But wait, there’s more! More to Fort Wayne, that is… As shared earlier in “The best of business and play in Fort Wayne, Indiana, part I”, Fort Wayne is a great, All-American city. Not too big, and not too small, but just right for those seeking a place with a metropolitan area that is large enough to have fortified businesses, nice amenities, great attractions, phenomenal dining and pep in its pace, but small enough to feel part of a community.
Fort Wayne, Part II
Museums and Attractions
The city of Fort Wayne has an impressive cultural scene that includes traditional and historic art forms, fine art, contemporary art, and the performing arts.
With a rich mission, “Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne is an organization deeply passionate for the success of art and culture. At our very core, we believe our music, dance, fine art, theatre, cinema, museums, historical sites, architecture, artful public spaces and more are worth supporting because they enhance Northeast Indiana’s prosperity and quality of life”, the Greater Fort Wayne area is in no shortage of performances, exhibits and venues that promote the arts. http://www.artsunited.org/the-arts-campus/
• Fort Wayne Museum of Art-permanent and temporary exhibitions of American fine and decorative art, including exhibitions exploring the cross-cultural connections between artwork and artists from diverse ethnic and national backgrounds. They also have a lending library with over 8,000 art and culture volumes and periodicals for public use, the Paradigm Gallery shop, a hands-on learning environment for young children, and a Print and Drawing Study. http://www.fwmoa.org/
• Auer Center for Arts & Culture/Artlink gallery-across the street from the centerpiece of the campus, the Arts United Center, this building houses arts and cultural organizations, galleries and studios. Also the home of Fort Wayne Ballet.
Arts Campus also includes:
• Hall Community Arts Center
• History Center
• Barr Street Market
• Freimann Square
• The Rankin House
• ArtsTix Community Box Office
Science Central-Bright and colorful, this interactive science center encourages both learning and play with innovative and creative hands and body-on activities, exhibits and presentations. Housed in the old City Light and Power building, this center is thriving. It is an ingenious use of space. Whether it’s science, technology, math or engineering, Science Central has created programs that appeal to children of all ages.
Science Central is good old plain fun! As an adult, I probably enjoyed myself as much as the children there. For fear of embarrassment, I didn’t let loose like I wanted to, but I got in as much activity as I could without drawing too much attention. I went where few other adults have probably gone…the high rail bike. It’s exhilarating, after you get over the initial fear. Everyone must at least attempt this activity while visiting Science Central.
Coming soon to Science Central…Science on a Sphere- brand new exhibit gallery featuring a three-dimensional, six-foot diameter sphere of the Earth. The sphere appears to be floating in mid-air, and even rotating on its axis! http://sciencecentral.org/
Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
I can say with certainty how Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo has gotten the title of the “Nation’s Best Children’s Zoo.” It is an experience that literally gets down to a kid’s level. Children are able to participate in exploring the replicated habitats of the animals, because the zoo was designed by keeping a child’s perspective and stature in mind. Displays and exhibits are at children’s eye-level; and they can get as up close and personal as possible in order to maximum their experience while visiting the zoo.
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo (http://kidszoo.org/) has designed various exhibits for little explorers and their families:
• African Journey-Travel down the Safari Trail and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the African continent. The highlight of the 20-acre exhibit is Bill the lion. Though he might not express any enthusiasm about coming face-to-face with you, at least he thinks enough of you to come down occasionally from his mountaintop to grace you with his presence (true story).
• Australian Adventure-Head to the “Land Down Under” and explore displays that include numerous life forms indigenous to Australia like the kangaroo and wombat, as well as the simulated Great Barrier Reef and shark aquariums. and wrap up with the river ride.
• Central Zoo-You’ll encounter amazing animals, thrilling rides, and make memories with your family. In addition to the general animal habitats, there are fun activities like the miniature train ride and splash ponds and spraygrounds for the children.
• Indonesian Rain Forest-Experience jungle life as you trek through the tropics of Indonesia. Encounter the orangutans, see the variety of reptiles, and enter the domed jungle where you will discover colorful birds, turtles, and frogs enjoying their tropical paradise — complete with a waterfall.
Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
The 3 indoor gardens cover over 25,000 square feet and showcase 1,200 plants (over 500 species) and 72 different types of cacti.
• Showcase Garden ~ features four changing seasonal exhibits every year, plus permanent plants.
• Tropical Garden ~ features a waterfall, goldfish, palms, and tropical species.
• Desert Garden~ replicates the desert environment of the Southeast.
Stroll through 4 outdoor gardens featuring a variety of ornamental grasses, rhododendrons, trees, shrubs and perennials.
Events at the Botanical Conservatory:
• Butterflies with an African Beat, April 13-July 7, annual live butterfly exhibit returns, with specimens from tropical Africa, and bringing with it the music of Africa!
• Botanical Roots 2013 concert Series on Fridays, July 26, August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30. Six concerts with nationally touring artists feature zydeco, blues, reggae and more, with local bands opening. Concerts will be held outdoors in the Terrace Garden, rain or shine. More details online. For more details, call (260) 427-6440 or visit http://www.botanicalconservatory.org/
Fort Wayne is home to some great cuisine, whether hole-in-the-wall food joints to fine-dining, your palate is destined to be pleased. Hey, it is the Midwest, after all; and hearty, rich, comfort food is the specialty here.
Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island dogs-Ahhh, the legendary Coney Island dog or “dawg” as I like to say it. Don’t have any expectations other than good food at cheap prices. No frills, no fries, but good service and the traditional grilled hotdogs nestled in steamed buns with a variety of toppings—raw and grilled onions, chili, and cheese. Three woofs for a gut-bustin’ time at Coney Island dogs! Coney Island, 131 West Main Street, Fort Wayne IN, (219) 424-2997.
Baker Street Restaurant—Hip and trendy, world-class traditional and specialty dining. Great for business lunches, romantic dinners, rehearsal suppers, or just catching up with a friend. Delectable food, fine waitstaff, and great ambiance. Amenities that include a patio, bar, banquet and private dining. An extensive selection of the choicest wines and craft micro-brewery choices by the bottle, and on draft. Private and party spaces that can accommodate 20-60 guests. http://www.bakerstreetfortwayne.com/
Club Soda– This is the place to be for movers and shakers in Fort Wayne. Throw back supper club vibe. Hot spot for great steaks, cocktails and cool jazz. So smooth you’ll be giving folks the wink-and-the-gun and asking “Who loves ya babe?” http://clubsodafortwayne.com/
Tincaps baseball – A place for great ball, awesome food, and a well-designed park environment that has something for everyone. The “TinCaps” moniker is a reference to pioneer Johnny Appleseed, who was known for wearing his tin cooking pot upon his head. http://fortwayne.tincaps.milb.com
Other teams to check out in Fort Wayne:
• The Mad Ants basketball– http://www.nba.com/dleague/fortwayne/
• The Komets hockey– http://www.komets.com/
For more information about Fort Wayne:
Visit Fort Wayne Center
927 South Harrison Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Local (260) 424-3700 or Toll-free (800) 767-7752
Many thanks to the Visit Fort Wayne CVB team, Kristen Guthrie, Director of Marketing for Visit Fort Wayne, and the fine establishments featured in this article.