Frugal Foodie Mama: Exploring Fort Wayne in 3 Days: A Family Friendly Itinerary

Friday, September 8, 2017

Exploring Fort Wayne in 3 Days: A Family Friendly Itinerary

From kayaking with views of the city to a budget friendly baseball game to a hands-on science museum, here is a family friendly itinerary for exploring Fort Wayne, Indiana is just 3 days...
From kayaking with views of the city to a budget friendly baseball game to a hands-on science museum, here is a family friendly itinerary for exploring Fort Wayne, Indiana is just 3 days.
This post was created in partnership with Visit Fort Wayne. As always, all opinions & thoughts expressed below are 100% my own.

I will be the first to admit it that Fort Wayne, Indiana is not typically the first destination that comes to mind when planning a vacation packed with family friendly fun. But my family & I's three day visit to Fort Wayne earlier this summer totally changed my preconceived notions of this Midwestern city. 

Fort Wayne is a vibrant & diverse city that deserves more credit & props than I originally afforded it. From kayaking with views of the city to a budget friendly & fun minor league baseball game to a larger than life, hands-on science museum, Fort Wayne just may be the perfect family friendly getaway that you & your family have been looking for. :)

Since there is so much to do & see in Fort Wayne, I thought I would share our 3 day itinerary with you all to help you narrow down some of the must-see & must-do attractions & activities in and around the city. You will find that most every place we visited in this post is no more than a 10 minute drive from one another. That is one of the things we found most attractive about Fort Wayne as far as a family friendly destination goes- the city was extremely accessible, easy to navigate, & most everything there is to do and see there is fairly close together. 

Day #1.
First stop: Science Central (1950 North Clinton Street)
Admission: $9 for anyone age 3 & up; children 2 & under are admitted for free
Located in the building that once housed Fort Wayne's first publicly-run electric utility company, Science Central is the brain child of teachers, parents, engineers, & community leaders who wanted to create a science discovery center & bring hands-on learning & science programs to the children of the city.

Located in the building that once housed Fort Wayne's first publicly-run electric utility company, Science Central is the brain child of teachers, parents, engineers, & community leaders who wanted to create a science discovery center & bring hands-on learning & science programs to the children of the city. The science center presently houses 200 permanent hands-on exhibits making for hours of educational fun for every member of the family.

One of my daughter's favorite exhibits at Science Central in Fort Wayne was the Swap Shop. In the Swap Shop, the kids (& adults!) were encouraged to touch & explore various fossils, rocks, minerals, seashells, & even animal bones.

One of my daughter's favorite exhibits at Science Central was the Swap Shop. In the Swap Shop, the kids (& adults!) were encouraged to touch & explore various fossils, rocks, minerals, seashells, & even animal bones. I am pretty sure that my husband & my daughter spent nearly an hour looking at and comparing & contrasting  everything in the Swap Shop under a magnifying glass! :)

Located in the building that once housed Fort Wayne's first publicly-run electric utility company, Science Central is the brain child of teachers, parents, engineers, & community leaders who wanted to create a science discovery center & bring hands-on learning & science programs to the children of the city.

A few things to know before you go:
  • Science Central is closed on Mondays & Tuesdays so plan your visit to the science center accordingly.
  • The center offers families of younger kids Kids Central, an area that is only open to children ages 2-7 & their parents. The exhibit features several kid friendly, hands-on activities & even a play area with slides.
Second Stop: Fort Wayne Museum of Art (311 East Main Street)
Admission: $8 for adults, $6 for students (kindergarten through college), or $20 for a family

The Fort Wayne Museum of Art currently houses 9 exhibitions as well as 4 traveling exhibitions ranging from cut glass to architecture.

Once you leave Science Central, you are just a short 5 minute drive to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. The museum, which has its roots in an art school that was started in 1897, currently houses 9 exhibitions as well as 4 traveling exhibitions ranging from cut glass to architecture.


The Light & Line: The Matrix Series of Brent Kee Young exhibit currently on display at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.

One of my favorite mediums of artwork is glass, so I ended up spending quite a bit of time in the Light & Line: The Matrix Series of Brent Kee Young exhibitYoung's intricate designs sculpted from rods of glass are truly fascinating. (Pssssttt... if you happen to live in Fort Wayne or will be in the city this weekend, go see this exhibit now! Its last day is this Sunday, September 10th.)

