Q: I know Indy’s parks are full of deer, but what other interesting animals live there? A: While not the Serengeti, Indianapolis is home to far more living things than the average resident realizes. For starters, any park bigger than a Costco’s footprint likely has some of these ubiquitous deer. However, according to Ronnetta Spalding, Chief Communications Officer of Indy Parks & Recreation, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Eagle Creek has everything from raccoons to red foxes to bald eagles – along with a few curiosities. “We also have white pelicans, loons and two-hooded cormorants there,” says Spalding. The above eagles also visit parks near the White River as our national symbol is a sucker for a fish dinner. Many parks have coyotes too. But that’s hardly a novelty in Indiana these days. When you want to see one, just leave the lid off your trash can.
Q: Where can food trucks legally go? I’ve seen them everywhere since the pandemic. A: When it comes to food preparation, the people who make all of these street tacos and deluxe mac-and-cheeses have to adhere to strict restaurant-level health and safety regulations. However, the rules of where they can sell their goods are pretty lax. “It’s always run by promoters, boards and homeowners associations,” says April Richwine, co-owner of Friends of Fred Food Trucks, one of the largest food truck event organizers in town. This means that, for example, they cannot block roads or hinder the flow of traffic, but they can set up a business almost anywhere. It certainly helped during the pandemic when food trucks left downtown and started driving neighborhoods like adult ice cream trucks. “The foodies couldn’t come to us, so we went to them,” says Richwine.
Q: I’ve seen the Amish drive around northern Indiana in their horse-drawn buggies. Could I do that or do the Amish get a special permit?
A: If the idea of driving a buggy stirs your butter, you’ll be happy to know that anyone can use wagon transport, just like the plain people. The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department publishes a horse and buggy driver’s guide that you should read. Among other things, you will learn that in the “slow” buggy when one buggy tries to pass another, the horse is sometimes offended when it bends and speeds up, which makes it difficult to overtake it. You also have to trick your driving with sidelights, blinkers and a triangle “slow moving vehicle”. You should avoid falling as strollers are not buckled up. But then you do it anyway.