Fort Wayne, Indiana, is known for its magnificent network of parks and boulevards that connect three rivers and various neighbors, which are registered on the National Register of Historic Places. The city has one of the country’s best zoos, a popular hands-on science center, great wedding venues, day trips, a famous theatre, Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), and a beautiful botanical conservatory. Here are the best things to do on a weekend getaway or day trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana.
1.Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
© Courtesy of ggala - Fotolia.com
Come and smell the orange blossoms while the gardens of Fort Wayne are sleeping their peaceful slumber covered by a soft cushion of snow. Visit the magical world of flowers, bamboos, ferns, and orchids, all thriving year round in the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, 25,000 square feet of indoor home for 1,200 plants of more than 500 species and over 72 types of cacti.
The showcase garden features special exhibits that change with the seasons and some permanent inhabitants such as bamboo, gardenias, creeping fig and hibiscus. The tropical garden will delight you with a cascading waterfall, a goldfish pond, bananas, orange trees, orchids, bromeliads and even a chocolate tree. Desert garden is a little oasis of Southeast with cacti, prickly pear, jojoba, mesquite, and other desert dwellers. And when the snow melts, come and enjoy the conservatory’s four outdoor gardens full of seasonal, native greenery.
1100 S Calhoun St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802, 260-427-6440
2. Fort Wayne Museum of Art
© Fort Wayne Museum of Art
The Fort Wayne Museum of Art collects, presents, and preserves American decorative and fine art through exhibitions that explore connections between artists from diverse national and ethnic backgrounds and their artwork. Some of the museum’s most distinguished collections are Steven Sorman’s Archives, a collection of American Cut Glass and Indiana Impressionism.
The museum also hosts a range of important revolving exhibits from its own collections as well as visiting museums. The museum’s lending library has more than 8,000 books and periodicals on art and culture available for the general public, students, and scholars. The museum’s Paradigm Gallery shop offers arts and crafts of 75 national and regional artists working in a range of media.
311 E Main St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802, 260-422-6467
3.Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
© Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
From African Journey to Australian Adventure and Indonesian Rainforest, you can travel around the world while visiting more than 1000 animals living happily at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, one of the best zoos in the country. At Central Zoo, stop at Monkey Island, where cute capuchin monkeys are being silly. At Sea Lion Beach, watch the feeding frenzy take place twice a day, while at the pool next door, you can see a bunch of penguins having fun.
Visit river otters, lemurs, and red pandas, play with goats and cows at the Indiana Family Farm, take a pony ride on Little Poof or take a ride on the 1860's mini train. Down the African safari trail, you can feed the giraffes, admire 400-pound lions, or listen to yacking hyenas. On the Australian Adventure, visit the reef and its inhabitants and watch the sharks cruising in their own enormous aquarium. And that is not all - there are 40 acres of wonderful natural habitats to explore. If you are looking for fun things to do in Fort Wayne with kids, this is a great place to visit.
3411 Sherman Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46808, 260-427-6800
4.Parkview Field, Fort Wayne, Indiana
© Parkview Field
Parkview Field is the beating heart of Fort Wayne. The home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, a minor league baseball team, the stadium welcomes more than 400,000 baseball fans coming to see the games every year.
Beyond that, this public facility that offers 1/3 mile laps to runners and walkers receives another 100,000 visitors yearly who come to enjoy other activities in the field, from open-air rock and country concerts and big festivals such as Fort4Fitness and YMCA Healthy Kids day to weekly farmers market, wedding receptions, and business events. The field also has over 11,000-square feet of indoor meeting space. Parkview Field is open 365 days a year.
1301 Ewing St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802, 260-482-6400
5.Old Fort Wayne
© Courtesy of VisitFortWayne
The US Army built Fort Wayne in 1794 at the intersection of three rivers – St. Joseph, St. Marys, and Maumee – in an effort to put an end to the bloody war with local Native American tribes. After the tribes were defeated, the fort served as a trading post for the numerous pioneers who continued to arrive.
