Fun Places! 14 Best Things to Do in Fort Wayne with Kids, Free & Affordable Activities Included

Things to Do in Fort Wayne, Indiana with kids

Fort Wayne Delights for the Whole Family

Looking for an amazing, affordable, easy-to-reach family getaway?

Northeast Indiana’s Fort Wayne takes the cake with its brand-new waterfront park and huge roster of family activities!

While we’re big fans of visiting Indianapolis with kids, Fort Wayne (the second largest city in the state after Indy) serves up a more laid-back, easy-on-the budget experience that a lot of families will appreciate.

We spent a long weekend tooling around this Midwestern hidden gem and can’t wait to share the treasure trove of Fort Wayne activities you need to try for yourself.

fort wayne children's zoo
Fort Wayne’s Children’s Zoo

And bonus- many Grand Rapids memberships offer reciprocal benefits in Fort Wayne!

Here’s our list of fun things to do in Fort Wayne with kids:

14 Best Things to Do in Fort Wayne Indiana

Fort Wayne is a treasure trove of things to do with kids. Here’s our top picks:

1 – Promenade Park

202 W Superior St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

Fort Wayne’s three rivers converge in Downtown Fort Wayne, creating a hub at Promenade Park.

Promenade Park Fort Wayne Indiana

Promenade Park is the epicenter of the good things happening – plus it’s the epitome of coolness.

Take a look:

The park features the Parkview Tree Canopy Trail (boardwalk), pavilion, amphitheater, all-inclusive playground, kids’ canal (natural splash pad with climbable rocks), porch swings, and yard games for starters.

Fort Wayne things to do: Promenade Park

You’re in for a treat from the moment you step onto the park property.

There is so much to do you could easily spend an entire day here and not get bored.

Parkview Tree Canopy Trail

The Parkview Tree Canopy Trail in Promenade Park takes you on a whimsical 10-15 minute boardwalk adventure.

Wells Street Bride Fort Wayne Parkview Tree Canopy Trail
Historic Wells Street Bridge, Fort Wayne

Perched above the river, the trail leads from downtown (catch the trail on the north riverbank at Wells Street Bridge) to the newly upgraded playground.

Promenade Park Fort Wayne Map

If you’re visiting during the Fourth of July, you can watch the fireworks right from the trail or from the playground.

Fort Wayne Promenade Park - Tree Canopy Trail

Pedestrians, bikers, and skaters are all permitted to utilize the boardwalk.

Take a leisure stroll or make it a workout, but be sure to take in the sights along the way.

PNC Accessible Playground

1004 Cass St, Fort Wayne, IN 46808

The Parkview Tree Canopy Trail brings you to the newly updated, Promenade Kids Park and Playground on the northern banks of the river.

Promenande Park Playground Fort Wayne with kids

The accessible playground is packed with features kids love. From the squishy turf to the merry-go-round, climbing structures, and musical equipment, there is a little something for everyone. 

Fort Wayne Promenade Park - All Inclusive Playground

Nearby benches overlook the playground, making it easy to take play breaks.

Kids’ Canal

On the other side of the river, the Kids’ Canal Natural Splash Pad will have kids hopping from stone to stone.

Kids Canal Promenade Park Fort Wayne

The stepping stone water feature of this playscape runs along the sidewalk. Spectators can stay dry and follow close by as kiddos splash their way through the water.

This is definitely a great thing to do when visiting Fort Wayne with kids on a warm day.

Promendade Park Stepping Stones - Things to do in Fort Wayne IN

Tip: Bring a change of clothes for kids unless they’re okay with being wet for a bit. The water is so much fun, kids just have to play!

Events at Promenade Park

Promenade Park is a people magnet in the summertime, and the fun events hosted here just make it more of a destination.

Visit on select Wednesdays for concerts in the park.

2024 Concerts in Promenade Park Lineup

Take a Riverboat Cruise on Sweet Breeze

Saturdays & Sundays, June 6 – October 12, 2024. Tickets

Fun things to do in Fort Wayne with kids - river boat cruise on sweet breeze

Fort Wayne’s Dragon Boat Racing Event in August is exciting.

