Frequently Asked Questions About Crown Hill Tours

Q. What's the difference between a "Public" tour and a "Private" tour?
A. Public tours are pre-scheduled guided tours which cover a variety of topics. They're usually conducted on a Saturday evening (sunset tours) or Saturday morning most weekends from Memorial Day through early November. These tours can be walking or driving tours and last 90 minutes to two hours and cover about one mile at a comfortable pace. Anyone can attend and just pay the per person rate of $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for students. No reservations are required. Participants need meet the tour guide at the 34th St. and Boulevard Place stone gate. The address is 3400 Boulevard Place. Tours are held in the rain as long as it's not severe. See our calendar of tours and events for the latest schedule.

Private tours are guided for groups or individuals who want to schedule a tour on a specific date and at a specific time. Private group tours can be scheduled for any day and time, with the exception of holidays and at the availability of our tour guides. The above per person rates apply with a minimum fee of $50 per tour. Most private tours are walking tours which typically last 90 minutes and cover about one mile at a comfortable pace. Driving tours are also available as long as you provide your own transportation - a small bus, van, personal cars, or bicycles. All tours can be shortened and most walking tours can be modified into driving tours.

SMALL BUS or VAN TOURS are private guided tours for who desire a step-on guide. Participants can get off the small bus or van to see various monuments as much as they'd like. Most tour groups get off the bus at James Whitcomb Riley's memorial at the top of the Crown to see the stunning 360-degree view of the entire Indianapolis skyline. These tours must be scheduled at least two weeks (or longer) in advance and are charged at the same rate as walking tours. All groups must provide their own transportation. (Please note that there's a circle drive around the Riley monument at the top of the Crown that can accommodate buses/vans.)

CHARTER, COACH, AND DELUXE MOTOR COACH TOURS: Our apologies, but we cannot provide guided tours for charter, coach and deluxe motor coach buses because of our many low-hanging branches, narrow roads, and very tight turns. We can only accommodate small buses or vans.

You must schedule private group tours at least two weeks in advance by writing or calling Marty Davis at mdavis@crownhill.org or (317) 920-2644. If you have a large group requiring multiple guides, or plan to tour during our busiest months of April, May, September or October, it's advisable that you schedule your tour as far in advance as possible.

PRIVATE GUIDED WALKING OR DRIVING TOURS:

GENERAL INFO for PRIVATE Guided Tours

Q. Is there a FEE for your private guided tours?
A. Yes, we charge a fee for guided tours, and these fees are used to support the restoration and beautification projects and educational programs of the Crown Hill Heritage Foundation, a public charity. (See the "FEES for PRIVATE Guided Tours" section below.)

Q. How far in advance do I need to schedule my private group tour?
A. As far as possible if your group is large and/or if it's during our busy months of April, May, September or October.

Q. Do I need to have a minimum number of people for a private group tour?
A. No. We've given guided tours to just one or two people. No matter what size your tour is, you pay the per person rate, with a minimum of $50 per tour.

Q. Is there a maximum number of people our group can have for a private tour?
A. The number of people permitted on a private group tour is determined by the availability of our tour guides. Often large school groups come on two separate days or split their group up and half the group picnics or does special projects while the other half is taking the tour, then they switch.

Q. What's the most popular tour?
A. The Heritage Tour. It captures the highlights from other tours and includes many of our most recognizable monuments and well-known people. This tour is the most appropriate tour for students. Please note our list of "Heritage Tour Personalities" [PDF] to see who is included on this tour.

Q. How far are your walking tours?
A. Usually about one mile. It's a comfortable pace for most people.

Q. How long do Private Group Tours last?
A. Private group tours last 90 minutes. Please arrive 10 minutes early in order for your tour to begin on time.


Q. What happens if our group arrives late?
A.
Your tour time will begin at the scheduled time. If your group arrives late then your tour will be cut short in order to end at the scheduled time. Out of respect for our tour guide's time, we do not extend the time of our tours when groups arrive late.

Q. Are all private tours walking tours?
A. No, we offer driving tours as well, either by a small bus, van, or car. (If you desire a driving tour you must provide your own  small bus, van, or car. See Small Bus & Van Tours above.)