While most of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art is a big ole "please don't touch" area (& understandably so), there is one area of the museum that is 100% hands-on: the Early Learning Center specifically designed for kids through age 8.

While most of the art museum is a big ole "please don't touch" area (& understandably so), there is one area of the museum that is 100% hands-on: the Early Learning Center specifically designed for kids through age 8. It is here that the kiddos are encouraged to draw, learn, build, & read in each of the 4 focused learning stations of the center.

A few things to know before you go:
  • The museum is closed on Mondays so plan your visit to the museum accordingly.
  • The museum offers free admission every Thursday from 5-8pm! 

Day #2.
First Stop: Fort Wayne Outfitters & Bike Depot (1004 Cass Street)
Offers bike, kayak, canoe, & stand-up paddleboard rentals. 2 hour, half day, & full day rentals are available- rates vary.  
Fort Wayne Outfitters is located in an old train depot directly above the banks of the St. Marys River. Though they offer a wide variety of outdoor rentals, I can't recommend taking a kayak trip down the river enough.

Fort Wayne Outfitters is located in an old train depot directly above the banks of the St. Marys River. Though they offer a wide variety of outdoor rentals, I can't recommend taking a kayak trip down the river enough. On most days, this will end up being a leisurely paddle whether you are going upstream or downstream. We happened to visit the Depot a couple of days after a major rainfall in the area, so we did get a little bit of a workout in as we were paddling against the current.

Fort Wayne Outfitters is located in an old train depot directly above the banks of the St. Marys River. Though they offer a wide variety of outdoor rentals, I can't recommend taking a kayak trip down the river enough.

Going downstream was a breeze though (and trust me- we had earned our peaceful float downstream after our battle upstream). We had a chance to really take in and enjoy the nature around us as well as the views of the city from the river.

Fort Wayne Outfitters is located in an old train depot directly above the banks of the St. Marys River. Though they offer a wide variety of outdoor rentals, I can't recommend taking a kayak trip down the river enough.

And some of us just may have got to kick back & relax a little more than others. ;) It was definitely a wonderful way to spend the morning & take in the city of Fort Wayne from an entirely different viewpoint. 

A few things to know before you go:
  • It is highly recommended that you make a reservation for a bike, canoe, kayak, or SUP board rental at least a week in advance.
  • You can bring your own life vests if you have one, but no worries if you don't. The depot can provide everyone with one- even the kiddos.
Second Stop: Attend a Fort Wayne TinCaps baseball game at Parkview Field. (1301 Ewing Street)
Admission: Varies, tickets start at just $5.

If you are visiting Fort Wayne any time between April to about mid-September, you should definitely plan to add a TinCaps minor league baseball game to your family's itinerary. A TinCaps game a is fun & budget friendly way to spend the afternoon or evening during your family's visit to the city.

If you are visiting Fort Wayne any time between April to about mid-September, you should definitely plan to add a TinCaps minor league baseball game to your family's itinerary. A TinCaps game a is fun & budget friendly way to spend the afternoon or evening during your family's visit to the city. Starting at just $5 a ticket, Parkview Field offers everything from lawn seats where you can sprawl out a blanket to luxury suites. But you definitely don't have to spend a fortune to get seats that you put you close to the action. 

If you are visiting Fort Wayne any time between April to about mid-September, you should definitely plan to add a TinCaps minor league baseball game to your family's itinerary. A TinCaps game a is fun & budget friendly way to spend the afternoon or evening during your family's visit to the city.

If you are visiting Fort Wayne any time between April to about mid-September, you should definitely plan to add a TinCaps minor league baseball game to your family's itinerary. A TinCaps game a is fun & budget friendly way to spend the afternoon or evening during your family's visit to the city.