The reconstructed Fort Wayne is a great place to start your visit. You can walk through the grounds at any time, however to look inside the buildings, you will have to visit during one of the special events. More Things to Do in Indiana
6.Things to Do in Fort Wayne: The Embassy Theatre
© Courtesy of VisitFortWayne
Perry Como, Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Doris Day and Duke Ellington are just some of the greats who have entertained Fort Wayne residents from the stage of the magnificent Emboyd Theatre, as the Embassy Theatre was called when it was completed in 1928. Built as a silent movie palace and popular vaudeville house, the Emboyd offered the best entertainment available at the time, including a famous Page theatre pipe organ.
The Emboyd and its attached seven-story, 250-room Indiana Hotel survived the death of silent movies and vaudeville to become the most popular Fort Wayne venue for numerous theatre productions including those from Broadway, concerts of all kinds, and high quality educational programs for the young. The magnificent historic building and its famous organ have been restored to their original glory and are today the pride of Forth Wayne. It serves as the venue for all kinds of events, from weddings and corporate functions to the annual Festival of Trees.
125 W Jefferson Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46802, 260-424-5665
7.Science Central, Fort Wayne, Indiana
© Science Central
You might be worried about the kind of science they are doing at Science Central when you see their tall colorful smokestack. Not to worry – it is a remnant from the old power plant of City Light & Power, which used to occupy the large building. Today, it is the place where kids and their parents, teachers, and friends come to have some hands-on fun with science and technology. It is the place where there is no line between fun and learning – everything is fun, and everything will teach you something. There are more than 130 hands-on permanent exhibits at Science Central. If you are wondering what to do in Fort Wayne, Indiana with kids, this is a great place to explore.
Visit the tidal pool and interact with all kinds of sea creatures from the Atlantic Ocean, learn to identify a rock, mineral, fossil, or seashell with scientists at the Swap Shop, or let your little ones have fun in Kids Central with the giant piano keyboard or a water table. Check the schedule for the fun visiting exhibits, or find out more about interactive video teleconferencing, the best way to enjoy Science Central if you are in a remote location.
1950 N Clinton St, Fort Wayne, IN 46805, 260-424-2400
8.Lakeside Park & Rose Garden, Fort Wayne, IN
© Courtesy of VisitFortWayne
Lakeside Park started out as a low-lying area prone to frequent flooding because of the St. Joseph River until its reconstruction, which began in 1912. Today, it is one of the city’s favorite wedding and party destinations with two great pavilions, a wonderful kids’ playground, basketball and tennis courts, a lovely strolling path that loops around the garden, great fishing in the Lakeside Pond, and the world-renowned rose garden.
Rose garden is an enchanting world of fragrances and colors with more than 1,500 roses displayed in beds and on whimsical pergolas. Reflecting pools magnify the beauty of the rose blossoms and complement the profusion of thousands of lush annuals planted around the site.
9.Things to Do in Fort Wayne: The History Center
© The History Center
The History Center is home to the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society, its museum, and collections – and the building itself plays the largest part in telling visitors their history. Built in the 1893, the History Center building was originally Fort Wayne and Allen County’s City Hall building.
It became the History Center in 1980 and now houses, preserves, and shares historic artifacts, images, and documents that tell the story of its fascinating history to all visitors. From the people who lived there to the important places they have, the History Center encapsulates the heart of Fort Wayne with over 26,000 artifacts for visitors to appreciate.
302 E. Berry Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802, 260-426-2882
10.Fort Wayne Firefighters' Museum
© Fort Wayne Firefighters' Museum
The Fort Wayne Firefighters' Museum was once the city’s largest firehouse. It started with two bays for six men, four horses, a hose wagon, and a chemical wagon, what was then Engine House #3, and then more than doubled in size to meet the growth of the city’s business district. In 1972, a new modern central fire station was built, and Engine House #3 was retired.
Two years later, the Fort Wayne Firefighters’ Museum was organized; visitors are invited to the old firehouse to understand and enjoy Fort Wayne, its fire-fighting history, and the men and women who all played a role in the past and present. The Fort Wayne Fire Department has used almost all of the artifacts, and many were donations made by firefighters or their families. Along with the many artifacts on display, the museum also teaches fire safety.
