Disclosure: I was hosted on this trip by VisitFortWayne and given previews of the locations mentioned. All opinions are my own.
Traveling with kids can be so much fun but it can also add a bit more pressure to the programming. It’s easy to get comfortable going back to the same places again and again because that’s where we know our kids will find things they enjoy to do. Over the last couple of years, we have made it our goal to continually seek out new destinations. We thrive on visiting each and every state of the US to see what sets it apart. Recently, we’ve added Fort Wayne, Indiana to our highlighted travel list of great cities to visit as a family – here’s why.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
As I drove into Fort Wayne, I couldn’t help but notice the pedestrian paths winding along beside the riverbank. As we made our way downtown, I immediately noticed that the city’s minor league baseball field was situated between homes and neighborhoods in a cozy, community-oriented design. The nearby arts campus? It was blooming with imagination and diversity, bringing the communities personality to light.
Fort Wayne, Indiana was indeed a large city bustling with people yet somehow it had a unique feeling of home.
It’s possible that this feeling of comfort was attributed to a number of families I watched walk around downtown. It could also be attributed to the family-focused events bringing them there. Either way, Fort Wayne makes quite an impression with these top eleven things to do in the city with kids.
11 Things To Do in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Wondering what to do in Fort Wayne, Indiana with kids? This is what I did and I loved it!
1 . Enjoy a TinCaps Game at Parkview Field.
Is there anything better than a good old fashioned game of baseball? To me, it’s a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. Plus, because this minor league stadium isn’t too big, it seems perfect for younger audiences.
The best part of seeing a TinCaps game at Parkview Field is that tickets start at only $5!
Insider Tips: Be sure to stay for the silly dances the people sweeping the fields do and don’t miss grabbing a picture with the TinCaps mascot, Johnny!
2. Smell the Roses at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory.
I say “smell the roses” but there is so much more to this place than just the flowers. The entire grounds are intricately designed with sights to entice the eye and invoke feeling.
Besides the warm temperature and the beautiful sweet smell of the flowers, one of my favorite things about the botanical conservatory were the children’s areas. Education and interaction are everywhere! At one point, we actually walked under the roots of giant vegetables as if we were worms. How cool is that?
3. Experience a Show at the Historic Embassy Theatre.
While I was in Fort Wayne, I didn’t get to see a show but I did get to tour this beautiful vintage theatre during its off-hours. The entire building has such history and glamor! Seeing a live show has been added to my list of “must do’s”.
4. Wander the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.
I haven’t yet met a museum of art that I didn’t like. The Fort Wayne Museum of Art, however, went straight to the top of my “favorites” list with their somewhat off-beat exhibits.
During my visit, I was able to experience the following two exhibits. They are highly recommended.
Sharon: Photographs by Leon Borensztein: March 11 – June 11, 2017
Juxtapozed: April 22nd, 2017 – July 9th, 2017
5. Embrace Learning at Science Central.
We love science centers and whenever we have a chance to visit one, we do! Science Central in Fort Wayne was definitely worth the time spent there with interactive stations for the kids to manipulate, live science demonstrations, and (my favorite) a large sphere to watch real weather patterns.
Insider Tip: Are you a member of your hometown museum? If it is an ASTC-participating museum, you can also receive free admission to Science Central! This is a program we love participating in – makes a lot of sense for travelers.
6. Taste Something New at Yummi Bunni.
I only have two words: ice cream and donut. Seriously! Yummi Bunni is a hip downtown foodie stop that pairs interesting flavors of ice cream with fun toppings, all sandwiched between a glazed bun. It’s amazing.
7. Get Outside at the Fort Wayne Waterfront.
When we visited Fort Wayne, we had awesome plans to tour the waterfront via bike, kayak, and Segway. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and we had to let our plans go. Although, next time I visit Fort Wayne this is going to be the first thing I put on my list!
Did you know Fort Wayne is currently upgrading their waterfront parks? They have so many amazing things planned for the waterfront such as an elevated boardwalk, children’s play area, and more. This advancement process will make way for more family-centered programs to take place outside on the riverbank. I can’t wait to return and check it out once it’s complete.
Insider Tip: Boat and bike rentals can be made at Fort Wayne Outfitters. It’s a great way to experience the Fort Wayne river systems.
8. Dive Into Music at Sweetwater.
If you play music or are simply a music fan, Sweetwater in Fort Wayne is just a really cool spot to stop. What started as a small “out of van” music service is now an industry leading company with one amazing lifestyle venue.
You can still shop at Sweetwater via their retail space, however, a quick wander of their building will reveal state of the art recording studios, a restaurant, a coffee shop, free live music, free arcade games and more. This location also has a doctor’s office, gym, hair salon and more – which are used as an employee only perk.
9. Interact with Nature at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is named one of the top ten zoos in the nation and it’s no surprise. This beautifully curated zoo is well laid out and obviously well loved. This can be seen through the clean walkways, well cared for animals, and attentive staff.
As I wandered the grounds, I noticed that this zoo puts a strong emphasis on spreading important messages about animal welfare around the world. I appreciate their efforts to bring awareness to strong hitting animal diseases and help to forge efforts in conservation.
10. Shop Nearby Grabill, Indiana.
Grabill, Indiana isn’t far away from Fort Wayne and it’s definitely worth the visit. This area, also known as the home to many of Indiana’s Amish communities, is full of interesting shops and vintage flea markets.
11. Have a Sweet Treat at DeBrand Chocolates.
I saved this for last, not because it is least but because it is a great way to end the day. With public tours, restaurant seating, and a tempting menu, this sweet stop is a must see when visiting Fort Wayne!
Insider Tip: Like DeBrand chocolates? Take a behind the scenes tour or have some shipped home to a friend.
Fort Wayne, Indiana definitely surprised me as a travel destination. That’s why this adventure filled, forward-moving city is now on my list of awesome places to visit as a family in the US.
Have you been to Fort Wayne? What did you like the most? What attractions would you recommend to friends? Tell us about it in the comments.