Q. Can I schedule my Private group tour to see the sunset from "The Crown?"
A. Yes! A great idea! When you call we can schedule your tour at the best time for this, depending upon the time of year.

Q. Where do we meet the guide for a Private tour?
A. Unless told otherwise, you will always meet the tour guide right inside the 34th St. and Boulevard Place stone gate entrance at the Waiting Station building on the north side. You can find this location and get directions from this interactive GOOGLE MAP. (The actual address is 3400 Boulevard Place.) From the Waiting Station your guide will take you to the location where you can park and begin your tour, which is usually (but not always), at the Gothic Chapel. Because your tour will not start from the Waiting Station, please keep your students on the bus.
Please arrive 10 minutes early in order for your tour to begin on time.
Important Note: if your group is arriving in separate vehicles and there are latecomers, they will be separated from the tour group after the group leaves the Waiting Station and they may miss the tour.

Q. Which gate should we enter?
A. Unless told otherwise, private group tours should always enter at the 34th St. and Boulevard Place stone gate entrance (3400 Boulevard Place) and meet their guide at the red brick historic Waiting Station building immediately on the right.

Q. Where do we park our cars?
A. You will park at the Waiting Station right inside the gate only long enough for everyone in your group has arrived. From there your guide will lead you where you will park for the duration of your tour (unless it's a driving tour). We have plenty of free parking. (Important Note: if your group is arriving in separate vehicles and there are latecomers, they will be separated from the tour group after the group leaves the Waiting Station and they may miss the tour.)

Q. Where do we park our small buses or vans?
A. We have plenty of free parking and you will be shown by your guide where to park.

Q. What if some of us on the tour can't walk but others can; how can they tour with us?
A. Many tour groups have members carpool and they can drive along while the others walk. Note that our walking tours frequently leave the road and go into our burial sections. Those following along can do that as well if desired.

Q. Can home school groups tour even with all different ages?
A. Yes, we have many home school groups that tour Crown Hill each year. Our guides typically share information that is geared toward the older students on the tour, which has been the preference of the parents.

FEES & SCHEDULING for PRIVATE Guided Tours

Q. What are your private group walking and driving tour fees?
A. $5 for adults, $4 for seniors (55+), and $3 for students ages 18 and under, with a minimum of $50 per tour.

Q. Is there a minimum fee for a private group tour?
A. Yes, $50 for a walking tour. For instance, for a school tour, if you have 17 or fewer students you will pay the $50 minimum, but if you have more than 17 students you will pay the per person rate. The same is true for adult groups: adults are $5 each so if you have ten or fewer adults your fee will be $50; if over 10 adults your group will pay the per person rate. 

Q. Are chaperons on school tours free?
A. Yes, one adult chaperon per every ten students is admitted at no charge. Additional adults are $5 each. Bus drivers are always free.

Q. How do I schedule a private group tour?
A. Email (best option) or call Marty Davis at mdavis@crownhill.org or (317) 920-2644. Information needed is:
*The name of your school or group
*Your name, address, regular phone number and cell phone number
*Number of people in your group
*Age (or grade level) of group members (adult, senior citizen - 55+, or student)
*Date and time you'd like to have a tour
*How you plan to pay for your tour
*Credit card number with security code if reserving your tour with a credit card. (Please don't email your credit card number.)


Q. When do I reserve my tour?
A. It is recommended that groups reserve their tour with a credit card, which is not charged prior to the tour. This must be done no later than 14 days in advance. If the group coordinator also wants to pay the full fee with the credit card, it will be charged following the tour. You can also reserve your tour with a credit card and then pay for the tour in full on your tour date with a check or cash. Please call Marty Davis at (317) 920-2644 to reserve your tour with a credit card. (Please do not email your credit card number.)

Q. When do I pay?
A. All private group tours have a 14-day in advance payment policy (by check) unless you reserve your tour with a credit card no later than 14 days in advance. (Checks will not be cashed until the tour is complete.) Failure to reserve your tour with a credit card or pay by check 14 days in advance may result in the cancellation of your tour.

Q. What payment methods do you accept?
A. Credit card, check, or cash. (Please do not mail cash, and please do not email credit card numbers. Not only is it unsafe for you, our email server will reject it your email.)

