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Must-Do Family Travel in Fort Wayne, Indiana

If you’re considering a convenient family trip, Fort Wayne has some unexpected surprises. From the convenient drive to the affordable attractions, this city on the river has some new tricks up its sleeves.

We were delighted to get a sneak preview Fort Wayne’s newly opened Promenade Park.

If the weather allows, take time to enjoy Fort Wayne’s new pride-and-joy – Promenade Park. This $20 million-dollar overhaul has plenty of Instagram-worthy shots (and they’re only on phase one of three). From modern design and sculptures and wine slushies to ping pong and foosball, this riverfront is quickly becoming the place to be. (And, it’s family-friendly and very wheelchair accessible.)

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Take to the water on a kayak. They have plenty of double kayaks and we all had a ball exploring on the water. Our kids loved the ultra-cool playground, as well. It has a similar modern vibe to Tarkington Park and Carmel’s Central Park, West Commons. Great design, rolling hills of soft, green turf and inclusive interactives.

Promenade Park highlights include a tree canopy trail, relaxing all-ages swings, onsite craft beer (and wine slushies) from Trubble Riverside Cafe + Tap, amphitheatre, double-side bandshell, interactive water feature and other attractions!

 

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Here’s why you should consider planning a visit, over a weekend or school break.

Fort Wayne and Art

Fort Wayne has some wonderful art and architecture, and our family truly enjoyed exploring the city’s vibrant art on the alleyways. The art truly revitalizes downtown—the vibrant alleys were fun for the whole family. Here’s a map

There’s an incredible gallery called Artlink that makes you feel you’re smack dab in the middle of Brooklyn when you enter. Be sure to ask about their “Open Arts Virtual Reality Space” – where they occasionally let visitors pop in to try out the 3D goggles. Call ahead. Open hours for the virtual reality creative space vary.

The Fort Wayne Museum of Art is a well-curated museum, with constantly rotating exhibitions. The glass sculpture Repose in Amber – was our family’s favorite for two reasons. First, according to many kids, the piece looks like bacon and secondly, it was the only exhibit the kids were allowed to touch.

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Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

If you only have time for one or two attractions and are animal fans – keep the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo on your short list. We loved it all, especially the recently remodeled Australian Adventure, with kangaroos and a relaxing crocodile canoe ride. We also loved the Central Zoo – especially the gentle pony ride.

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Kid-Friendly Restaurants

Downtown’s Hoppy Gnome has a very family-friendly vibe, offering up a complimentary ‘fish taco’ appetizer for the kids. And for breakfast, Cindy’s Diner is the place for regulars. (I think we were the only guests the servers didn’t know by first name!)

Vacations aren’t complete without a special sweet treat. DeBrand Sundae from Fort Wayne’s own DeBrand is worth the splurge, gorgeously presented (and made without artificial syrup). Chrome Plated Diner serves up Mickey Mouse pancakes and The Deck is right on the river and great for warm-weather lunches. Another downtown option is Pint & Slice (Pizza’s always on our family’s radar…and bonus that it’s delicious!)

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Author Trisha Brand and her husband Adam are always looking for new ways to spend time with their young kids (Veda and Sully). Before joining Indy’s Child in 2018, Trisha logged time at various magazines (Indianapolis Monthly, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and SELF to name a few).

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