Solitude in nature
Ouabache State Park is located about 30 miles south of Fort Wayne near Bluffton. While the park can still be crowded during the summer, especially holiday weekends, during the school year it's a very quiet relaxing place! Climb the old fire tower, one of the few still remaining in Indiana, and enjoy the wonderful view high above the treetops! This kind of view is very rare in the flatlands of Indiana. I also recommend the 6-mile Wabash trail that covers the perimeter of the park. The hike takes about 2 hours to complete and it utilizes parts of every trail in the park. Also don't miss the 20-acre American bison exhibit! Very cool! For pictures, check out my travelogue!
Veterans National Memorial Shrine
This memorial is dedicated to all U.S. war veterans. There is also a Shrine Museum which houses over 5,000 military artifacts from the Civil War to the present. Located west of the city at the corner of Yellow River and O'Day Roads. Follow the signs from U.S. 30.
Fort Wayne Childrens Zoo part III
Here were have one of my favorite animals, lemurs! These ring-tailed critters love playing and prancing in their huge exhibit and sometimes stare at you as if to say "What are you looking at?"
Follow the beating drums through the Indonesian Rainforest to the Rainforest Dome. Inside you'll find several insects, geckos, an enourmous reticulated python, and my favorite, the komodo dragon, the world's largest lizard. After strolling the lab, head out into the humid air of the rainforest dome and watch the huge babboons as they swing from branch to branch. A trail winds around the floor of the rainforest dome and under a waterfall. There used to be a time when butterflies lived in here and if you stood still long enough, they would land on you. Unfortunately, stricter permits forced the zoo to abandon the butterflies last year.
Outside the rainforest dome is what the zoo claims to be the world's only endangered species carousel. Instead of the regular horses, this carousel features only endangered animals. Kids love it, but alas, it does cost money. Instead go to the left and down the Tree Tops Trail.
This elevated boardwalk meanders through a wooded area and past several exhibits of animals found only in Indonesia as it heads back toward the entrance to the Indonesian Rainforest. Several interpretive displays explain why we need to protect the rainforest and what you can do to help.
Back in the Central Zoo, find a path between the penguins and the alligators. This will lead you to the Australian Adventure and one of the zoos most popular exhibits, the Great Barrier Reef. New this year in the Great Barrier Reef building is a sharks, rays, and jellyfish exhibit. The jellyfish are amazing and mesmerizing. I couldn't wait for this exhibit to open! The shark tank is huge for the few sharks that seem to inhabit it, but that's for a good reason. The sharks right now are only about 2 feet long. They will grow much bigger. And of course don't miss the ever popular coral reef tank with its dozens of mutli-colored fish in a beautiful reef replica.
Don't miss Australia After Dark where you can watch bats fly by and Echidnas and possoms roam the dark. Notice there is no glass in the middle of that bat exhibit! Beyond all that is the Walk-through Aviary. One of my favorite spots, this huge bird cage allows you to walk among free flying exotic birds.
Although they are a bit hard to see in this picture, there are several kangaroos in this exhibit. What makes this exhibit is unique in that visitors enter the kangaroo exhibit so if you're lucky, they might be hopping all around you. There are several joeys that were born this year. If you're lucky, you will see them.
Many people overlook the prairie dog exhibit since it's located literally right in side the entrance gates but I love it. It's fun to watch the little guys eating and digging and running around and usually staring back at the people staring at them.