Tour Like An Insider: Don’t Leave Town Without…

We asked our bloggers about the inside scoop on activities and places you can’t leave Fort Wayne without trying or visiting.  Here’s what they had to share:

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Lakes in Fort Wayne

If you’ve never made it to one of Northeast Indiana’s lakes, you’re missing out. Find a friend and enjoy the water. You won’t regret it! –Heather Schoegler

Visiting the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo always puts our family in a good mood! –Kayleen Reusser

Don’t leave town without visiting the Botanical Conservatory downtown. With each season there’s something new to discover. —Amber Recker

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Visitors at the Allen County Public Library

If you have a few hours, or days to kill, make time for the The Genealogy Center. This place boasts 332,000 printed volumes and 362,000 records of archival nature on microfilm and microfiche. These stats make the Genealogy Center at Allen County Public Library the largest collection of genealogy and local history materials in a public library in the US. It is the second largest collection of its kind in North America. – Lauren Caggiano

Don’t leave town without visiting the restaurants and bars on Wayne and Calhoun streets downtown. Whether you like pizza, pub food, or some authentic Irish fare, there’s something for everyone.—Amber Recker

Molly Zweig


Molly Zweig is a student at Indiana University Bloomington majoring in International Studies, Spanish, and Portuguese. She’s happy to be back in her hometown for the summer as the Marketing Intern at Visit Fort Wayne. Molly enjoys spending time with her friends and family, cooking, and traveling.

Learn About Your Family History at the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ 2013 Conference

If you’ve ever stopped and wondered where your family came from, wonder no more! From August 21-24 family historians and genealogists from around the world will gather at the Grand Wayne Center for the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference  to learn, research, collaborate and experience the area.

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Over 70 vendors and genealogical societies will be on hand at the FGS conference!

Not a member of FGS? No problem! The public is welcome to visit the free exhibit hall, featuring more than 70 vendors and genealogy societies. Genealogy companies will highlight the latest software, books, databases and gadgets to help FGS conference attendees find their families, and tell their stories. There will also be genealogical and historical societies from all across the country on hand in the exhibit hall to show what they have to offer.

If you are interested in attending any of the 160-plus lectures, banquets, social events and research consultations being offered throughout the conference, you can register on the FGS Conference website to make sure that there is plenty of space for anyone interested. Even if you have a tight schedule, the FGS conference is worth checking out! There are single-day registrations available to fit your needs.

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The FGS conference will take place from August 21-24.

If you have never attempted to trace your history, don’t fret. There are plenty of opportunities for beginners to get involved. Beginners can learn about scanning; African American, Polish or German research; how to manage a local society;  how to write-up the results of their work – and much more! There are also workshops for more advanced topics including technology and methodology. If you’re not sure what presentation your skill level may fit into, each presentation is identified by its appeal for beginning, intermediate, or advanced genealogists. Several of the speakers are from The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library, which is considered to be one of the premier US research sits for genealogy.

If you are interested in learning more about the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, you can find frequent updates at the FGS conference blog.



Katie Robinson joined the Visit Fort Wayne staff in March 2013 as a Marketing Assistant. She recently graduated from Ball State University with a degree in public relations. Katie is a Fort Wayne native and enjoys exploring the city when she can. She is a coffee junkie and is often found with her coffee cup in hand. She enjoys baking, and is especially fond of cupcakes. In her spare time Katie enjoys shopping, curling up with a good book, spending time with friends and family, relaxing with her husband Joseph, and playing with their adorable Shih Tzu, Gidget.

Beat the heat with Fort Wayne’s indoor activities

The thermostat says 90 degrees. Spending any significant amount of time outside is such heat doesn’t sound like much fun. What to do? Luckily, for you, Fort Wayne offers many activities and attractions to beat the heat, and kill boredom to boot. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Get artsy: Wine and Canvas is a mobile business that brings the party to your favorite venues, corporate events or living room! they even have a local studio, now open in Covington Plaza! And of course, wine is a part of the experience and creative process. Artists instruct customers with step-by-step instructions through re-creating the featured painting of the day. At the end of the event you get to take home a work of art that you’ve created! The price is $35. Make sure to check their calendar for venue details. Bisque It Pottery Painting Studio is another great way to channel your inner artist. From vases to figures to piggy banks, they have it all! Items range from functional to just plain fun. The studio fee is $5 for the first piece and$3 for each additional one. (The studio fee is in addition to the price of the piece of pottery.)  Be sure to check out their various classes. Note: The piece can take seven to ten days to be fired, depending on the current demand. You might need to make arrangements for pick-up. Artlink offers various classes and workshops for children and adults.  The workshops have various skill levels from novice to advanced.  Figure drawing sessions with nude model are offered Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:30-9:30 pm. The sessions are open to all serious artists over 18 for a nominal fee of $3 an hour. Visit their classes & workshop page to learn more.
  • Get down: Are you an aspiring musician? The Sweetwater Academy of Music is the go-to for music instruction.So, what can visitors expect? They offer “a complete musical learning experience.” That means lessons and classes for guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, voice, and recording. Whether you’re just starting out or taking your skills to the next level, staff can match you with the right instructor for your playing style, personality, and creative goals.
  • Get some exercise: Kids have a lot of energy to burn off. Why not take them to a place where they can let loose  Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park is huge arena is filled with a variety of walled trampoline courts.