Q. Where do I send my check to pre-pay my private group tour?*
A. Crown Hill Cemetery
Attn: Marty Davis
700 West 38th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Make checks payable to the Crown Hill Heritage Foundation.
*You may also reserve your tour with a credit card and pay with a check or cash when you arrive, or we can charge your credit card for the entire fee.

Q. Do I tip my tour guide?
A. It's certainly not necessary but is appreciated by our guides. It's completely up to you or your group.

CANCELLATIONS for PRIVATE Guided Tours

Q. What if it rains or if there's other inclement weather?
A. All tours are held in the rain as long as it's not severe* and if the group chooses to continue. If you decide to cancel due to inclement weather (or for any reason), you must do so by calling the phone number given to you for that purpose
at least 90 minutes in advance of when your tour is scheduled to begin. Sometimes it will be Marty Davis' office number - (317-920-2644), or you will be given her cell phone number or the phone number of your tour guide. (*Severe means thunder, lightning and/or a total downpour.) If you have questions about who to call, please email or call Marty Davis prior to you tour date for that information (mdavis@crownhill.org).

Q. What if we need to cancel for other reasons?
A. You may cancel for any reason, but to avoid the $30 late cancellation fee, you must call and cancel with as much notice as possible, and no less than 90 minutes in advance of when your tour is scheduled to start. If for some reason you are unable to contact the person at the number(s) given to you, be sure to leave a message so we will have a record of your cancellation.

Q. Will I get a refund?
A. You will be given a full refund if you cancel far enough in advance. If not, you may be charged the $30 late cancellation fee.

PICNICS & RESTROOMS for PRIVATE Guided Tours

Q. Where can my students use the restrooms & when should we use the restrooms?
A. There are restrooms available behind of the historic Gothic Chapel (indoor restrooms attached to the rear of the building). We ask that groups use the restrooms well in advance of when their tour is scheduled to start or use them afterward. If tour guides are required to delay the beginning of the tour due to restroom usage, they will still end at the scheduled time.

Q. Can we picnic at Crown Hill?
A. Yes, groups are welcome to picnic at Crown Hill in our designated areas. (Ask about these areas when you schedule your tour.)

Q. Do you have picnic tables and trash receptacles?
A. No. Please bring blankets or chairs to sit on and take all your trash out with you.

PUBLIC TOUR Info:

Q. Do you offer Public tours every day?
A. No, they're pre-scheduled just on weekends, either on a Saturday night or morning, and sometimes on a Sunday afternoon, from Memorial Day through late October or early November. Please see our ONLINE CALENDAR for up-to-date times/descriptions/info or our PUBLIC TOUR PAGE for a quick schedule and info.

Q. Are Public tours scheduled for a set time?
A. Yes, either on Saturday night or morning. Almost all Saturday evening tours are scheduled so visitors can watch the sunset from the Crown. See our ONLINE CALENDAR for the exact start time and place.

Q. Is there a fee for your Public guided tours?
A. Yes, we charge a per person fee for guided tours, and these fees are used to support the restoration and beautification projects and educational programs of the Crown Hill Heritage Foundation, a public charity. The per person fees are: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors (55+), and $3 for students ages 18 and under.

Q. Do I need to make a reservation for a public tour?
A. No. Just arrive about 10-15 minutes before the tour is scheduled to start.

Q. What if I arrive late? Can I still take the tour? Where do I find the group?
A. Our tours do not actually begin at the Waiting Station where everyone first gathers. The guide will lead the cars to where everyone will park and the tour will begin - and close the 34th St. gate behind them (if the tour begins after 5:00 pm). If you arrive at the 34th St. gate and it's locked, you can enter the 38th St. gate at 700 W. 38th St. and follow the white line to the Gothic Chapel where many of our WALKING tours begin and end. If you see cars parked at the Gothic Chapel you can try to find the group and join them late. Please pay the tour guide when you join the group.
IMPORTANT NOTE: on a few occasions tours are cancelled if no one attends of if the weather is bad and you will not find any cars parked at the Gothic Chapel. You will also not find parked cars at the Gothic Chapel if it is a DRIVING TOUR because the group will be driving from stop to stop.

