10 Things To Do With Kids In Fort Wayne

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Thanks to Visit Fort Wayne for hosting my family on this press trip.

Last month we took a short trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Despite being just a few hours away from the Chicago area (where I have lived most of my life), I had never visited Fort Wayne before. I discovered that there is so much for families to do in Fort Wayne and wanted to share some of my family’s favorite activities from our trip!

Go on a safari at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Out of the dozen or so zoos that I have visited around the US, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is by far my favorite. I loved how this zoo was more of an immersive experience than just looking at animals on display like we typically do at zoos. The zoo is split into regions like the African Journey Safari Trail, the Australian Adventure and the Indonesian Rain Forest. They also have rides you can go on like the Sky Safari (where you can get a bird’s eye view of the animals in the African Journey exhibit), the Crocodile Creek adventure ride canoe boats, and the Z.O.&O. RAILROAD train that takes you around the zoo. Learn more about the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo here.

 

Run around at the Bob Arnold Northside Park playground

We love discovering new playgrounds in the towns we visit and my boys were very impressed with the children’s playground at the Bob Arnold Northside Park. The playground has an area for little ones as well as a larger structure for 5-12 year olds.

Learn through hands-on play at Science Central

Science was never my favorite subject in school but Science Central has over 130 hands-on exhibits that teach science concepts in an engaging way. From learning about the world in the 3-D Science on a Sphere exhibit to exploring water flow at the large water table, children will have a lot of fun playing at Science Central.

Enjoy a treat at The Yummi Bunni 

The Yummi Bunni is THE place to get ice cream in Fort Wayne. They offer ice cream in cups or their signature Yummi Bun (which is basically a donut). They have new flavors weekly and also offer gluten free and vegan options. (I had soy ice cream for the first time and it was delicious!) Make sure to snap a pic of your kids in front of the selfie wall for a cute vacation memento.

Discover nature at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

I wasn’t sure if my boys were going to enjoy a botanical conservatory or if this was more geared towards adults but my kids ended up having tons of fun here. I felt like the entire conservatory was developed with families in mind and that bringing young children was not only welcome but encouraged there. They have a discovery corner located right outside the lobby that has stories and activities related to a monthly theme. The area is geared towards grades pre-k through K but my 3rd and 4th graders enjoyed it as well! While walking between the three indoor gardens the boys discovered activities along the way including an “underground” slide, a little pretend market and some building activities. We also enjoyed looking at the hundreds of plants as we walked around the indoor and outdoor gardens. Learn more about the Botanical Conservatory here.

Swim in a pool 

Fort Wayne has a number of pools and splash pads around town that are open during the warmer months but we enjoyed swimming at our hotel’s pool. We stayed at the Hilton Fort Wayne located at the Grand Wayne convention center and it had an indoor pool (which is a must-have when traveling with kids in my opinion). The pool area had lots of windows with views of the city and the hotel was close to everything which was convenient.

Enjoy a TinCaps Minor League Baseball Game

If you are traveling to Fort Wayne with a little baseball fan you’ll want to see if the TinCaps are playing a home game while you are in town. (They play during the spring and summer months.) Besides baseball, visitors will enjoy Parkview Field- where the TinCaps play- because it is a beautiful stadium with a great variety of foods at reasonable prices. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to stay for a whole game because it started raining an hour in but it was fun while we were there.

Go on a hike or family walk

Fort Wayne is home to over 90 miles of trails. We climbed the set of steps near the Old Fort which gave us a great view of the river from above and was the perfect spot to snap a photo. Here’s a trail map so you can find the trail for your family to explore.

Take a ride down one of the rivers

Did you know that Fort Wayne has three rivers? I was surprised to learn this! The best way to experience the riverfront area is via boat. There are a number of tours but we went on Sweet Breeze, Fort Wayne’s authentic 1840s canal boat replica, where we learned about Fort Wayne’s history and future plans for the riverbank area. Learn about all the riverboat rides here.

Walk around downtown Fort Wayne

There’s lots more to explore in Fort Wayne and we enjoyed walking around the downtown area. You can visit the Fort Wayne Museum of Art or catch a show at The Embassy Theatre.

Overall, we had a great trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana! If you live there, or have visited in the past, I’d love to hear what other things you think we should add to our list to do next time. If you’ve never visited what things do you think your family would enjoy doing in Fort Wayne?

Indiana Dunes ~ Summer 2014

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Even though I live in the Midwest and am no where near an ocean, I still am able to enjoy the beach. Chicago has numerous beaches along the lakefront but I prefer to head to Indiana and visit the Indiana Dunes. Only an hour and a half away from my day-to-day life is my sandy escape.

Overall, I’ve found the Dunes to be pretty clean, the water temperature comfortable and the beach area not very crowded. Here are some of my favorite pictures from our day trip earlier this month.

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Valplayso: Best Playground Ever! {Valparaiso, IN}

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While on a day trip to Indiana last month we stopped at a well-known playground called Valplayso. I think there is so much to do at this playground and so many places the imagination could take children while they are playing that my kids could have spent all day there.

The playground is made mostly of wood and some of the pieces have seen better days but it’s still worth a visit. I found an article that was written the day we were there that says the playground is going to get rebuilt next year. The article said that some elements would be kept and built upon. It also said that more would be done to accommodate children with special needs. You can read the article here.

Enough of the text, let’s get to the fun part–the pictures!!

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We had a hard time finding the park since the address we had was wrong. Here is a description of where the park is and a link to the map directly from the Valpo Parks website.

Day Trip To Indiana Dunes

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Over 4th of July weekend we took a day trip to the Indiana Dunes. I thought the beach would be really crowded with everyone off work and the fireworks that evening but it never really got that busy. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day:

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Headed to the beach soon? My top 3 tips for families headed to the beach are: bring your own food, bring something that will shade you from the sun, and get there early for a spot by the water.