Colorful 46-foot-long Dragon boats – some with a dragon head, tail and scales – are propelled by their team of 20 paddlers, 1 drummer, and 1 steersman. The drummer keeps the beat to synchronize the paddlers.

Things to do in Fort Wayne - Dragon Boat Races
Fort Wayne Dragon Boat Races

Races can last up to ten minutes and cover anywhere between 200 – 2000 meters.

Opening ceremonies are performed by the Fort Wayne Chinese Friends and Family Association, “Awakening the Dragon”.

Dragon Boat Racing Fort Wayne 2024
5th Annual Dragon Boat Races – August 2-3, 2024

Time your visit to coincide with dragon boat races, concerts in the park, or one of the other many events happening at Promenade Park!

More Promenade Park Fun Things to Do in Fort Wayne

This is only the beginning of the features of Promenade Park!

You will also find:

pavilionamphitheaterporch swings


teds snack bar fort wayne things to do

teds snack + bar



    Paddling Rentals: Rent a single or double kayak, a canoe, or SUP and paddle the river!

    No matter how you choose to spend your time at Promenade Park or who you have along with you, there will be something for all members of your group.

    2 – Head to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

    3411 Sherman Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46808

    Open late April – October, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo will be the first stop on when I get back to Fort Wayne.

    Fort Wayne Children's Zoo sign

    They have one of the largest red panda habitats in the US. It boasts a new multi-species exhibit that has endangered Chinese & Himalayan Red Pandas, Chinese Muntjac, Red-billed Blue Magpie & White-eared Pheasant.

    Fort Wayne Children's Zoo - Red Panda Experience

    Add “sea lions frolicking during feeding time” to your items of sights to see. You don’t want to miss it.

    Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

    Not too big, not too small, this zoo is just the right size. You can easily spend an afternoon exploring and won’t be utterly exhausted when you’re done.

    Fort Wayne Children's Zoo sting ray touch tank
    Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo sting ray touch tank

    The quality of the exhibits and the diversity of animals at the zoo are to be commended, too.

    Fort Wayne Children's Zoo - Red Panda

    The Jungle Dome Aviary, complete with bird identification cards, lets your kids seek and find flying creatures of all colors.

    This zoo is awesome when visiting Fort Wayne with kids because of the many engaging experiences available!

    Ride a dugout canoe through the outback, sky safari chair lift – get sights of the entire zoo, and ride the train and carousel. You can also feed stingrays, giraffes, goats, & chickens.

    Some of the other must-see animals at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo include:

    • lions
    • tigers
    • giraffes
    • orangutans
    • leopards
    • zebras
    • kangaroos
    • monkeys
    • and more!

    Bonus: The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo participates in reciprocal member benefits with John Ball Zoo as well as other AZA zoos. John Ball Zoo members get 50% off admission to Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

    Call the zoo to confirm exact benefits before arriving: 260-427-6800

    3 – Play All Day at Science Central

    1950 N Clinton St, Fort Wayne, IN 46805

    For a break from the outdoors, check out Science Central, Fort Wayne’s Children’s Museum.

    Plan to spend a few hours exploring this fun destination.

    Kids will love zooming down the two-story slide.

    Science Central 2 Story Slide - Fort Wayne - Vriezma
    2-story slide at Science Central

    Splash in the water zone or see a live science experiment.

    water zone - fort wayne with kids at science central

    Explore, build, and test things out at the 200+ hands-on exhibits and activities.

    Science Central - Fort Wayne Things to do

    Kids have so much fun, they don’t even realize they’re learning, too!

    Fort Wayne  - Science Central

    BONUS: Science Central is a part of the ASTC Travel Passport Program, which means that many people with a museum membership (like the Grand Rapids Public Museum) will get you free Science Central admission for two adults and their children (living at the same address). This is subject to change; call ahead to confirm current offerings.

    4 – Visit The Landing on an Empty Stomach

    116 W Columbia St Ste 301, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

    The Landing is a historic neighborhood. Recently renovated, this vibrant one-block area now sports 15 locally-owned restaurants, shopping, and galleries.

    Outdoor Dining in Fort Wayne at The Landing

    Outdoor dining areas line the street, murals and local artwork fill the alleyways, and the sounds of street performers tickle your ears.

