As all Fort Wayne locals know, winter can be a long and drawn-out affair. But that doesn't mean that you have to be stuck inside, longing for the first signs of spring! Our city is built for outdoor fun-no matter the season. You can go ice-skating at Headerwaters Park, sledding at one our great city parks or cross country skiing at Fox Island.
Fox Island (image credit: Fort Wayne News-Sentinel)
If you're a local or a visitor and you're looking for some not so well-known spots, I have two great suggestions:
1. Ivan Lebamoff Reservoir Park - 2300 South Clinton St.
Located just southeast of downtown Fort Wayne is one of the best kept secrets around- a hidden-in-plain-sight treasure that it seems only the surrounding neighborhood kids have been lucky enough to find. Its official name is Ivan Lebamoff Reservoir Park, but the local kids (and adults!) know it simply as the Reservoir. Its real claims-to-fame are the gigantic reservoir itself and the towering "mountain" on the southeast side of the 13-acre park. OK, so it's not a "true" mountain when compared to others, but it is certainly taller than a hill and it takes quite a hike to reach the top. Once you're up there, though, it truly is something else. You can see all of downtown and a good bit of the surrounding areas in all directions. I believe that the dense tree cover is the reason most people can drive by this side of the park every day and not even look twice.
What's so great about a so-called mountain, you might ask. I'll tell you. The sledding, of course! There are about four or five sledding lanes that run down the sides, and all of the local kids can tell you which ones are faster, slower or bumpier. The most popular one (The Big One) is on the southwest side. You can climb up to the first, second or third level (very top) and sled down, depending on your adventure level! And just for the sake of full disclosure, this mom is a second-level thrill seeker.
The Big One
2. "The Hill" at the Summit - 1025 West Rudisill Blvd.
From downtown, drive south on Harrison Street and hang a right on Rudisill. Just a bit more and you'll see The Summit on the left, where the old Taylor University used to be. Hidden behind this landmark is what the area locals, especially those from the Historic Southwood Park neighborhood, refer to as the Hill.
On any given winter weekend or snow day, kids from all around the neighborhood can be seen bundled up and dragging their sleds to the Hill. What is it, exactly? It's a 25 to 30-foot embankment that spills sledders out onto the Summit's soccer field. Sounds fun, right?
"It's the great Southwood Park winter pastime!" says neighborhood resident Erika Stuller.
Another nearby resident, Susan Stahl, chimes in "The snow plows pile the snow up in that corner, which makes the Hill even better!"
Where are your go-to spots for outdoor winter fun in the Fort?