.