How to Have an Amazing Family Getaway to Fort Wayne, Indiana

Fort Waynes Children's Zoo is a fun spot to visit - especailly in spring for its baby season!

There are some road trips that I know what to expect. I know exactly what the city has to offer me and my family and I’m stoked. Then there are cities that I don’t know much about so I’m even more excited – and Fort Wayne, Indiana, was one of them until very recently. I had the pleasure of being chauffeured around the fun city by none other than the folks that know it best (its Visitors Bureau!) and learned that the city is so much more than the spot to score Vera Bradly goodies. Here’s my top ways to have an amazing and memorable family getaway to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana in spring.
Downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

With so many things to do in Fort Wayne, Indiana, narrowing down my top family-friendly choices was a bit difficult. There’s everything from sporting events to educational fun. So which ones were the standouts in my eyes? Here’s eight that topped my list.

Give Me Chocolate or Give Me… Chocolate

DeBrand Fin Chocolates in Fort Wayne, Indiana
DeBrand Fine Chocolates. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

It’s one thing to grab a chocolate bar off a store shelf and dive in, but it’s quite another to visit an artisan chocolate brand to sample and enjoy creative flavor combinations. DeBrand Chocolates is the place to visit in Fort Wayne (there’s several locations in the city) and the craftsmanship is just stunning. You can purchase single pieces to sample but my favorite way is to order a few pieces ranging from large truffles to chocolates with a spicy kick.

Johnny Appleseed’s a Baseball Fan?

Johnny Appleseed, the mascot for the Fort Wayne Tincaps.
Johnny Appleseed, the mascot for the Fort Wayne Tincaps. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

In Fort Wayne, he sure is! The city’s in-house baseball team, the Tincaps, makes sure that everyone can see a baseball game with its affordable tickets. Not only that, special events, player autograph sessions, and even the cool mascot, Johnny Appleseed, keep the kids entertained in between innings. Ticket prices start at $5.00 and on Mondays there’s select concession goodies for only a buck. A local favorite, the Bad Apple Dancers, grab huge applause for their silly choreography between the 6th and 7th innings.

They Blinded Me with Science!

Science Central in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Science Central. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

I’ve always written that the best way for kids to learn is when they don’t realize they’re learning. And, while it makes a perfect place to visit when the weather isn’t cooperating, Science Central is my choice for teaching kids about science fun any day of the week. The former City Light and Power building, the STEM-loving spot is floors of science, tech, engineering, and math fun. The adult benefits? You get to learn right along with the kiddos. Check the schedule before you go as Science Central is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Zoo Fun

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo Giraffe Feeding
Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

There’s no denying that the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo caters to families with kids – its name gives it away! But, would I have a ball there even without taking my teen daughter? Absolutely! The zoo is a manageable size so little ones won’t feel overwhelmed, which is a bonus. What I loved most about it? The ski lift. It’s a fun way to catch an aerial glimpse of the zoo and a few of its residents.

Botanical Delights

The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory Butterfly Exhibit
The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Spring is an especially fun time to visit because the city is blooming fun! Okay, I had to use that pun but it’s true. The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in the heart of Downtown Fort Wayne is a nice respite. A leisurely spot to visit anytime of year, my fave is in spring for its “Perspective” Butterfly Display. Each day, new butterflies emerge from their cocoons and  are carefully placed into a massive exhibit tent to check out up close. The fun is watching the flutter about and trying to snap photos of their colorful wings.

Vera Bradley Everything

Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale haul
Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

There’s no way I could write about Fort Wayne and not include a bit on its celebrity style brand, Vera Bradley. Its patterns are iconic and folks come out in droves for the annual Vera Bradley Outlet Sale. What started out as a tent sale in the front yard has grown to a multi-day event filled with amazing deals on handbags. But, there’s blankets, luggage, and even Christmas ornaments, too. If you really want to score some VB goodies, a VIP pass will get you in before the general admission sale madness goes on.

I had the pleasure of watching from above the fun that goes on when the ropes are dropped and it was a hoot. One word of advice, though: you’ll probably end up bringing more items home than you thought you would – I had no idea the sale was that good!

Art Smart

Sharon: Photographs by Leon Borensztein at Fort Wayne Museum of Art.
Sharon: Photographs by Leon Borensztein at Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

My teen daughter wants to turn her love of art into a career in a few years. It’s that love of art that makes us happily seek out museums in every city we visit. The Fort Wayne Museum of Art is one of those hidden gems that I could visit over and over again compliments of its featured exhibits. There’s two new ones that are a must see: Sharon: Photographs by Leon Borensztein and Robert Williams: SLANG Aesthetics! The exhibits are on temporary display so make sure you head to the official website for closing dates.