Q. How long do Public tours last?
A. Most guided public tours last around two hours, with some being around 90 minutes.

Q. How far are your walking tours?
A. Usually about one mile. It's a comfortable pace for most people.

Q. Where do we meet the guide for a Public tour?
A. Right inside the 34th St. and Boulevard Place stone gate entrance at the Waiting Station building on the north side of the street.
 (This gate closes everyday at 5 p.m. but is opened for public tours.) You can find this location and get directions from this interactive GOOGLE MAP. (The actual address is 3400 Boulevard Place.) From the Waiting Station your guide will take you to the location where you can park and begin your tour, which is usually (but not always), at the Gothic Chapel.

Q. Where do we park our cars?
A. We have plenty of free parking and you will be shown by your guide where to park.

Q. What if it rains when a Public Tour is scheduled?
A. All tours are held in the rain as long as it's not severe* and if the group chooses to. (*Severe means thunder, lightening and/or a total downpour.) If the weather is severe the tour will be canceled.

Q. Do any of the Public tours include seeing the sunset?
A. Most, if not all, of the Saturday night public tours are scheduled to see the sunset. Sometimes we offer night tours that take place entirely after dark.

GENERAL INFO FOR ALL TOURS:

Q. What's the most popular tour?
A. The Heritage Tour. It captures the highlights from other tours and includes many of our most recognizable monuments and well-known people. This tour is the most appropriate tour for students. Please note our list of "Heritage Tour Personalities" [PDF] to see who is included on this tour.

Q. Do you conduct "haunted" or "ghost" tours?
A. No. Our groups are historical in nature. Ghost hunting organizations are not allowed to bring their recording equipment on our tours and all group members must stay with the guide.

Q. Can I bring my dog or a stroller?
A. Sure. Dogs must be super people-friendly and on a leash. You must pick-up after your dog as well. Strollers are welcome but you should be aware that our tours don't always follow the road and strollers may not roll through the grass very well.

Q. What about wheelchairs?
A. Wheelchairs are welcome but you should be aware that our tours don't always follow the road, but you can follow along and catch up with the tour when they return to the road.

Q. Are there any hills on the tour?
A. Most of our terrain is flat or gentle rolling hills. The only exception is the "Crown," which is a very steep hill leading to the memorial of James Whitcomb Riley, the famous Hoosier poet. Once at the top you will enjoy a stunning 360-degree panoramic view of the entire Indianapolis skyline. If someone in your group can't walk up the hill they may stay at the bottom and wait for the group to come back down or the group can choose to skip the hill altogether.

Q. How high is "The Crown?"
A. 842.21 feet

Q. Is it really the highest elevation in Marion County?
A. No, it's the highest hill in the county. The highest elevation in the county is actually about 915 feet above sea level on a plateau in the northwest corner of the county in a neighborhood of homes.

Q. Should I bring a flashlight on a night tour?
A. Unless it's "a dark and stormy night" (just kidding), flashlights aren't usually necessary, but we certainly welcome them.

Q. How about insect repellent?
A. Yes! In the summer it's a great idea.

Q. How about bottled water?
A. Yes! It's always a great idea.

Q. Will I see any wildlife on my tour?
A. Maybe. We have a number of White-tailed deer on the property as well as a coyote, fox, hawks, and squirrels. In some historical documents there are references to a panther and bear, but those are long gone!

Q. What are all those yellow and blue tags on the trees?
A. Those are the tags for our tree map and tree tour. The blue ones are trees on the tree tour and the map, and the yellow ones are just listed on the tree map. If you're using our tree map to locate trees for a leaf collection or to study them, please note that the round silver numbered disks on many of our trees are not related to our tree map or tree tour; those are tree inventory tags.

Q. Do you have tree maps and tree tours?
A. Yes, we offer tree maps free of charge (donations are greatly appreciated). This map includes the scientific and common names for fifty marked trees native to Indiana and where they're located. Our Tree Tour follows the tree map route.

Q. Is my student allowed to collect leaves at Crown Hill for their leaf collection?
A. Yes! Crown Hill is a very popular location for students doing a leaf collection. We ask that you are respectful of those visiting the graves of their loved ones in the area and that you don't take leaves from our small trees. (If defoliated they may die.)

If you have further questions, please contact Marty Davis by email (best option) or phone at mdavis@crownhill.org or (317) 920-2644.