Headwaters Park encompasses the area in what is called "the thumb." It is a bend in the St. Mary River where the river curves north before making a big U and heading south. The park is located just north of downtown Fort Wayne. Clinton Street splits the park in two but an underpass along the river and pedestrian traffic light allow for easy crossing. Plenty of paved walking paths are provided here. Stroll along what I call Momument Circle (my tribute to downtown Indianapolis), a paved trail lined with monuments and plaques telling about the history of Fort Wayne and the surrounding area. The trail starts and ends at the fountain and passes by a statue of Cheif Little Turtle. The most popular activity is for families to come out on a hot summer day and play in the fountain! The views of the Fort Wayne skyline are excellent! This is also where the huge Three Rivers Festival is held for 10-days every year in July. Fort Wayne is a party town and almost every weekend in summer there is a festival going on. Your best bet for finding them is at Headwaters park. During the winter months, enjoy the covered outdoor ice skating rink. So don your skates and head downtown! Well, maybe you should wait until you get there to put them on.
If you're out and about in downtown Fort Wayne, why not expore the Fort Wayne Museum of Art? Located on Main Street next to Freimann Square, the museum houses over 1300 pieces and often features travelling exhibits, lectures, workshops, and of course a gift store. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday Noon-5pm. It is closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students grades K-College and $10 for families.
This conservatory stakes its claim as one of the best in the midwest. It's gardens are divided into three seperate "houses", the Showcase House with season displays, the Tropical House with orchids and palms and the sound of a rushing waterfall, and the Sonoran Desert House. The conservatory is open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 12-4pm. Closed Labor Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children 3-17 and free for children under 3.
The Greenway is a great way to see Ft Wayne. The Trail runs along the banks of the St. Mary’s, St. Joseph and the Maumee Rivers and crosses numerous bridges and passes by the old fort thats in the middle of Fort Wayne.
A good starting point is Johnny Appleseed Park.
The Greenway has a web site with additional information concerning points of interest, distance of each loop and has a downloadable map. There is no cost.
Takes place the 3rd weekend in September. Since there is a website with a lot of information, I recommend checking it out instead of me trying to add all that info here (and not doing a good job in the process).
In the making since the 1970s, the Rivergreenway is a paved multi-purpose path linking many of the large parks in the city and runs along the three rivers that flow through town. Stretching a total of 15 miles, the greenway is perfect for jogging, walking, or bike riding. The trail is safe and beautiful for the most part, but it has it's share of problems. Being a publicly funded trail, anyone has access and transients and other unmentionables have become common place, especially after dark and on the part of the trail west of downtown. This isn't limited to just the Rivergreenway but most of the public parks in Fort Wayne. The city recently announced new funds that will go to upgrading and expanding the Rivergreenway. The greenway basically follows the three rivers through town. See the website for maps.
Only for history buffs. This building is a working office building so they don't give tours or anything. The Lincoln Tower was believe it or not, Indiana's first skyscraper! That's right, Fort Wayne had skyscrapers even before Indianapolis did! Once or twice a year the outdoor observation platform at the top of the tower is open for tours, usually during the Be a Tourist in Your Hometown day, which is in September, and occasionally during the Three Rivers Festival. Otherwise, security usually keeps you out if you aren't a Tower Bank customer. If you can get in, it's a beautiful building.
The Historic Fort Wayne is a recreation of the original fort that the city was named after. The replica is the current center of contraversy in the city. The funds aren't there to maintain it and vandals have taken their toll. It lost a lot of authenticity when the surrounding wood fence was dismantled to keep a better eye on vandals. It's rarely open except on special occasions a few times a year. It used to be open all the time for school groups to come through and employees would dress in period costumes and tell stories about how life was at the fort. There is a group currently working to collect funds and update the fort. The fort is best accessed by a short paved trail from Lawton Park or across the pedestrian bridge over the St. Mary River from Headwaters Park.
NOTE: An electrical fire during the night of July 11, 2004 left extensive water and smoke damage in one of the buildings. It is unknown when, or even if, the damage will ever be repaired. This picture was taken on May 29, 2005. Almost a year later, no damage has been repaired.
