A Homeschooler’s Guide to Fort Wayne

*My family was hosted in Fort Wayne as part of a Press Trip with Visit Fort Wayne. All opinions are my own.*

Growing up in Indiana I had no idea how many learning opportunities that Fort Wayne had to offer. As the 2nd largest city in the state- it has a TON of fun, family friendly activities. All within a 3 hour drive of where we live! As homeschoolers, we are always up for a fun road trip- especially if we can do something fun and call it school. There are plenty of ‘field trip’ opportunities in Fort Wayne, and the whole family will learn something along the way.

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

children's zoo study area

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is an excellent way to spend the day. We were there for over 4 hours and still didn’t see everything they had to offer! It was seriously the most well taken care of zoo I have ever visited. The displays and animal areas were clean and well tended, and all of the subjects seemed healthy and happy. There we SO many activities peppered throughout each area, that we could definitely count this as a school day. Each section has little stations with information, and fun hands activities for learners of all ages.

children's zoo

These ‘study areas’ offer interesting ways to educate your family that don’t feel like ‘learning’. They’re really fun! My kiddo hasn’t stopped talking about it and is already trying to convince us to go back ASAP.

zoo

Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

If you love plants or want to do a horticultural study. (Or if you just love looking at nature’s beauty.) You need to plan a trip to this gorgeous botanical conservatory in downtown Fort Wayne.

botanical conservatory

I’ve never seen so many beautiful plants in one place. (And if you go when it’s cold out- it would be the perfect place to warm up and see winter outside and summer inside.)

butterfly exhibit

They also have different exhibits that come at different times of the year. We got to stand amongst hundreds of butterflies as they fluttered around us and landed all over. It was truly magical. Sadly, that exhibit has moved on, but now until November 17 they have another fun exhibit called Botanical Jones: Scientist, Merchant, or Thief?

“When plant explorers delve into new worlds they bring many questions. The scientist might ask, “What is it? How does it grow? What does it do?” The merchant will consider the profitability of a plant’s production or trade, whether it is a new crop that can open new markets. But the thief . . . Visit a wealthy Englishman’s garden, showcasing plants brought back by “Botanica Jones,” a plant explorer of the late 1800s through early 1900s. Enjoy the manor’s formal flower garden, informal shrub border, and fern and hosta glen while you view exotic specimens and discover fascinating episodes of daring and peril that real plant hunters endured. By the end of your visit, you can decide whether you have the passion to join these botanical elite.”

It sounds like a lot of fun- and again, a great learning experience! Even if you don’t homeschool, and are just looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Since you’ll already be downtown- go grab a cheap lunch of the most delicious hot dogs at Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island. I think we all had our fill there for less than $10!

Science Central

If you have a little Science lover in your house like we do, DO NOT skip a visit to Science Central. This is the perfect place to spend a rainy day when your kids need space to explore and play. There are learning opportunities around every corner and there’s always something exciting going on!

outside science central

My favorite area was Science on the Sphere. You get to learn all about Space and see some amazing demonstrations play out before your eyes.

science on a sphere

I teared up, getting an up close view of the cosmos. And my little space scientist asked (and answered!) 100 questions and they were so helpful and patient.

science central inside

If we lived closer- I would definitely invest in a membership. There are hands-on learning stations, demonstrations, and so much more for you and your family to explore. You definitely want to add it your homeschool visitor’s list.

the universe- science central

Promenade Park

promenade park
*Visit Fort Wayne supplied me with this stunning photo.*

Fort Wayne’s newest attraction is their one-of-a-kind park that joins nature and urban areas all into one amazing experience. There’s a canopy trail, riverboat cruises and kayak rental, a park, a large outdoor area with all sorts of family fun activities, a restaurant, and more! I’m so jealous- I wish I could hang out there every day!

They’re constantly working to add more things to this area- and it will be a gem to the community.

Also- check out Riverfront Fort Wayne’s Calendar for more learning and education opportunities that they have year round (many for FREE!). A great opportunity if you’re homeschoolers living nearby!

You could easily fill up a loooong weekend playing in the Fort. I wish we had more time on our last visit and can’t wait to get back to see what else this wonderful city has to offer!

Check out my Fort Wayne Top 10 post to see some of the other things we loved from our trip!

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