“Sharon” highlights poignant photos that Borensztein has taken of his severely disabled daughter. He paints her in such a light that, not only are they beautiful, they teach the viewer about how to look at art through their eyes. The exhibit was created using low light to keep sensory overload at bay and Braille is used throughout.

Robert Williams: SLANG Aesthetics! is completely the opposite. It’s high-energy, whimsical feel is like stepping into a comic book. I immediately saw the Salvador Dali influence and pop surrealist fun. His pieces are true eye candy.

A Nice Place to Rest Your Head

Don Hall's Guesthouse in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
King Room at Don Hall’s Guesthouse in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

If you’re looking for lodging options, I was so happy with my stay at Don Hall’s Guesthouse. The hotel is only 10 minutes away from Downtown and has accommodations from King Rooms to Loft Suites. My king bed was super comfy and I loved the space to move around.

looking for family-friendly fun in Fort Wayne, Indiana? Here's 8 ways to amp up the happiness on your family getaway!

Disclosure: A huge thank you to the folks at Visit Fort Wayne for the kind hospitality during my press tour. All opinions are my own!

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27 Thoughts to “How to Have an Amazing Family Getaway to Fort Wayne, Indiana”

  1. Wow, there are so many activities to do in Fort Wayne Indiana. Thank you for all the options that you’ve mentioned.

  2. Robin Rue

    Science Central would be a HUGE hit with my boys. They are both SOOOOO into STEM stuff right now and that is totally up their alley.

    1. Karyn Locke

      It was a huge hit with me and I’m, let’s just say not a kid.

  3. We literally stoped on the chocolate part. 😉 Thanks for this in-depth research and sharings – we will definitely follow some of the advice from here. 🙂

    1. Karyn Locke

      Hehe, I took one for the team on this post.

  4. The chocolate place would be my first stop. I would love the zoo too.

    1. Karyn Locke

      Good call! I was so impressed bu its chocolate selection – everything from super decadent to savory!

  5. This looks like a great place to visit! Indiana is not really on most radars for traveling and tourist but it looks like it should be. I’m pinning for later so I can plan a trip!

  6. I never been to Indiana. I am saving the post and i hope in near future i will visit these gateways. Zoo Fun and Chocolates are my favorite.

  7. Wow! So many awesome things to do – we haven’t been to Indiana before but looks like theres some great things to see when we do!

  8. Michelle Waller

    This looks like such a fun and amazing place to visit! I have a friend who lives there and says it is a really fun place!

  9. MY dad lives out that way but I have never really thought about visiting this area. I will have to look into it now! Thanks!

  10. These are great travel and local ideas. The tulip fields are gorgeous and the animals are fun to see

  11. All those chocolate, I’m in love, such a beautiful place…

  12. Annemarie

    That is a fun list, it’s so interesting! Kids will love the science and the zoo! Learning while having fun is the best way to do it.

  13. Never knew there is so much to do around Fort Wayne.
    Definitely need to check out the zoo next time I’m around

  14. When thinking of a vacation spot, Indiana isn’t the first place that comes to mind — but it may now after reading this! Instead of going somewhere typical and packed. I really like this article!

  15. Those are some fine chocolates! It would be exciting to go out here with the family! There’s just so much to do.

  16. Ft. Wayne isn’t too far from me. You gave great ideas for a weekend trip!

  17. Sounds and looks like a fantastic trip out! Not sure what I loved most the day out or the chocolates!

  18. Jeff Brand

    So many choices here. I will save this on my list of things to do that are fun!

  19. misty nelson dawn

    I haven’t been there but it looks you had a great time there and I love the good activities. I want to go there someday

  20. I would have had no idea that so much was going on in Fort Wayne, Indiana! That zoo looks amazing, but I am kind of dreaming about that king bed and those amazing chocolates!

  21. Wow so much to do!! I did not have idea really nice places defenetley I will put Indiana on my bucket list

  22. Yup one more thing to add to my list of places to visit when I take to the road during summer break. Good looking out!

  23. What an awesome place to visit for families.

  24. […] Fort Wayne, IN, is a city in Northern Indiana that I’d happily visit over and over, no matter what my daughter’s age is. It has plenty to offer visitors looking for day trip destinations in the Midwest and I’ve fallen in love with it. […]

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