Fort Wayne, Ind., might be on the list of cities you've heard of but never visited. You'd be smart to change that right now.
From the moment we drove into the quaint city, the little voices in the backseat chirped excitedly, "We could live here."
The Holiday Inn at IPFW and the Memorial Coliseum became home base, a ideal pick for families because the new comfy hotel has a huge pool, spacious rooms and is close to everything. We stayed as guests of Visit Fort Wayne, the convention and visitors bureau.
First stop was the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, one of the nation's top 10 zoos for kids. Super manageable for the littlest of kids and engaging for everyone else, you can get amazingly close to the animals. One of the biggest hits was the sea lions. (Hint: hold a quarter to the window and you are guaranteed a visit by one of the curious creatures.) The zoo alone is worth the three-hour drive from downtown Chicago. We didn't want to leave.
Start day two off at Science Central. It opens later in the morning so you can sleep in. The small science center is completely hands-on. The girls decided it was best for kids 3-10. One thing not to miss is the enclosed tornado simulator.
Because you can do Science Central in a few hours, you'll have time to visit the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory or the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Since we needed to eat, we opted for lunch at Crazy Pinz Entertainment Center.
Before heading back to Chicago, the can't-miss stop at DeBrand Chocolatier will leave you with an especially sweet impression of Fort Wayne. It offers tours but timing didn't work out for us.
We're positive we'll be making the trip again sometime soon.
Tamara is the editor of Chicago Parent and mom of three.
See more of Tamara's stories here.