In three days exploring Fort Wayne, Indiana, my husband and I visited a top-rated children’s zoo, a science museum, a conservatory, an art museum, one of the largest genealogy centers in the country, a candy factory and a festival. The amazing thing is that we never traveled more than 20 minutes from one Fort Wayne attraction to another. Several in the downtown area are even within walking distance of one another.
Fort Wayne Museum of Art
We started our Fort Wayne weekend at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art (FWMoA). We were fortunate that we visited during the annual Summer of Glass showcase, since glass is my favorite art medium. Although the glass exhibit ends in early September, FWMoA will unveil a Chihuly chandelier in September, which will be a permanent display. If it is anything like the Chihuly chandelier we saw in Oklahoma City, it will be truly spectacular.
On the evening we visited FWMoA, the folks from The Glass Park were demonstrating glassblowing skills. I had visited The Glass Park a couple of years ago and tried my hand at glassblowing then.
Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
The last time I visited the Froellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, just a half mile from the FWMoa, the summer flower season hadn’t begun yet. However, I was wowed by the indoor exhibits, especially the Tropical Garden, a welcome respite from the chilly weather.
If you have interest in tracing your family tree, you must visit the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library, a six-minute walk from the Botanical Conservatory. The Genealogy Center is second in size only to the center in Salt Lake City. The Fort Wayne and Salt Lake City organizations have a close working relationship.
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The Genealogy Center has about a million items in its collection, 400,000 on paper and 600,000 on microfilm and microfiche. When you visit the Genealogy Center, you also have access to databases like Ancenstry.com and HeritageQuestOnline.com.
Staff are another great resource in the Genealogy Center. We brought in basic information about my husband’s grandfather, and within five minutes the Genealogy Center staff found more information on him, as well as two generations before him.
Fort Wayne TinCaps Minor League Baseball
Parkview Field, award-winning home of the Fort Wayne TipCaps Minor League baseball team, is a short seven-minute walk from the Allen County Public Library. Four of the past five years, Stadium Journey named Parkview Field the Number 1 Overall Minor League Ballpark Experience. Both the ballpark and the team have received numerous other awards, as well. The City of Fort Wayne owns Parkview Field. Because it is a public park, Parkview Field is open to the public every day.
The best time to visit, though, is during a Fort Wayne Tincaps ballgame. The Tincaps, affiliated with the San Diego Padres, are the oldest team in the Midwest League. Whether you prefer to watch a game in the afternoon sunshine or by evening lights, nothing says Americana like root- root- rooting for the home team.
Like most minor league fields, TinCaps games are a family experience. Between innings kids participate in special races and contests. Of course, the team mascot, Johnny, is popular with the kids, too.
Tip: Get your tickets early. We planned to go to the ballgame on Thursday evening, but it was sold out. So was Friday, and there were only lawn tickets left for Saturday’s game. We stayed in town later than we had planned and went to the Sunday afternoon game. It was well worth staying over for.
At the Science Central interactive museum, about a five minute drive from central downtown Fort Wayne, we had as much fun as the kids in the museum seemed to be having. We caught the tail end of a Science On a Sphere program, watched a staff member experiment with liquid nitrogen, and tried out lots of hands-on experiments. What a great way for kids to have fun and learn at the same time.
Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
Less than a ten-minute drive northwest of downtown Fort Wayne, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is another attraction that is just as much fun for adults as for the kids. The zoo is consistently named one of the top children’s zoos in the United States. Walking through the beautifully landscaped grounds is much like walking through a garden.
Attend a festival
Fort Wayne knows how to party. It seems nearly every weekend, especially spring through fall, the city celebrates something, from Germanfest to Buskerfest. Don’t know what a busker is? I had to look it up, too. A busker is a street performer.
The Three Rivers Festival, a nine day celebration with over 80 events, was going on during our visit. We missed the bed race and the parade but got a kick out of Junk Food Alley. I have never seen as many food vendors in one spot as there were in Junk Food Alley.
DeBrand Fine Chocolate Factory Tour
I discovered DeBrand Fine Chocolates the first time I visited Fort Wayne. What I remembered most was the dark chocolate infused with rosemary in their Connoisseur Collection. I looked forward to more of that. I did get my rosemary-infused chocolate, but we also toured the DeBrand factory, tasting several chocolates along the way. The DeBrand Fine Chocolates factory is about a twenty minute drive north of central downtown Fort Wayne.
The only attraction we visited that took longer than 20 minutes to get to was Sechler’s Pickles in neighboring St. Joe. The 40-minute drive was well worth the experience. The minute I stepped out of the car I smelled pickles and started craving them. Our tour guide took us through the entire pickle-making process. Afterward, I tasted several pickle samples and purchased enough pickles from the outlet store to last for months.
If you visit Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne is located in Northeast Indiana off of I-69, about 100 miles from Toledo, Ohio; 125miles from Indianapolis; and 165 miles from Chicago. For a full list of attractions and events in Fort Wayne, visit the Visit Fort Wayne website.
Accommodations: We stayed at the Hotel Fort Wayne during our visit. Find the best Fort Wayne hotel deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor.
Disclosures: My visit to Fort Wayne was hosted by Visit Fort Wayne. My admission to attractions and hotel stay were complimentary. However, any opinions express in this article are my own.
This article contains an affiliate link. If you book a room through the TripAdvisor link above, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
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