226 West Washington Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46802, 260-426-0051
11.Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve, Fort Wayne, Indiana
© Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve
Located on the southwest border of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Eagle Marsh is a 716-acre wetland nature preserve. It has over 154 acres of wet marshland habitats and over 85 acres of forests, prairies, and meadows that are home to a great number of reptiles and amphibians, as well as mammals such as beavers, otters, and muskrats.
Visitors have a chance of viewing 200 kinds of birds including bald eagles, which are seen often at the preserve. Visitors can hike through the preserve’s varied habitats and view the animals in their natural habitat – there are over ten miles of trails at Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve for visitors to safely enjoy.
6801 Engle Road Fort Wayne, IN 46804, 260-478-2515
12.African/African-American Historical Museum
© African-American Historical Museum
The African/African American Historical Museum of Allen County (AAAHSM), was founded in 1999 to preserve African and African American history and culture through varying collections and programs. Visitors are urged to come and view the displays, which exhibit the history of people of African descent in Allen County from its earliest times to today.
The African/African-American Historical Museum is an Arts United affiliate and houses Fort Wayne’s largest public collection of African Art.
436 E. Douglas Ave. Fort Wayne, IN 46802, 260-420-0765
13.Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
© Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
In 1946, the Allen County taxpayers voted to construct a living memorial to the nation’s war veterans and constructed the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. When they needed a place to house large community events, the coliseum allowed residents to promote a diverse array of entertainment, athletic, educational, and business-related events and activities.
Visitors to the coliseum will be walking through halls that held major professional and amateur sporting events, gatherings, political rallies, patriotic observances, school events, and shows such as ice skating or the circus, all of which played an important part in Allen County’s history.
4000 Parnell Avenue, Fort Wayne, IN 46805, 260-482-9502
14.Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN
© Castle Gallery
Castle Gallery is known to say that “no space is any better than the art within it,” but the Richardsonian Romanesque style building that is Castle Gallery is a piece of art in and of itself. On the National Register of Historic Places, visitors will find beauty in Castle Gallery, as well as the history behind it: it was built in 1905 by masons who gathered granite boulders from fields hundreds of miles away to construct the magnificent home.
Visitors will still see the original cherry, oak, maple, walnut, and mahogany floors and fixtures at the gallery. Reestablished as an art gallery in 1995, it features work from artists around the world. Visitors can schedule their visit around the gallery’s many events, including artist receptions and book signings.
1202 West Wayne St. Fort Wayne, IN 46802, 260-426-6568
15.Foellinger Theatre, Fort Wayne, Indiana
© Foellinger Theatre
The Foellinger Theatre is located on the grassy hillside of the Franke Park in Fort Wayne. It was constructed in 1949 in order to provide an open-air informal community gathering area and performing space. To this day, the Foellinger Theatre provides a popular performance stage for all kinds of music concerts, movies, and various public and private events and functions.
The theatre can seat 2,386. The open-sided dome and a new, improved stage house were added in 1976. The theatre is a memorial to Oscar Foellinger, publisher of the Fort Wayne News Sentinel, and it was gifted to the community by his daughter Helene Foellinger.
3411 Sherman Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46808, 260-427-6715
16.DeBrand Fine Chocolates
© DeBrand Fine Chocolates
Rich caramels, fresh crèmes, decadent ganaches, brittles, truffles, and smooth creams are all made from scratch and melt in your mouth once you bite into a heavenly DeBrand treat. Their chocolates are so delicious that you have to close your eyes to fully enjoy the exquisite sweetness. While their centers are made from the high quality fresh local ingredients on site in their Fort Wayne factory, they use the best chocolates imported from all over the world to wrap around the yummy filling.
And then they place each of them in lovely boxes, some of which are even edible. You intend to buy them as a gift you know would be accepted with delight, when you actually want to eat them all on the spot. DeBrand shops are also a piece of art just like their chocolates, and you will feel a bit like Hansel and Gretel when you first enter. When in Fort Wayne, do not miss the DeBrand factory tour, which allows you to see the chocolate making process. You also get to try several samples and shop to your heart’s content in their on-site shop. You can also buy their chocolates in most good chocolate shops all over the world.