When my daughter started to lose interest in the game & was beginning to get a little restless, we headed over to the Kids' Fun Zone to let her loose & have a little fun. The Fun Zone consists of fun inflatables that include a slide, a bouncy house, a batting cage, & a pitching game, as well as a climbing wall. Although the Fun Zone is not included with the price of your ticket, we did find the cost for each activity to be surprisingly affordable. Enough so in fact that we let little miss do almost every single activity at least twice. ;)

A few things to know before you go:

  • Parking around the field is pretty abundant during a game. We ended up parking in a lot just a few blocks away for just $5.
  • Be sure to check out the park's promotions each day before purchasing your tickets. We happened to go to a Monday night game & was able to take advantage of their Family Food Feast which featured $1 hot dogs, popcorn, pizza, & sodas. Other family friendly promotions include fireworks nights & themed nights (like Star Wars, super heroes, etc.).

Day #3.
First Stop: The Genealogy Center (located in the Allen County Public Library, 900 West Washington Blvd)
Admission: The center & its resources are free to use for the public.
Located inside of the Allen County Public Library, the Genealogy Center is home to the nation's largest public genealogy collection & is an absolute must-do for the ancestry enthusiast when visiting Fort Wayne.

Located inside of the Allen County Public Library, the Genealogy Center is home to the nation's largest public genealogy collection & is an absolute must-do for the ancestry enthusiast when visiting Fort Wayne. If you have ever had the desire to dig deeper into your family's history, then the Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne is the best place to start. Not only will you have nearly one million free historical records & documents at your disposable, but the center is also fully staffed 7 days a week with trained genealogists who can guide you through the research process & can assist you when you get stuck or reach a roadblock. 

Located inside of the Allen County Public Library, the Genealogy Center is home to the nation's largest public genealogy collection & is an absolute must-do for the ancestry enthusiast when visiting Fort Wayne.

A few things to know before you go:

  • You can begin researching your family's genealogy before your planned trip to Fort Wayne by accessing the Genealogy Center's free online databases. Then when you arrive at the center, you can further explore their on-site databases that are not available online.
  • If the kids start to get restless while the grown-ups are doing research, the Allen County Public Library is home to both Kids & Teens sections to keep them entertained.

Second Stop: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo (3411 Sherman Blvd.)
Admission: $14 for adults (19-61), $10 for children (2-18), Children 1 & under are free
Get outside & explore the 40 acres of animals, rides, & landscaped grounds at the Fort Wayne's Children Zoo.

After spending the morning delving into your family's history, hop in the car & make the less than 10 minute drive to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo to get outside & explore their 40 acres of animals, rides, and landscaped grounds. At the Children's Zoo, you can feed a giraffe, gaze out over the African Savannah, & even make friends with a stingray... :)


Get outside & explore the 40 acres of animals, rides, & landscaped grounds at the Fort Wayne's Children Zoo.

Meet a lion at the African Journey exhibit. Or head over to the Australian Adventure to watch kangaroos take a nap in the shade & then hop in a dugout canoe with your family on the Crocodile Creek Adventure Ride. If fish & sharks are more your thing, then be sure to visit the zoo's 20,000 gallon aquarium & 50,000 gallon shark aquarium at The Reef. 

Get outside & explore the 40 acres of animals, rides, & landscaped grounds at the Fort Wayne's Children Zoo.

Everything at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo is made with the kiddos in mind- even the fun water fountains! :)

A few things to know before you go:
  • Parking at the zoo is free!
  • The zoo features quite a few extras like the rides & hand feeding giraffes. Please note that these do cost extra & require tokens. Each token costs $1, with most attractions only requiring 1-2 tokens per person. Token machines are located at each attraction that requires them. 

From kayaking with views of the city to a budget friendly baseball game to a hands-on science museum, here is a family friendly itinerary for exploring Fort Wayne, Indiana is just 3 days.

Which of these 6 family friendly attractions will be making it onto your family's Fort Wayne itinerary? :)

For more information & to start planning your family adventure in Fort Wayne soon, be sure to visit the Visit Fort Wayne website!

Looking for a family friendly hotel to stay at during your visit to Fort Wayne? Then be sure to book a room at the Holiday Inn IPFW.

Looking for a family friendly hotel to stay at during your visit to Fort Wayne? Then be sure to book a room at the Holiday Inn IPFW. They offer family suites complete with a king bed for mom & dad, bunk beds for the kiddos, a full kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave, & dining table, and a separate living area. Definitely a home away from home while you and your family are exploring Fort Wayne! :)
CLICK HERE to check out a short video tour of our suite at the Holiday Inn IPFW.

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