Science Central dubs itself Northeast Indiana's Premier Hands-On Science Center. It is just that, a science museum for kids with a ton of hands-on exhibits. Here you can create your own earthquake, walk like an astronaut (weighing next to nothing), or make a tornado! Winter hours (Sept-May) are Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sundays 12-5pm, closed Mondays except holidays and during Christmas break and spring break. Summer hours (June-August) are Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 12-5pm. They list their admission price as $5 for kids 3-12, $6 for kids 13-64, $5.50 for kids 65 and older, and kids under 3 are free. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Easter. Check the website for more details.
Plenty to do at Jefferson Pointe. There are plenty of things to do whether it's to paint something & glaze, see a movie, eat fast food, casual fare, or fine dining.
Also plenty of things to do around there. Super Wal Mart is close by also.
I'm not into skateboarding, but I know many people are so I figured I'd add this in as well. If you love to skateboard, head downtown to the new skatepark. It's located just north of the St. Mary's River along Clinton St. in Lawton Park. The park offers many ramps and even rails to skate on. I know absolutely no skating lingo so forgive me! On the side opposite the street, there are several bleachers for friends and family that don't skate to sit and watch, or for those just curious that want to observe. Admission is free. I'm not sure what the hours are, though.
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Fort Wayne is a classic example of Gothic architecture and the stained glass windows are said to be the "finest of their kind in the Western Hemisphere"! This enormous Roman Catholic church houses the Cathedral Museum which showcases religious artifacts dating back to the mid-13th century. In an interesting note, the Cathedral is built on an old Indian burial ground. The church got permission from the Indians to move the graves to a special section of Catholic Cemetery in Fort Wayne. The Indians were happy to give over the land, thanksful for a church instead of a gas station or office building. The church is open to explore 7am-4pm daily except during Mass. Check with the church for Mass times. The museum is open Wednesday-Friday 10am-2pm and the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month Noon-3pm.
Freimann Square is a small park in the middle of downtown Fort Wayne. The center piece is a large fountain and in one corner is a statue of the famous General "Mad" Anthony Wayne, who the city is named after. For art lovers, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art borders the park on the east side. Look for a plaque on the walkway between the park and the performing arts center. The plaque marks the old intersection of Barr and Columbia Streets, the place where the city of Fort Wayne got its official start.
Fox Island County Park is the largest forested area remaining in Allen County. Located on the southwest side of Fort Wayne, it is bordered by the interstate on one side and railroad tracks on another. It's also close enough to the airport that jets with their landing gear down cruise low enough overhead you'll swear you can see the people inside. All of this will remind you that you're still in civilization (notice the nearby train in the picture), but it's still secluded enough that you can enjoy peace and quiet close to life in the big city. Several miles of hiking trails wander through the woods. There are picnic spots and swimming beaches, cross country skiing and bird watching. Fox Island is often considered Fort Wayne's best kept secret. To get to Fox Island, take I-69 to exit 102. Head west on U.S. 24 (Jefferson Blvd.) and turn left at the second stoplight (just past the Wendys) Follow that road past the stores and hotels, over the railroad tracks, across the interstate and eventually Fox Island County Park will appear on the left side of the road. Admission is $2 per person (NOTE: Possibly more with out-of-county liscense plates) and is often done on the honor system. I'm really curious how many people actually fill out the envelope and pay. The park is open 9AM-6PM October 1-April 30 and 9AM-8PM May 1-September 30. It's closed on Mondays. It occasionally opens early and sometimes stays open late during celestial events at the observatory.
Chief Little Turtle was the leader of the Miami people who lived in the area that is now Fort Wayne. Once a thorn in the side to the Americans, he became a friend and advocate of peace so his people and the Americans could live together. He eventually met George Washington in Philadelphia in 1797. He was born in 1752 and died in 1812 in Fort Wayne.
His burial site was not known until 1911, when a house being built on the site uncovered the remains of the Chief. A plaque was immediately laid to mark the spot, and it became a public park in 1960.