- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - There’s a lot going on in Indianapolis this spring, between the presidential primary and the Indy 500. For visitors or locals looking to get away from the hubbub, consider a visit to the gardens and nature park on the campus of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The grounds include an unusual outdoor space for contemplation called “Park of the Laments.”

Art lovers will want to start inside the museum, of course, where the collection ranges from Vincent van Gogh to Georgia O’Keeffe to intriguing exhibitions of contemporary art and design.

But make sure to allow an hour or more for exploring the extraordinary grounds outside the museum building. Here you’ll find Oldfields Gardens and the 100-acre Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park.

The gardens are part of the Lilly House estate. You can tour the historic mansion, which was once the home of J.K. Lilly Jr., an Indianapolis businessman. But on a beautiful spring day, the gardens are the place to be. Every path is lined with colorful flowers and the trees rain down fragrant blossoms in the breeze.

From the gardens, make your way to the Art & Nature Park. You’ll find a canal, a lake, fields, meandering paths, outdoor art installations and even an old-fashioned swing set where you can kick your feet up to the sky. The artwork includes “Funky Bones,” 20 white benches that form a huge human skeleton. “Funky Bones” was the setting for a scene in the young adult book “The Fault in Our Stars,” written by John Green, who was born in Indianapolis.

And don’t miss “Park of the Laments.” Walls made of smooth gray stone rise on either side as you descend a staircase into a tunnel, then emerge into a grassy field edged by more stone walls. Whether your laments are personal, political or otherwise, it’s a peaceful spot for clearing the mind.

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If You Go…

INDIANAPOLIS MUSEUM OF ART: 4000 Michigan Road, Indianapolis. Museum admission for adults is $18. Some areas of the IMA campus are free, including the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Thursdays.

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This story corrects name to Oldfields Gardens.


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