10105 Auburn Park Dr, Fort Wayne, IN 46825, 260-969-8333
17.Fort Wayne Philharmonic
© Fort Wayne Philharmonic
The Fort Wayne Philharmonic, lovingly known as “The Phil,” can trace its origin to the Verweire Symphony Orchestra, founded in January 1924 by conductor John L. Verweire. Visitors can attend events directed by Andrew Constantine, who has been the Fort Wayne’s Philharmonic music director for his sixth season running.
Varying events such as Masterworks: Mozart and A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra are held throughout the year, ready to give visitors of all ages an unforgettable musical experience. The Phil also has classes for up and coming musicians of all skill levels and all ages.
4901 Fuller Dr., Fort Wayne, IN 46835, 260-481-0770
18.Native Trees of Indiana River Walk
© Courtesy of ipfw.edu
Indiana is full of beautiful places, and the Native Trees of Indiana River Walk is no exception. Alongside the St. Joseph’s River, visitors can walk along this 1.25-mile trail and see amazing trees, bushes, plants, and flowers native to Indiana. There are more than 100 tree species, and the trail provides an opportunity to see live specimens of them as well as local wildlife.
Families can visit the grounds for an opportunity to view nature’s beauty, while also learning about the innumerable life forms that can be found there – this includes the Black Cherry tree, the American Elm, and the American Chestnut.
2101 E. Coliseum Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46805, 260-481-4739
19.Arena Dinner Theatre, Fort Wayne, IN
© Arena Dinner Theatre
Visitors can enjoy dinner and a show at the Arena Dinner Theatre, a community arts corporation devoted to live theatre productions. The Arena Dinner Theatre features seven theatrical productions annually in their historic building featuring Indiana’s famed actors, both professional and amateur, and produced by their most accomplished theatre and musical directors.
Visitors have an opportunity to enjoy an entertaining experience accompanied by a meal catered by the theatre’s own kitchens. The Arena Dinner Theatre is a member of the American Association of Community Theatre, the Indiana Community Theatre League, and the Community Arts Council of Arts United.
719 Rockhill, Fort Wayne, IN 46802, 260-424-5622
20.Things to Do in Fort Wayne: Headwaters Park
© Courtesy of VisitFortWayne
Headwaters Park, located in downtown Fort Wayne, is a 30-acre park for various public and private events such as concerts, festivals, weddings, family reunions, cultural events, and other parties. The park consists of two festival plazas, two parking lots, and plenty of great picnicking spots. On days there are no events, visitors can relax in the peaceful environment the recreational spot offers.
During the spring, visitors can cool off in the free splash pad, while in the winter the park has an ice skating rink open to all. Headwaters Park also houses the Hamilton Sculpture Garden, and sculptures of Emerine Hamilton’s granddaughters can be found in the park.
333 N Clinton St., Fort Wayne, IN, 260-422-7625
21.Fort Wayne Dance Collective
© Fort Wayne Dance Collective
From the dreams of five women who met at a modern dance workshop in 1978, to the 39,000 people they served in 2015, the Fort Wayne Dance Collective is an innovative non-profit in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne. Visitors to Ft. Wayne can take in performances held throughout the year or participate in one of the many classes offered.
Hip hop, ballet, modern, improv, dancing for seniors, and even belly dancing – and the Fort Wayne Dance Collective goes beyond dance. Regular classes are also held for T’ai Chi, yoga, drumming, and “baby and me” music classes for parent/children combos.
437 E. Berry St. Suite 203, Fort Wayne, IN 46802, 260-424-6574
22.Mad Anthony Brewing Company, Fort Wayne, IN
© Mad Anthony Brewing Company
For over 18 years, the Mad Anthony Brewing Company has been pleasing tourists and locals alike with their live music, tantalizing menu, and of course, their ever-changing menu of awesome beer. Beer lovers throughout northern Indiana congregate at one of Mad Anthony’s four locations to relax with a pint of award-winning hand-crafted ale or lager.
Visitors can also enjoy a slice of their delicious Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Mad Anthony brews over 2,000 barrels of beer annually, with signatures like Gabby Blonde Lager to seasonal ales such as Snowplowed Winter Ale and Summer Daze.
