Fox Island, 7324 Yohne Rd., is in the southwest part of the Fort Wayne area. With hundreds of acres of land and a State Nature Preserve, Fox Island has lots of space for exploring. According to park and education manager Ron Zartman, there are many programs that take place both outdoors and inside.
On February 2, there will be a waterless wetland walk that takes visitors off the trails and through land that is usually soggy in warmer months. That same evening, Fox Island will be holding a “Coyote Howl,” which will educate attendees about the doglike coyote. The evening will conclude with a trek outside to try howling at the coyotes, to see if they howl back.
Fox Island is also home to a variety of children’s programs, such as the Preschool Discovery Hour. Although entire classes of children can be brought in from local schools, the programs also welcome kids and their families who drop by or call ahead. If a program event happens to be full on one day, Zartman explained that the staff would be happy to organize another event at a different time for interested visitors.
Tai Chi classes will also be offered on Wednesday evenings from February 19 – April 9. Guests can sign up for the entire series of classes, or drop by on a less frequent basis for some indoor exercise led by Sandy Gebhard. Drop in guests are charged $8 per session; signing up for the whole course is $50.
Metea County Park, 8401 Union Chapel Rd., is in the north central area of Fort Wayne. While this park is somewhat smaller than Fox Island, Metea has cross country skiing and sledding open to visitors. The sledding hill leads past the parking lot, so it is a safe place to enjoy some slippery fun!
A skiing clinic will be held at Metea on February 8 to help people who want to learn more about cross-country skiing. According to Bob Dispenza, the Metea Park education manager, the workshop will be held even if there isn’t enough snow. Visitors who have attended the clinic will be given a voucher, so that they can come back to ski when there is more snow on the ground.
Both Metea and Fox Island will rent ski equipment – boots, skis, and poles. However, each park has to have at least four inches of snow on the ground before they will let guests work the trails. If you check out the Metea and Fox Island websites, you can find information on whether the skiing and sledding venues are open (scroll to the bottom of the page for the latest information).
Because Fort Wayne has been fairly cold this winter, visitors to the parks are encouraged to dress warmly. Bob Dispenza suggest that it’s best to wear layers, instead of just one thick coat. For good skiing, he suggests that you put on a sweater, a jacket and a shell “so you can take a little bit off” if you get overheated while outside. Wearing gloves inside of mittens is also a good move, since it will keep the heat from your body trapped within the layers. Wear a snow suit if you plan to go sledding. Wear two pairs of socks – preferably wool – and make sure you wear a hat.
To get more information about hours, admission prices and activities available at Fox Island and Metea County Parks, click over to the Allen County Parks website.