I remember from my last trip to Fort Wayne back in 2004 that a few blocks away from where I was working was a wonderful local book store that had anything and everything you could want with mostly out of print books, comics, videos, etc.
Walking into the store you are immediately surrounded by books. Look hard right when you enter and you will find a nice big shelve of .50 and $1.00 books. I'm sure every time you came into the store if you were a local you would find a variety of different books each trip.
It seems as if they have expanded since I last visited 6 years ago. Besides the main floor you can also go downstairs via 2 different stair cases. In the back of the store they do have a bathroom which I didn't use, but got a kick out of all the bathroom books available to read in the bathroom itself if indeed you needed to spend some quality time in there.
Add the rolling ladders for those out of reach shelves and you'll go back in time when there were no Borders, Barnes and Noble and all the other chain bookstores that are out there today.
Well, since I initially wrote this tip back in 2010 there is now no longer a Borders bookstore. It's nice to see independents outlast chains!
Hours: Mon - Sat 10 - 6 and Sun 1 - 5
Fort Wayne has a professional base team, the Fort Wayne Wizards. They are a single "A" club and are affiliated with the San Diego Padres.
We go about once a year. The game tickets cost 6 dollars and all the seats are great. I think going to a minor league game is more fun than a major league game. They have fireworks for every night game.
Please see link for more info.
Johnny Appleseed Campground
Camping in the middle of the city might seem unusual, but this camp ground is nicely located close to Jonny Appleseed Park and his historic grave site and The River Greenway runs right by the camp ground.
In addition, you can walk to see a Fort Wayne Wizards baseball game, go fishing (its only about 200 feet from the Maumee River) or walking/biking on The Greenway.
The link has additional info, along with schedule of fees and location.
Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) traveled the Midwest planting apple trees, selling seeds, and growing and selling trees. He was a lover of nature. He eventually made a big impact on the people of Fort Wayne and became an American folk hero.
Chapman died in 1845 at the age of 71 and was buried near the St. Joseph River. His real gravesite has never been found, but a memorial to him lies in Johnny Appleseed Park.
The second largest festival in Indiana behind the Indy 500 Festival celebrates its 39th birthday in 2007! Known locally simply as Festival, this annual event draws over 500,000 people to downtown Fort Wayne during its 9 days. In 2007 the fesitval runs July 14-22. The Event Tent will feature 2 yet to be named national acts this year. Don't miss the Crafters Market Saturday and Sunday July 14 and 15 where you can buy all sorts of hand-made crafts! And of course don't miss the opening day parade at 9:30 am on July 14! If you're into art, check out Art in the Park at Freimann Park and Main Street July 14 and 15 where you can buy all sorts of art from clothing to pottery, even sculptures! Along Main Street you can stroll the Chalk Walk and marvel at the things people can draw with chalk. And who can resist Food Alley? This place is actually the most popular part of the festival! Gorge yourself on elephant ears, corn dogs, and cotton candy! The last day of Festival, July 22nd, stay downtown and watch the spectacular fireworks show at 9:30, this year being shot off from the roof of One Summit Square, the tallest building in town! The Three Rivers Festival takes place all around the city, but most of the activitiy is in Headwaters Park and the nearby Freimann Park. Some childrens activities take place at the IPFW campus and carnival rides are located in the Coliseum parking lot. Keep checking back for more info on specific events as time draws closer!
This used to be listed in my Tourist Trap list but after must debating I came to the conclusion that it doesn't really fit the description of a tourist trap, which to mean is something that cons you into paying money to visit a place and then not delivering what was promised. Well, the Lincoln Museum does deliver. It is the largest private collection of Lincoln memoribilia in the world. The museum includes several interactive exhibits as well as hand written documents from the president and family photos. There are several short films about Lincoln's life, a very detailed timeline of the Civil War, and even a replica of the theater box Lincoln was assassinated in at Ford's Theater (pictured, sorry it's so dark!) The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 1-5 pm. Closed Mondays. It is closed New Year's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Admission is $4.99 for adults. $3.99 for seniors 60 and over and for kids age 5-12. Parking is free.
NOTE: The Lincoln Museum is currently scheduled to close permanently on June 30, 2008.
This bridge is a great example of an old truss bridge. In fact I've read where the Old Wells Street Bridge might be called the king of Indiana truss bridges! When built in the later parts of the 1800's these bridges which combined engineering and artistry were sometimes not accepted by many people who thought they were ugly and did not blend in with the cities. Because of these opinions many of the architects added additional decorations to hopefully make them more pleasing in the eyes of their critics. Many of these bridges around the country have been unfortunately torn down, but Fort Wayne was able to save theirs and turn it into a pedestrian and bike friendly bridge. A new bridge just west of the original which I crossed handles today vehicle traffic
The following is a quote from another source describing the bridge. "The portal bracing is what makes this Wells Street Bridge so stunning. Further note that the sway bracing also has some decorations added to the corners also, furthering the cause. The bridge actually was even more decorated originally. Missing are finials, which were originally present on the endposts for the bridge. End-post date plaques may have been attached to these finials also. The bridge itself is a Whipple truss, also known as the double intersection Pratt truss bridge. Allen County has a large number of Whipple truss bridges, but this truss style is otherwise a rare and significant configuration. As a modification of the classic Pratt style, the Whipple truss was capable of spanning a longer distance. Whipple truss spans, including the Wells Street Bridge are fairly long. While a couple isolated areas of the bridge have had steel repaired, the overall historic integrity of this bridge is excellent, including original guardrails. Only the loss of the finials is detrimental to the structure. Builder plaques remaining on the bridge credit the prolific Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio with building the bridge. This bridge stands today as a spectacular, everlasting monument to a company that stood at the forefront of the metal truss bridge world.
