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.
And bonus- I found that many of my Grand Rapids memberships offered reciprocal benefits in Fort Wayne!
Here’s my list of fun things to do in Fort Wayne with kids:
12 Best Things to Do in Fort Wayne Indiana
1 – Promenade Park
202 W Superior St, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Fort Wayne’s three rivers converge in its Downtown Fort Wayne, creating a hub at Promenade Park.
It is the epicenter of the good things happening here and is 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, yard games, for starters.
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.
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.
If you’re visiting during the Fourth of July, you can watch the fireworks right from the trail or from the playground.
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.
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 here.
Nearby benches overlook the playground, making it easy to take play breaks.
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:
- teds snack + bar
- porch swings
- Paddling Rentals: Rent a single or double kayak, a canoe, or SUP and paddle the river!
- Take a Riverboat Cruise on Sweet Breeze
Saturdays & Sundays, May 27 – October 8, 2023. $30/person for a 90-minute tour, $20/person for a 45-minute tour (children 2 free on an adult’s lap). Tickets
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.
On the other side of the river, the Kids’ Canal Natural Splash Pad will have kids hopping from stone to stone.
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.
Tip: Bring a change of clothes for kids unless they’re okay with being in 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.
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.
Races can last up to 10 minutes and cover anywhere between 200 to 2000 meters.
Opening ceremonies are performed by the Fort Wayne Chinese Friends and Family Association, “Awakening the Dragon”.
Time your visit to coincide with dragon boat races, concerts in the park, or one of the other many events happening at Promenade Park!
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.
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.
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.
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. Your crew will be entertained for hours.
Splash in the water zone, zip down their 2-story slide, or see a live science experiment.
Explore, build, and test things out at the 200+ hands-on exhibits and activities.
Kids have so much fun they don’t even realize they’re learning, too!
Science Central is Fort Wayne’s Children’s Museum.
Plan to spend a few hours exploring this fun destination.
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 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.
A few eateries 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).
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.
They also have butterflies in springtime. Visit their butterfly exhibit and take in the beautiful colors of these wondrous beings.
Check out their website for hours and rates. On Thursdays, visit for $1 admission from 5PM-8PM.
6 – Stop into Union Street Market
1622 Broadway, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
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
Parkview Stadium – 301 E Wayne Street At Parkview Field in the colder months
Summer: 9AM to 1PM – Electric Works in Dynamo Alley – 1690 Broadway, Fort Wayne, IN
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.
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 Way, even for the kids. In the summer, be on the lookout for special family-friendly events like touch a truck experiences.
Every Saturday 9-1PM 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.
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 art piece for the visually impaired.
For an interactive experience, check in at each art piece’s designated location to redeem prizes.
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.
Your crew is sure to work up an appetite, 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.
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 hotdogs. Watching a game here makes a great addition to your fun things to do in Fort Wayne list!
If you’re staying overnight, consider staying at the Downtown Hampton Inn & Suites (223 West Jefferson Boulevard, Fort Wayne, IN 46802.)
This hotel is connected to the TinCaps Stadium and has a rooftop bar on top of their seven-story building.
You can watch a game right from the roof! (PS- the fitness center also offers this stellar skyline view.)
11 – 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 event the country throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.
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 while planning your trip.
You can also take a Virtual Tour to learn more about the Historic Old Fort grounds.
12 – 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).
Plan time to meander and take in the area during your time spent here. We’d love to know what you discover!
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+) $34.95
- Child (2-18) $28.95
Pass includes admission to 4 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 the things to do in Fort Wayne that you found.
Did you visit with family or kids?
What did you love?
Drop us a note in the comments!
And if you’re going for a visit anytime soon, let us know about any great things to do with kids in Fort Wayne that you find when you get back. Happy travels!