Fort Wayne, Indiana was always a drive through area for Retro TravelingMom, usually on the way from Michigan to Florida. However, once she stopped and made it her destination, a whole new world of fun, learning, food, and nature came into focus. This city, which many may unknowingly pass by, could easily be at the forefront of your next vacation with kids. Here are 8 reasons why you should take your kids to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

8 Reasons to Take Your Kids to Fort Wayne, Indiana

City View of Downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom.

A Midwest Weekend Getaway

There are some vacation destinations that my kids will simply tolerate and then there are some that they beg for! Fort Wayne, Indiana has definitely proven itself to be the latter – a city that is fun, family-oriented, and full of new adventures.

On my latest trip to Fort Wayne, I took my two kids along with me. Together we explored the city. We ate great food. Even though they probably won’t admit it, we even learned a few new things together as well.

Being that Fort Wayne is Indiana second largest city, you may not have considered it a family friendly destination. However, it is!

Just wait until you see these top choices for places to play when wandering Fort Wayne, Indiana with kids.

8 Reasons to Take Your Kids to Fort Wayne, Indiana

1 . Cheer on the Tin Caps at a Baseball Game.

Seeing a live baseball game with my kids has always been top on my list, but unfortunately hadn’t ever happened. This was because I shied away from it for many reasons – would it be overwhelming? Would the kids get antsy? Would they be able to find anything they’d like to eat?

A Tin Caps Baseball game at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne is an excellent first introduction! The stadium is family-oriented, clean, and full of different options for food. They even have a mascot that makes his rounds for photos and a fun little dance show they do when they sweep the field.

The best part is that tickets start out at only $5 each!

Fort Wayne Tin Caps Game - What to do in Fort Wayne Indiana with Kids

Parkview Field – Home of the Fort Wayne Tin Caps. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom.

2. Explore Nature at the Botanical Conservancy.

I love it when I can find an activity that captures not only my kids’ attention but also my own. The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservancy in Fort Wayne, Indiana is a perfect example of that.

This beautiful campus is filled with different climates of florals, including a desert, a waterfall with lush tropical plants, and during my visit, a German inspired biergarten. However, between the nature-filled rooms, we found children’s play areas that incorporated learning. My kids favorite spot was the worm tunnels that they could climb within to investigate what insects and animals can be found living underground!

Fort Wayne Botanical Conservancy, What to do in Fort Wayne Indiana with Kids

The outside garden at the Fort Wayne Botanical Conservancy. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom.

3. Wander the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.

The Fort Wayne Museum of Art is another opportunity for learning through travel. While this destination would typically be geared towards older children, the bright colors and statues were enough to claim the attention of my younger children.

Not sure it’s a good fit for your kids? Visit during the FREE general admission days, every Thursday 5-8pm.

4. Test Ideas at Science Central.

Science Central is a hands-on learning adventure for kids of all ages. After asking the kids to “look but not touch” at the Art Museum, Science Central invited us to let them loose! The exhibits invite them to touch, think, and manipulate everything. I loved watching their eyes light up when an experiment worked!

Are you a member of your home town hands on science museum? Members of other ASTC-participating museums receive free admission to Science Central!

Learning opportunities for kids in Fort Wayne indiana

Science Central in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom.

5. Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is consistently named one of the top ten zoos in the country, and it’s not hard to see why! The landscaping and architecture were one of the first things I noticed as being extraordinary – followed by the food which also ranked high on my list.

We also were happily surprised to find several opportunities for hands on play and learning, as well as a few heart thumping rides like the Sky Safari! This ride soars you over the park for a birds-eye view of the animals at play. This stop could easily become a full day of play.

Kid-friendly things to do in Fort Wayne Indiana include a visit to the Children's Zoo.

Exploring the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom.

6. Find Outdoor Adventure.

Fort Wayne is currently putting a lot of money and effort into creating a community oriented river area – a place people will come for adventure, events, and fun. Until that progress is complete, this area has many opportunities for outdoor activities such as bike riding on trails, Segway rentals, or taking a leisurely riverboat ride down the river to appreciate the scenery.

Ready for outdoor adventure? Fort Wayne Outfitters is a great place to start!

Kid-friendly fun down by the river in Fort Wayne Indiana.

There’s plenty of action down by the river in Fort Wayne. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

7. Relax and Refuel at the Plaza.

I’ve always searched out the heart of every city I wander and in Fort Wayne, I found it near Friemann Square. This is the area the locals come to gather, listen to music, and have lunch. From 11:30 – 1:30 every Thursday, June – August, food trucks line the streets.

We were able to find some grilled cheese, that we then ate on a blanket in the shade. It was a nice way to relax and refuel.

A fun kid-friendly place to eat in Fort Wayne Indiana is Lunch on the Plaza.

Joining “Lunch on the Plaza” in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom.

8. Enjoy Music at Sweetwater.

Sweetwater is a leading retailer of all things music related. Even though they have a large online presence, they also have this location in Fort Wayne which is open for guests to wander.

Inside you can find a large store, recording studios, a cafe that sometimes has live music, and much more. For the budding artist or those who appreciate music, this stop can be an inspiring one.

Be sure to check out the vintage VW van at the entrance and read about the Sweetwater roots – learn how it all began out of one man’s van.

A fun, kid-friendly place to visit as a family in Fort Wayne Indiana is Sweetwater.

Experience Music at Sweetwater. Photo by Mary Moore / Raising Dick and Jane.

Fort Wayne, Indiana may not have been on my radar before but now that I’ve found it, there is no forgetting it! What excites you most about exploring this area with your family?

8 reasons to take your kids to Fort Wayne, Indiana. These are good!

Hungry? While wandering Fort Wayne, rest assured that there is no lack of great places to dine! Read more about food options in Fort Wayne, Indiana.