Megan Leahy">

Top 7 things for families to do in Fort Wayne

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘let’s go’? Road trip? Time to get outta here? Well when this assignment came up with Visit Fort Wayne, we said just that to IC Insider Megan: LET’S GO. And go she did. Megan and her mini crew hit the road Jack for a trip, and now they’re reporting back on the top 7 things for families to do in Fort Wayne.


When my family and I moved to Indianapolis seven and a half years ago I was ecstatic. There are SO many family friendly things here it is unreal. It seems like there is something new and exciting happening every week. I am telling ALL of my friends to move here… I mean, why not?

However. Did you know that just over an hour away is yet ANOTHER city that has quite a few entertaining, exciting things for families?

I took my two kiddos, Ro & Finn, on a drive up I-69 to spend a couple days in Fort Wayne, Indiana for the IndysChild.com travel segment “Let’s Go!” I had heard about the city many times before and I knew it was rather large but honestly I never thought about it being a potential quick, year-round getaway location. I was beyond surprised with how much there is to do in The Fort. And I’m pretty sure Ro & Finn were, too.

Based on this great visit, here are the top 7 things for families to do in Fort Wayne:

7. The Foellinger‑Freimann Botanical Conservatory 

Top things for families to do Fort Wayne _ Indy's Child
Outside terrace image {at left} provided with thanks to Visit Fort Wayne.

If you enjoy plants, and the like you’re going to LOVE this conservatory full of different botanical displays. There seems to be a little bit of everything here. Right now they have a metamorphosis exhibit where you can see the caterpillars changing into butterflies who are then released into the “butterfly tent” {of which you can walk into and observe said butterflies}. The conservatory does a good job educating not only adults but the kids, too. Everywhere you go there is some sort of information for the entire family to absorb – and before you get to the tropical area make sure the kids hit the earthworm hole. Trust me, they’ll love it.


MORE ROAD TRIP FUN: 10 Quick getaways from Indianapolis

6. The Fort Wayne Museum of Art 

Top things for families to do Fort Wayne _ Indy's Child
Photo credits: Visit Fort Wayne.

Located in downtown Fort Wayne, the FWMA is easy to find and special bonus – free parking! And here comes a hot tip: While there IS a kid zone full of fun art things for children I recommend that one adult stays with the kids in said zone {if possible} while the other wanders through the exhibits so you can really stop and appreciate it. Or maybe do this first thing so the kids are open to learning about the pieces {Ro & Finn were over it by the time we got there}. We learned the museum will soon have a new chandelier in the foyer designed and crafted by Dale Chihuly, the same artist responsible for the glass centerpiece at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum!

5. DeBrand Fine Chocolates Tour 

Top things for families to do Fort Wayne _ Indy's ChildAll I can say is, wow. This chocolate is amazing. The tour was about forty-five minutes long and very tasty. Our tour guide took us behind the scenes where we learned about how things roll there at DeBrand. From the packing/shipping area to the kitchen we could see how things come together {behind the glass window, of course} and the best part – we could taste the goodies! There were samples at every stop and we left with quite the sugar high. It was interesting to see the unique flavors DeBrand comes up with. Be on the lookout for their newest flavors!

4. See a Fort Wayne Tin Caps game 

Top things for families to do Fort Wayne _ Indy's Child
Stadium photo credits: Visit Fort Wayne.

We had no idea there was a Minor League baseball team in Fort Wayne! Affiliated with the San Diego Padres, the team’s record this season is 42-42. They play their home games at Parkview Field – what an awesome facility! It appears to be pretty new, with a similar layout to Victory Field. Parking was easy {and cheap – $3!} and just a block away. The entire family will love going to the ballpark here in Fort Wayne!

3. Visit one of their splash pads galore 
There is a long list of splash pads in the City of Fort Wayne but we ended up at Headwaters, which is close to downtown. You have to really look for it off of Clinton Street {I may have driven by twice} and you have to park about a block away but on a hot day it is totally worth it. As Finn called it, this is a simple, triangle shape ‘water squirter.’ It gets the job done, let me tell you. And if your kiddo(s) are all done or don’t want to get wet just have them run off some steam in the extremely large grassy area – which is also a great picnic spot.

2. Check out Science Central 

Top things for families to do Fort Wayne _ Indy's Child
Photo pictured at left used with thanks to TripAdvisor.com

Budding scientist in your family? If so, they will LOVE this place! Located in an old power plant there is 30,000 square feet of experiments the entire family can enjoy. From a tidal pool with starfish to a high rail bike to a weather demonstration there is a little bit of everything here. Everywhere you turn there is something – try not to get overwhelmed! Ro really enjoyed the two story slide and Finn loved the crazy mirrors. We all enjoyed our shadow pictures, too {look for that in the Kids Central area}.

1. Don’t miss the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo 

Top things for families to do Fort Wayne _ Indy's Child
Photo credits: Visit Fort Wayne.

We have been to many zoos in the Midwest but this is one of our favorites. I can’t really explain it – there is just a unique feeling about this place. It’s cozy, not usually super crowded, and the staff is super friendly. Like most zoos it has monkeys, lions, tigers, lizards, ocean animals and the like… but what we had never seen in person before were kangaroos! That was really cool. Be on the lookout for the three kangaroo babies! When you get to the Australian Adventure area make sure you take the boat ride on the crocodile expedition {don’t worry, there are no real crocs involved}. It’s a nice way to take a rest and cool off a bit. Make sure you have a lot of sunscreen for the African Journey – as you’d expect, there is not a lot of shade there. Bring a lunch or get something from one of the cafés on site – you’ll want to spend the entire day here.

Top things for families to do Fort Wayne _ Indy's Child
Photo credits: Visit Fort Wayne.

We enjoyed a lot of time in the downtown Fort Wayne area while on our little trip and I have to tell you, for being such a big area it certainly didn’t feel like we were in a large metropolis. And while we were at a lot of different places it never felt crazy or crowded, even when we stopped for a bite to eat. To put it quite simply, the kids and I were impressed with Fort Wayne. If you have never thought about putting on your travel destination list, now is quite frankly the time.

MORE INFO: Looking to research your own family getaway to Fort Wayne? Get started at VisitFortWayne.com. From a full listing of local attractions to group tour ideas, you’ll find everything you need in one spot.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Visit Fort Wayne. Although Indy’s Child received compensation, all opinions reflected are those of our esteemed writing staff based on their experience in the field.  


[meganl]

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