The Wells Street Bridge, according to a postcard, also had a trolley sort of rail-line on it also, probably accounting for the wide width of this bridge. This bridge was built at a time where the common thing was a one lane bridge. In an urban area, however a two-lane bridge might be built. This bridge is indeed wide for its time periods, and as a result, is a very massive bridge considering its ancient 1884 construction date. The top chord of this bridge is very large, which is apparent both from the portal view and when looked at from a side view location."
Plaster Fun Spot is one of Fort Wayne's newest family destinations. Perfect for anyone, from toddlers up through seniors - anyone who can enjoy the simple pleasures of painting. They do offer party packages, but they also accept "walk-ins" during business hours.
When you arrive you first pick your favorite piece. With over 100 different pieces to choose from, there are items available for every age and interest. There are small pieces perfect for smaller hands, as well as large pieces for the ambitious artist. From personal gifts to home decorating to just plain fun, there is something for everyone. Plaster Fun Spot supplies all the paints, brushes, finishing sprays, and glitter. Everything you’ll need to complete your piece before you leave. They even supply the smock and take care of the mess! When you're done painting they seal your work and it’s ready to take home in 10 minutes. There's no need to come back to pick up your piece!
Plaster Fun Spot has a Facebook group you might want to join "Plaster Fun Spot Friends." If you join and tell them when you visit the studio you'll get a discount! - Here's a link to the group: http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=76912665617
Every June Fort Wayne gets to experience amazing bbqing at its best with the Fort Wayne Rib Fest. The festival has rows of rib trailers each with its own unique flavor, along with live entertainment, a beer tent and vendors. A children's area is also available with games and rides. Each night boasts a different headliner for your enjoyment. You don't want to miss it! Headwater's Park East
Fort Wayne Pride is in its 11th year of putting festivals together that celebrate the gay and lesbian culture of Fort Wayne. I am in my 8th year as director of this event. Attended by thousands, the 2 day event has live entertainment, a beer tent, vendor market, childrens area, workshops and a space to meet new people. This is open to any person of any age who believes we are all equal and deserve to be treated that way. Friday and Saturday night consist of great entertainment in an awesome party atmosphere. Headwater's Park East.
Fort Wayne has a rich German heritage and it comes out every June at Headwater's Park East in downtown Fort Wayne. Complete with German music, food and beer even those who aren't German wish they were. This 5 day event turns into a party atmosphere on Friday and Saturday night of the festival. You don't want to miss it!
AN UPDATE FOR 2007: Black Pine was forced to move in 2006 and is now located on a beautiful new 18-acre site! It's going to be even bigger and better than ever - check it out!
For those who really love to go to the zoo to actually see the animals (not to eat expensive crappy food or walk eighty miles and look through binoculars to see anything) will LOVE this place.
Black Pine is actually not a zoo exactly, it's an exotic animal sanctuary. They have quite a large number of big cats, primates, birds, reptiles, and other animals. Most all are either rescued pets or retired performers from circuses and things.
The BEST thing about Black Pine is that their staff of volunteers really spends time with you and tells you stories about the animals, facts about the species, and interacts with them so you can really SEE them. All the animals seem very healthy and happy, too.
There is a quaint little gift shop, very reasonable prices. Admission is a bargain, too! Free parking, and a cute little town to explore. Chain O Lakes State Park is nearby, too. One of the state's best!
This is a great find!!
Freimann Sqaure is located at the corner of E. Main Street and S. Clinton Street.
There is a statue of Major General Anthony Wayne at the edge of the square.
It has many benches to sit on and a nice fountain to look at.
There were some newly planted tulips the day I was there.
There are nice views of the Fort Wayne skyline from the square also.
The square was named after Frank Freimann, who was CEO of the Magnavox Company between 1950 and 1967.
The Fort Wayne Childrens Zoo is said to be one of the best in the country and Fort Wayne's number 1 attraction! In fact, a recent issue of Child magazine listed the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo as the 9th best zoo for children in the country, placing it alongside the Lowry Park Zoo, San Diego Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo, and Toledo Zoo! Set on 42 acres, it houses over 2,200 animals and serves over 500,000 visitors each year. It is divided into regions: Central Zoo, Indonesian Rainforest, and the Australian Adventure. Kids love the world's only endangered species carousel. I personally enjoy Australia After Dark with the bat exhibit and the humid Indonesian Rainforest Dome. Don't miss the new Jellyfish, Rays, and Sharks exhibit! It's amazing! New in 2007 is the Sky Safari Ride. On this ride you can get a bird's eye view of the new construction on African Journey. During the months that school is in session (opening until early June and late August through closing), try to go to the zoo on a weekday around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. School groups usually clear out by or shortly after 2 and you will feel like you have the place to yourself!! While the gates close at 5, visitors are allowed to stay on the grounds until 6, although all buildings close at 5:30. If you can't go then, try Sunday morning when the zoo opens! The zoo always opens at 9 and most people on Sundays don't start coming in until noon. The zoo, now closed for the season, will open for the 2007 season on April 21st. It is open 9am-5pm everyday, including holidays. Admission: Adults $8.00, Children (2-14) $5.00, Seniors (60 and over) $7.00, and children under 2 free.
NOTE: The African Savannah section of the zoo is closed for complete $10.5 million renovations. The new African area, dubbed African Journey, is set to open by 2009 and will feature completely new exhibits and animals. The original African village with giraffes, leopards, and monkeys is still open.
Northeast Indiana's only Independent moviehouse. This theatre showcases independent films, foreign films, documentaries, and classic films, all the stuff you can't see at your typical neighborhood mutliplex and is the only place in northeast Indiana you can see these films. Located just east of downtown Fort Wayne on Berry St. Call 260-426-FILM anytime for show and times or visit the website.