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    Dive deep into your family history today at the Downtown Library!

  • Get educated: The Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center is the largest public genealogy collection in the country and boasts a collection of more than 350,000 printed volumes and 513,000 items of microfilm and microfiche. Visitors to the department also have access to major online databases that can be costly to individuals. Family records can literally be at your fingertips in a matter of minutes! Why no discover your roots today?


Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website:

Downtown Parking Made Easy

Parking options in downtown Fort Wayne can be elusive, even for residents. Those visiting the city likely find it equally as perplexing. The good news is it’s not that complicated. The city offers several lots, garages, and metered parking, which makes it convenient for guests. This handy parking map provides a list of convenient parking facilities, and their pricing.

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You might be curious about the best parking for your destination. We’ve made it easy for you!

Embassy: For evening performances, free parking is available at all downtown metered parking spaces. Paid parking is available at the Civic Center Parking Garage ($2 after 5 p.m.) off of Jefferson Blvd. and Calhoun St. and the Harrison Square Parking Garage ($4 after 5 p.m. for events) on Harrison and Douglas. Fifteen minute parking meters are located on Harrison Street for patrons purchasing tickets at the Embassy box office.

Grand Wayne Convention Center: The facility is attached to Hilton Hotel. Parking Garage level 3 connects by skywalk to Hotel and Grand Wayne Center level 2.

TinCaps:  If you’re arriving at Parkview Field by car, there are many different parking options. And for the most part, pricing depends on how far you want to walk. Directly across from the pavilion in front of the stadium, you’ll see the Silver Lot. Entering here is a no-no unless you have a season’s parking pass, but don’t get discouraged. If you’re next to the Silver Lot with your left side to Parkview Field, there are two team-run lots just seconds away. The first, which butts up against the Silver Lot, is the Green Lot, where parking is $4. One short block further, the Red Lot also charges $4.

But if you’re looking to save a buck, there’s a large city lot on the south side of West Baker Street, on the non-ballpark-side of the Silver, Green and Red lots. Parking here is $3, and it’s only a street width further away from the stadium gates.

If you’re insistent upon parking right up close, or perhaps if you’re staying in the Courtyard hotel a stone’s throw beyond the outfield fence, the Harrison Square Garage is at the corner of Harrison and Douglas streets, at the east end of the Parkview Field complex. Barring that, a number of $3 city lots can be found within five minutes’ walk of the stadium.

Allen County Main Library:   The downtown library is a draw due to its genealogy department. If you do not have a library card parking will cost $1/hour with a maximum charge of $7 for the day. Parking tickets must be taken inside the main library for validation and or payment.

Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory: Free parking is provided in the Civic Center Parking Garage with paid garden admission. Bring your ticket for validation at the front desk.  The Civic Center Garage is located northeast of the Conservatory, across the intersection of Jefferson and Calhoun Streets–enter from Clinton, Calhoun, or Jefferson.  Metered parking is available on nearby streets; meters are free on weekends and evenings.  Handicapped accessible spaces, bus parking, and passenger drop-off are available in the circle driveway located off Calhoun Street.  Please call in advance to arrange for bus parking at 260-427-6440.  

If you prefer metered parking, you’ll likely find many options. Street parking is typically .50/hour, and free after 5 pm weekdays and on weekends. At 50 cents an hour, Fort Wayne’s parking rate remains lower than other similar-sized cities, such as Toledo, Cleveland, Grand Rapids, and Lansing. Most of those cities charge 75 cents to $1 an hour for downtown metered parking.


Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website:

Journey through Generations at FGS 2013

By Tina Lyons, FGS 2013 Publicity Chair

Genealogists love visiting Fort Wayne. The Allen County Public Library’s Genealogy Center is home to the second largest genealogy collection in the United States. A trip to Fort Wayne can help genealogists find their ancestors in Indiana, across the United States and even in other countries.

Genealogists from around the United States (and beyond) will descend on Fort Wayne August 21-24 for the 2013 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference. Registrants will attend lectures by the nation’s leading family history experts, socialize during luncheons and special evening events, and research their family roots at ACPL.

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Most of the conference lecture sessions will be at the Grand Wayne Center. The FGS Opening Social will be at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory on Wednesday, August 21. On Friday, August 23, ACPL and the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana will host “Journey through the Generations with Our Veterans” at the library. ACPL will also be offering extended research hours at The Genealogy Center throughout the conference.

Nationally-known speakers will present more than 160 lectures on a wide range of family history topics during the conference’s four days. Conference tracks include genetics, technology, online resources, migration, Midwest research, African American genealogy, European research and military records. Whether you are just beginning to research your family or have been researching for decades, you are sure to learn something new.

The exhibit hall at the Grand Wayne Center is free and open to the public. It will feature genealogy companies highlighting the latest software, books, databases and gadgets to help attendees find their families and tell their families’ stories. Genealogical and historical societies from across the country will also be in the exhibit hall to show what they have to offer.

Stop by the FGS Conference website to learn more. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @FGSconference. We hope to see you in Fort Wayne in August!



Kristen Guthrie is the Marketing Manager at Visit Fort Wayne, where she has the pleasure of sharing Fort Wayne with our potential visitors! She loves exploring downtown and taking her 5-year old son to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, where he knows more about the animals than she ever will!