The Waterpark at the Monon Community Center in Carmel, Ind., has water slides, a lazy river, a lap pool and more.

#6. Carmel

Kids growing up in Carmel, IN, have many advantages that tend to appeal to parents. There’s the highly rated schools, low crime rate, environmentally-conscious city leaders and a large percentage of restaurants that offer kids’ menus. What the kids in Carmel dig are all the fun things to do like splashing down the slides at the local water park, wandering through the Museum of Miniature Houses and playing in the parks. And there are a ton of other kids to play with. Nearly 34 percent of Carmel households have school-age children.

Located on the north side of Indianapolis, Carmel has undergone a transformation that revived its small downtown area and rejuvenated older neighborhoods. Home prices here are lower than the national average, while income levels are higher. Carmel’s walking trails and bike paths continue to grow, and the city has already been applauded by the biking community. Safety-conscious drivers, as parents tend to be, praise the city’s many roundabouts, which federal highway officials say have reduced the number of collisions.

More than 500 acres of parkland in Carmel gives residents plenty of space to play. The Center for the Performing Arts presents a variety of shows, and most of them are great for kids. Many children in Carmel participate in the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative, which includes vocal competitions and educational programs. One of the more unique and interesting things to do with kids in Carmel is making a stop at Mr. Muffin’s Trains, a store that, in addition to selling model trains, features a large display of locomotives and tiny towns.

For mommies and daddies: The Carmel Arts and Design District has a collection of art galleries, showrooms, specialty shops and restaurants.

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