Fort Wayne is home to The Genealogy Center, the nation's second-largest genealogy center, housed in the downtown branch of the Allen County Public Library. While the library attracts many budding researchers, other family members along for the trip may not be as interested in the family tree. But there is good news! Fort Wayne is home to several affordable attractions and activities within walking distance of The Genealogy Center. Be sure to also check if any museums offer reciprocity with museum memberships in your hometown.
Museums and Attractions
1. The closest museum to the library is the Fort Wayne Firefighter's Museum, home to information and exhibitions about Fort Wayne's fire department. The museum is located in the historic Engine House No. 3, which served as a city fire station until the 1970s.
2. For some nature, stop by the Botanical Conservatory to be transported to the gardens of the world while still staying in downtown Fort Wayne. Permanent gardens include the Tropical and Desert Gardens, and the Showcase Garden features four different exhibitions throughout the year.
3. Art lovers should be sure to stop at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art to see American and other art from the 1800s to the present. After you finish at the art museum, cross the street and stop by Artlink, a gallery full of local art and unique pieces.
4. Another great location to stop by is Science Central, an attraction full of hands-on fun and learning. Test your imagination (and the rules of gravity!) in a hands-on laboratory at Science Central. With more than 200 exhibits, Science Central is an attraction full of hands-on fun and learning perfect for the whole family.
Plan a Visit During a Special Event
Plan your visit around one of Fort Wayne's many events and summer festivals, which kick off in June with Arab Fest, Germanfest, and Greekfest. Plus, be sure to catch a TinCaps baseball game at Parkview Field. Consistently rated as the #1 Minor League Ballpark Experience, a TinCaps game is the perfect end to a day of research!
Take an ARCH or Heritage Trail walking tour. Explore downtown and areas nearby led by professional tour guides to learn about the history and architecture of Fort Wayne. Call ahead to make a reservation. Or explore the history of Fort Wayne on your own, with the Allen County Historic Sites trail where you can listen to the stories of the area's historic stories at 75 locations with this free mobile pass.
Another great historic location is the Allen County Courthouse. The Courthouse has self-guided or docent-led tours; contact the Courthouse directly to schedule.
While strolling downtown, you may also enjoy stopping for a selfie at one of our many murals or pieces of public art.
For more history, stop by The History Center, located in Fort Wayne's City Hall building, constructed in 1893.
Lastly, don't forget to leave time to visit the Old Fort, a replica of the 1815 fort built by Major John Whistler. The Old Fort grounds are open to visitors every day.
Downtown Fort Wayne is home to a great art scene with performances all year round. Before you get to Fort Wayne, check our online calendar to see what concerts, shows, and other events are taking place. Stop by the Embassy Theatre for famous musicals, and concerts, or to hear the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Over on the Fort Wayne Arts Campus, you can catch a show performed by the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, Fort Wayne Ballet, or Fort Wayne Dance Collective. More community theater is available at the First Presbyterian Theater.
There are plenty of ways to be active in Fort Wayne. Rent a bike or kayak from Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot. Walk or bike on the Rivergreenway or Fort Wayne Trails-you can get trail maps at the Visitors Center. Stop by Headwaters Park to stroll or play in the splash pad (don't forget your swimsuit), see the flowers at Freimann Square, or experience Promenade Park at Riverfront Fort Wayne.
Bring your appetite to Fort Wayne! A local favorite with history is Cindy's Diner, a historic valentine diner that "serves the world... fifteen at a time," or Coney Island. On Calhoun Street, stop at the Dash-In or 816 Pint & Slice. For a larger meal, try Mad Anthony Brewing Company, Nawa, O'Reilly's Irish Bar and Restaurant, or Shigs in Pit Barbeque.
If you have a car
If you are feeling more adventurous and have a car, stop by the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. A must-see on any visit to Fort Wayne, the nationally-ranked Fort Wayne Children's Zoo offers 40 acres of interactive activities, animals, and rides for you and your family to explore the wild!
Another unique experience in Fort Wayne is the DeBrand chocolate tour. Learn about the history of the company and see how they make their delicious chocolate.