Ritchey Woods

Gift to The Children’s Museum

Children participated in museum-run nature programs at Ritchey Woods in the 1980s and ’90s.
A 127-acre wooded tract of land in Hamilton County several miles north of The Children’s Museum’s main campus, Ritchey Woods was once owned by Dr. James Oscar Ritchey, who began restoring the longtime pasture to its natural forested and wetlands state in the 1950s. He later gave the land to The Nature Conservancy, which continued restoration efforts.

In 1982 The Nature Conservancy turned Ritchey Woods over to The Children’s Museum, which opened the land to the public for hiking and environmental workshops, a natural extension of its longstanding commitment to natural science and history. For 22 years the museum maintained and improved the land, cautioning visitors to “take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.”

Donation to Fishers

As the town of Fishers grew up around Ritchey Woods, museum officials decided residents there—who were among its most frequent visitors—would also be its most thoughtful stewards. In 2004 the museum donated the property to Fishers, and the town promised to maintain it as a green space amid its rapidly expanding residential and commercial properties. Overseen by the Fishers Parks Department, Ritchey Woods remains a nature preserve open to the public for guided or self-guided hikes and hands-on environmental programs.