    This multi-sensory experience is located just a few blocks from Promenade Park.

    An eatery we enjoyed:

    111 W Columbia St Suite 103, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

    Offers Cali-Mexican dining. Order your own plates or platillos (plates to share).

    Fort Wayne Mercado

    This cool hub is just a block away from Promenade Park. Stop on over after playing at the park or walk your dinner off while exploring more of downtown.

    5 – Stroll Through The Botanical Garden

    1100 S Calhoun St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

    Take a stroll through the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. They’re open year-round and offer an indoor oasis to all who visit.

    Surround yourself with plants and nature in their tranquil gardens during your visit.

    Stop by in the spring to see the butterflies.

    Fort Wayne - Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

    Check out their website for hours and rates. On Thursdays, visit for $1 admission from 5 PM- 8 PM.

    6 – Stop into Union Street Market

    1622 Broadway, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

    Union Street Market is part of Electric Works district and is the region’s first food hall and public market.

    Shop and dine at over 20 merchants and restaurants that are open daily. They’re also home to the weekly Farmer’s Market in the summertime.

    The market is housed in an abandoned factory that has been modernized, but still features original components of the historic building like ceiling cranes.

    Experience food from all over the world including, Burmese, Salvadorian, Thai, Ethiopian, and Indian.

    The market has a very similar feel to Grand Rapids’ Downtown Market.

    7 – Check out the Fort Wayne Farmer’s Market

    Colder months: Parkview Stadium – 301 E Wayne St, ort Wayne, IN 46802
    Summer: Electric Works in Dynamo Alley – 1690 Broadway, Fort Wayne, IN
    46802, 9 AM to 1 PM

    I’d drive to Fort Wayne just to go to the epic Fort Wayne Farmer’s Market on a summer Saturday.

    White vendor tents fill Dynamo Alley in the Electric Works district. Find a variety of goods here, from fresh homegrown vegetables to freshly baked pastries and bread.

    Fort Wayne Farmer's Market Summer
    Fort Wayne Farmer’s Market – Dynamo Alley

    The prices on their grass-fed, locally raised meat, eggs, cheese and produce were drive-worthy. And, I can attest to the flavors, as we sampled meat, cheese, and other yums while shopping.

    Strolling through the farmers market is a fun thing to do in Fort Wayne, even for the kids. In the summer, be on the lookout for special family-friendly events like touch a truck experiences.

    Every Saturday 9 AM -1 PM at Electric Works. 2 hours of Free Parking

    8 – Explore the Fort Wayne Public Art Trail

    Downtown Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

    Scattered throughout downtown Fort Wayne, the Public Art Trail features murals, sculptures, and other pieces of public art (perfect for selfies).

    Use the free mobile-only map to find street art near you.

    Fort Wayne Public Art Tour

    Each mural has a QR code you can scan with your phone to get information about the artist as well as the artwork. This inclusive, city-wide art exhibit features a tactile piece for each artwork for the visually impaired.

    For an interactive experience, check in at each art piece’s designated location to redeem prizes.

    fort wayne public art trail

    Take a selfie with your favorite pieces and use #PublicArtFW.

    9 – Spend the Afternoon at Combat Ops Arena

    702 Ley Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46825

    Spend time at Combat Ops Arena and get movement and tactical gaming in this indoor space.

    They offer mission-based laser tag, omni treadmill virtual reality, indoor and outdoor axe throwing, Nerf-style tag arena, small ball bowling, laser maze, arcade, & outdoor mini-golf course.

    Fort Wayne - Combat Ops Arena

    Your crew is sure to work up an appetite.

    Never fear, they have you covered with their café that serves pizza, snacks, and soda. For the adults they offer beer and wine slushies!

    10 – Watch the Tincaps at Parkview Field

    1301 Ewing St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

    Fort Wayne knew what they were doing when they planted  Parkview Field in downtown.

    Parkview Field Things to Do in Fort Wayne, Indiana

    This is where the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the city’s minor league baseball game plays, and it’s just magical.

