Road Trip Worthy: Halloween at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

I didn’t tell the kids. We packed up the car and headed north last week, but they didn’t know why. All I said was “Let’s bring your Halloween costumes.”
“But Halloween isn’t until next week Mom!”
And then we pulled into the parking lot of the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and the kids went wild… as in “Wild Zoo Halloween” wild. 
Although Indy is blessed with a great Zoo, we’ve often made the road trip to Fort Wayne for theirs. I love that it’s pint-sized and exhibits are easier for my children to access and see. Plus the grounds are peppered with the most fun and kid-friendly amenities {like this lion’s head drinking fountain!}:

Wild Zoo Halloween - Fort Wayne Children's Zoo - Indy's Child

So I get that it’s the last week of the Halloween fun in Fort Wayne and this post comes to you a little late, but here’s why a road trip to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo for Wild Zoo Halloween is a worthy one:
1. The easy, breezy Zoo layout

The FW Children’s Zoo gets an A+ in walkability. Planners truly created its layout with little feet {or parents having to push a 40-pound stroller} in mind. Getting through the entire map can be easily done in an afternoon, and it alternates from safari to forest to keep the view fresh. Additional bonus? The wide variety of animals. Must sees: The lemurs, the tigers, the penguins and the lemurs. Did I mention the lemurs? We visited 3x.

2. The festive fall/Halloween decor

Pumpkins lined virtually every space of the Zoo from the trailways to the exhibits. This created plenty of stops throughout the Zoo to stage photos…

Wild Zoo Halloween - Fort Wayne Children's Zoo - Indy's Child

And there were beautiful gourd ‘animals’ that deserved a photo op of their own…



Wild Zoo Halloween - Fort Wayne Children's Zoo - Indy's Child


{Emerson got a kick out of learning the lemurs were in on the pumpkin-y fun too.}

3. There’s trick or treating

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo masterfully created two Trick Or Treat Trails – one at the beginning of our journey and one halfway through – to compliment the activities. It adds an extra $4 to the ticket price but my kids loved the chance to practice their ToT skills {“Don’t forget to say thank you!”}. The whistles handed out at stop #4 of the second trail… wellllll those may have been hidden in my purse during the car ride home.

4. The Zoo has pony rides. I repeat: Pony rides.


$5 rides with ponies perfectly pint-sized for your half, er, pints. The ponies are well-behaved and follow their 2-laps around the course calmly. {Note to the FW Zoo: Emerson is expecting ‘her’ pony Candy will ALWAYS be available when we visit – just let me know who I need to call in advance to save your from her big crocodile tears.}.

5. The kids can wear costumes

Any excuse my kids get to wear their costumes in the weeks leading up to Halloween {and the weeks after}, is a surefire hit. Besides how often can you meet zoo animals while dressed like a witch and a Star Wars Clone Trooper? Special thanks to the ring-tailed lemur who didn’t give my daughter casting spells on him a second thought…

6. A crisp train ride is on everyone’s fall fun list {or it should be!}

Wild Zoo Halloween - Fort Wayne Children's Zoo - Indy's Child

The train has been a hands-down favorite of ours during our visits to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, and this trip was no different: The gorgeous tree-lined pond coupled with the “Tale Of The Twisted Tree” captured the kids’ attention during the 10-minute ride as they learned tree facts and peered into the forest for tree ‘faces’ described in the tale. Ride, return, repeat.

7. Last but not least: All the extra Halloween fun sprinkled throughout the Zoo

Mini corn maze, pumpkin patch, Broomhilda the witch, face painting and tons of fun little games? All of the above. My kids were so content that we completely missed the daily Live Animal Show {and Sea Lion Show and Meet The Lion Mascot Show}.


I know it’s a drive and why bother with it if all this fun is found somewhere here in Indy? To that I say: Our Indianapolis ZooBoo fun just ended this past weekend. The colored trees guiding your way north to Fort Wayne are in full fall display and before you know it, you’ll be scooting through the gates of the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo for a real Halloween treat. This one is road-trip worthy.


MORE INFO: The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo “Wild Zoo Halloween” celebration runs one final weekend: 10/29-10/31, from 12-6pm. Tickets are $5 for general Zoo admission and $9 for Zoo admission with trick or treating; they can be purchased online prior to your visit. The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is located at 3411 Sherman Drive, Fort Wayne. Call {260} 427-6800 or visit for more details. 

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