Disclosure: We were hosted by the team at Visit Fort Wayne, but all opinions expressed are my own!
You guys probably know by now how much I love Indiana! We lived there for five years, and I say all the time what an underestimated state it is. I love the four seasons, the outdoor activities, and the affordability. I also find that flying into Indianapolis or driving to whatever city in Indiana is very manageable and very affordable. So, naturally when the opportunity to visit a new city in Indiana presented itself I said “yes!”
Okay, and I had an extra incentive to visit! My bestie, Mrs. Bishop, was visiting as well. So, I couldn’t wait to catch up with her and explore the city with our three boys in tow. Did we have too much fun with the photo props? Yes. Yes, we did.
Our first stop was the Ft. Wayne Children’s Zoo– I didn’t really understand why it was called the children’s zoo until visiting. We have visited many zoos in many states and I can absolutely tell you this is one of the most interactive we’ve been to.
It was spacious and open, yet the animals seemed to feel so close.
Also, around each corner of the zoo it almost felt like there was an activity or hands on something for the kids to do.
They really held the kid’s attention by keeping them engaged with tangible things.
For a zoo to also provide space to be creative and imagination, it was a really wonderful combination. This was easily the longest we’ve stayed at a zoo!
You can even feed a giraffe there! This was an extra expense, so we didn’t, but look how close we still managed to get! The extra expense opportunity the boys chose was the pony/horse rides. I had no idea they were interested in riding horses, so we will definitely be keeping an eye out for some horseback riding lessons. They loved this!
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone whose been following us for a while that my boys were most excited for the sea animals area!
After visiting Sting Ray bay, we went right next door for lunch at Ray’s.
I have to shout this place out here, because usually ZOOD (zoo food, just made that up but feel good about it…) isn’t awesome. The food was amazing! I got a buffalo chicken wrap, and it was so delicious. Not to mention, the kids’ meals were an excellent value for all they got.
I snapped a photo of their menu for you guys so you could plan ahead:
Here’s a photo of penguins, because they’re cute.
After the zoo, we had some time to explore freely on our own. So, of course we went to the library! I didn’t get any photos, but the library itself is huge. Filled with activities for the kids to do and there’s even a dunkin’ donuts attached. It was sacrificial on my part, but we also went over to DeBrand Fine chocolates. This place was so good you guys. You’ve got to get a piece of their candy while you’re in the area! This was a very frugal way to treat yo’ self. We rested a bit in our hotel before heading out for dinner, where we had the opportunity to hear all about the new Promenade Park coming to the riverside there. I wasn’t allowed to do photos or video during the tour, but man.. this place is going to be a really special place to come to as a family every year. Head to their website and learn about the unique events they have scheduled for the opening of the park. Be on the look out for that!
That night, we had the opportunity to visit our first ever TinCaps baseball game! Tickets are frugal, but learn from our mistake and pack snacks or eat a lot before hand. Did I need a wine slushee? Okay no, but it was worth it.
I did find food costs added up quickly, but if you plan ahead it would an excellent affordable activity for the whole family! I couldn’t believe how into baseball Sawyer was. Liam was most impressed with the peanuts, ha!
One important thing ya’ll need to know- I had the most amazing hot dog of my life in Ft Wayne, Indiana. Ft Wayne’s World Famous Coney Island is a must visit. Very affordable, and very delicious. I should have guessed it would be when I pulled into the parking lot, and it was packed completely out. I want to also mention they have glass bottles of Coke, which my kids were impressed with! It cost us less than 10.00 for lunch!
We try to visit local favorites when we travel, and the Farmer’s Market never disappoints. I love to support small businesses and local farmers, so naturally we went to the Ft. Wayne Farmer’s Market for breakfast on Saturday! Here’s the thing though.. this farmer’s market was absolutely remarkable. It was huge! So many amazing vendors, farmers, food trucks, and slushies for 2.00!
Another fun thing about Ft. Wayne? It’s where the Vera Bradley headquarters is located. I loveeeee Vera Bradley, so I was so excited to see this adorable backpack in my hotel room.
After spending two hours at the Farmer’s Market, we tackled both the Science Central and Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. Both of these places were wonderful, Science Central was filled to the brim with educational and fun things for all of us to do!
They even have a giant slide, visiting exhibits, and an area to build a car. Tickets were extremely affordable, and there’s an area to bring in a packed lunch to eat.
Personally, I’d recommend going to Fort Wayne’s Coney Island for lunch, but I’m very biased.
Another great thing to note about Science Central, they have a special area for kids 7 and under. This area has a place for nursing mothers, where you can see your kids while they play from the nook.
I love areas like this, because I had two kids under two and it was also so stressful to nurse one and entertain the other. So, if you’re visiting with toddlers and babies. Know that Science Central has your back!
The Conservatory was stunning, I loved the butterfly exhibit.
It was just hot so we didn’t stay long. My kids were most impressed with the Koi, ha! I’m going to be sharing a little more about Fort Wayne in a couple weeks when the park opens up, and I can share a little more about that. Stay tuned!