2002 Broadway, Fort Wayne, IN 46802, 260-426-2537
23.Things to Do in Fort Wayne, Indiana: Rivergreenway Trail
© Rivergreenway Trail
Running along the banks of the St. Mary’s, St. Joseph’s, and Maumee Rivers, the Rivergreenway Trail is a 25-mile linear park going though Fort Wayne and New Haven. The trail offers visitors a great opportunity for fitness, conservation, and recreation. Visitors will also see many commuters who use the trail as an alternate route in connecting to the community.
You can enjoy a nice walk, hike, or jog through the trail, and you are also invited to bicycle or roller blade to combine fun and fitness. A calm escape from its urban surroundings, the scenic overlooks and natural vistas are great for a nature study; many visitors come to paint, draw, do yoga, or relax in the beauty that is the Rivergreenway Trail.
24.Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
© Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is a striking, imposing structure in downtown Fort Wayne. A Roman Catholic cathedral built in 1860, it is the fourth church to be built on this site. It is an active church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend but is open to visitors who are attracted to the cathedral’s magnificent architecture and its significant collection of religious art and art glass.
Beautiful stained-glass windows were made at the Royal Bavarian Art Institute in Munich, Germany and installed in 1896. They depict scenes from Mary’s life. Famous hand-carved reredos in the sanctuary depict church history and the redemption of mankind. The figures placed in Gothic turrets are made in "grotesque Gothic" style. The Cathedral Museum has since been moved from the cathedral and is now located at the Archbishop Noll Catholic Center.
1122 S Clinton St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802, 260-424-1485
25.Fort Wayne Aviation Museum, Fort Wayne, IN
© Fort Wayne Aviation Museum
Traveling through the Fort Wayne International Airport? Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about the tri-state area’s military and commercial aviation history. Visitors are invited to the Greater Fort Wayne Aviation Museum to better understand and appreciate the “romance era” of aviation through historic details.
With artifacts from old Baer Field and other memorabilia from Fort Wayne’s ‘40s and ‘50s, the Fort Wayne Aviation Museum offers free tours to visitors of all ages – keep in mind that tours must be booked at least two weeks in advance.
3801 W. Ferguson Road, Ste. 209, Fort Wayne, IN 46809, 260-747-4146
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25 Best Things to Do in Fort Wayne, Indiana
- Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Photo: Courtesy of ggala - Fotolia.com
- Fort Wayne Museum of Art , Photo: Fort Wayne Museum of Art
- Fort Wayne Children's Zoo , Photo: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
- Parkview Field, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Photo: Parkview Field
- Old Fort Wayne, Photo: Courtesy of VisitFortWayne
- Things to Do in Fort Wayne: The Embassy Theatre , Photo: Courtesy of VisitFortWayne
- Science Central, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Photo: Science Central
- Lakeside Park & Rose Garden, Fort Wayne, IN, Photo: Courtesy of VisitFortWayne
- Things to Do in Fort Wayne: The History Center, Photo: The History Center
- Fort Wayne Firefighters' Museum, Photo: Fort Wayne Firefighters' Museum
- Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Photo: Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve
- African/African-American Historical Museum, Photo: African-American Historical Museum
- Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Photo: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
- Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN, Photo: Castle Gallery
- Foellinger Theatre, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Photo: Foellinger Theatre
- DeBrand Fine Chocolates, Photo: DeBrand Fine Chocolates
- Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Photo: Fort Wayne Philharmonic
- Native Trees of Indiana River Walk, Photo: Courtesy of ipfw.edu
- Arena Dinner Theatre, Fort Wayne, IN, Photo: Arena Dinner Theatre
- Things to Do in Fort Wayne: Headwaters Park, Photo: Courtesy of VisitFortWayne
- Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Photo: Fort Wayne Dance Collective
- Mad Anthony Brewing Company, Fort Wayne, IN, Photo: Mad Anthony Brewing Company
- Things to Do in Fort Wayne, Indiana: Rivergreenway Trail, Photo: Rivergreenway Trail
- Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Photo: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
- Fort Wayne Aviation Museum, Fort Wayne, IN, Photo: Fort Wayne Aviation Museum
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of VisitFortWayne