    Summer nights lounging on the grass under the big lights – you can just smell the hot dogs. Watching a game here makes a great addition to your fun things to do in Fort Wayne list!

    things to do in Fort Wayne with kids tincaps baseball parkview field

    If you’re staying overnight, consider staying at the Downtown Hampton Inn & Suites (223 West Jefferson Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46802).

    HamptonInn and Suites Rooftop Bar - Fort Wayne - FB
    View from Hampton Inn Rooftop Bar

    This hotel is connected to the TinCaps Stadium and has a rooftop bar on top of its seven-story building.

    You can watch a game right from the roof! (PS- the fitness center also offers this stellar skyline view.)

    11 – Watch a Komets Game at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum

    1010 Memorial Way #100, Fort Wayne, IN 46805

    Experience the thrill of live hockey where the electrifying atmosphere, fast-paced action, and passionate fans create an unforgettable event.

    Hockey is a fun family pastime. Plan your visit around their schedule and you might even see the Komets play against the Kalamazoo Kwings.

    Get tickets here.

    Fort Wayne Komets Hockey - Fort Wayne - FB

    12 – Visit Fort Wayne Museum of Art

    311 E.Main St, Fort Wayne, IN 46805

    The Fort Wayne Art Museum features nearly 5,000 pieces of artwork with some pieces dating back to the 1850s.

    Art pieces include sculptures, paintings, prints, and photographs. They offer a 30 – minute sculpture tour of pieces throughout and around the museum.

    Free admission Thursdays 5 PM – 8 PM.

    Fort Wayne Museum of Art - Fort Wayne - FB

    13 – Catch a Renactment at the Old Fort – Historic Fort Wayne

    1201 Spy Run Ave, Fort Wayne, IN 46805

    What would Fort Wayne be without a fort?

    The Historic Old Fort is a copy of the original fort that American troops built for cover in 1815. The replica fort stands about a quarter of a mile from the original site.

    Today, the fort hosts reenactments and other events that teach visitors about the Old Fort’s role in the Old Northwest Territory and the impact it had on the state of Indiana – and even the country – throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.

    Fort Wayne with kids

    The Old Fort is located on public park grounds and you’re invited to wander around and into the parade grounds. The buildings themselves are only open during events, so be sure to check out the schedule when planning your trip.

    You can also take a Virtual Tour to learn more about the Historic Old Fort grounds.

    14 – Walk the Town and Trails

    Fort Wayne, IN 46805

    Fort Wayne was made for walkers, bikers, and anyone else who likes to get outside.

    With the extensive Fort Wayne Trail System, you’ll find plenty of trails weaving in and out of the city. It comprises over 125 miles of trails, connecting four different areas (Fort Wayne, New Haven, Leo-Cedarville, and Monroeville).

    Fort Wayne - Fort Wayne Trail System

    Plan time to meander and take in the area during your time spent here. We’d love to know what you discover!

    Fort Wayne with kids

    Where to Stay in Fort Wayne

    There are lovely homes and hotels in neighborhoods or right downtown waiting for your trip. We find Fort Wayne hotels to offer some of the more affordable overnight city stays.

    Map of Things to Do in Fort Wayne IN

    Amazingly, all of this stuff to do in Fort Wayne is within a 20 minute drive from start to finish. Once you get to Fort Wayne, you won’t be spending a lot of time in your car.

    This is a get out and do stuff kind of town and we’re here for it!

    Fort Wayne Activity Pass

    Buy a Fort Wayne Adventure Pass & SAVE (pass valid for 72 hours after first use)

    • Adults (18+): $42.95
    • Child (2-18): $35.95

    Pass includes admission to four AMAZING attractions: Children’s Zoo, Science Central, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, & Museum of Art.

    Have You Visited Fort Wayne IN?

    We’d love to hear about your adventures and your favorite things to do in Fort Wayne.

    Did you visit with family or kids?

    What did you love?

    Drop us a note in the comments!

    1 thought on “Fun Places! 14 Best Things to Do in Fort Wayne with Kids, Free & Affordable Activities Included”

    1. Thank you for sharing this! I’ll take note of these places. I’ll be bringing my kids to Fort Wayne this weekend. I’m sure they’ll enjoy going to the Children’s zoo. Do you have recommendations on where I could bring them to eat?

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