Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Lot of activities sprout up during winter

No reason to remain cooped up inside with so much fun to be had

Hills become play areas when snow begins to hit the ground.

Published January 4, 2023

Yeah, yeah, we get it … baby, it’s unseasonably warm outside. 

But the cold will return, and when it does, don’t complain about it. Embrace it!

Sure, you’re gonna want to put on a couple layers, but you can still venture outside and have some fun. Remember being a kid? It can be tough when you shoveling walkways and paying the gas bill, but snow used to be something you relished.

It’s northeast Indiana, and hills can be hard to come by, but they are out there for some sledding. We also have plenty of trails for cross-country skiing or just taking a hike … ’cause it’s not likely to be too busy. We also have an ice rink and a few festivals to help get you through the barren landscape all the way up until you’re complaining about how hot it is outside.

So, with no further ado, here’s some of a just a few activities you can take part in, and some are even indoors, much to the gas company’s delight!

Come out and play

Sledding: We used to love sledding, and probably still do … our lower backs and backsides just might not anymore.

Franke Park is a popular spot. You have to wind your way past Shoaff Lake toward the BMX Race Park, then swing a right near the trails before things open to a big ol’ hill dotted with people atop it and those making their way back up it. This spot is popular, so the snow gets pretty packed, but that just means it can get pretty fast … and pretty hard.

While this might be one of the most popular spots, there are also Foster Park, Shoaff Park, Hickory Center School, Johnny Appleseed Park, Ivan Lamboff Reservoir Park, and a bevy of secret neighborhood hills that locals might not want you to know about.

Ice Skating: Instead of risking it at frozen ponds, the ice rink at Headwaters Park is open for its 20th season until Feb. 26. Admission is $4 for those under 14 and $6 for others. You can bring your own skates or rent a pair for $3. There are also “Kids Skate Free Days” on Jan. 17, Jan. 31, and Feb. 14, although the skate rental fee still pertains.

Tobaggon Run: If you’re really in the need for speed, head up Interstate 69 to Pokagon State Park. Along with plenty of trails for exploration and cross-country skiing, you can ascend the park’s 30-foot tower that features a total vertical drop of 90 feet over a quarter-mile. If you go, you won’t be alone. About 90,000 riders enjoy the tobaggon run every year, with the top speed being 42 mph on the 20- to 30-second ride.

Soaking in nature

Cross-country skiing: You might want to take your sled to Metea County Park, too, but this spot might be best for working up a lather by cross-country skiing. With Fox Island still out of commission due to last summer’s storm that ravaged the southwest side of Fort Wayne, Metea is your best bet for this activity, although there are plenty of trails throughout the area you could use, as well as the ACRES nature preserves.

Hiking: If lack of equipment keeps you from cross-country skiing, grab some boots and check out the parks, ACRES preserves, or Lindenwood Nature Preserve, which will host a Winter Tree Hike on Jan. 14 and Feb. 11.

If you like some camaraderie on your hike, then Wild Walkers might be up your alley. They hike at different locations through the year, including Jan. 14 at Salomon Farm Park, Jan. 28 at Beechwood Nature Preserve in Fremont, Feb. 25 at Payton Park, and March 11 at Pokagon. For Beechwood and Pokagon, you can meet up at Salomon to carpool.

Polar Plunge: This one is for those you want to literally soak in the season. Special Olympics Indiana’s signature fundraiser invites the brave to hop into freezing water for a good cause. There will be a couple of opportunities in our region, including Feb. 11 at Metea County Park and Feb. 18 in North Manchester at Manchester University’s Physical Education & Recreation Center. More information can be found at

Let festivities begin

Winterval: The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department’s 12th annual Winterval will be Jan. 28 at various locations around town, so there’s sure to be something that lights your fire.

Into ice carvings? Well, sculptors will be sprinkled around downtown, including Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, the library, the Community Center, and Promenade Park.

Also at the Community Center, you can browse wares during the Warm Heart Market from noon-5 p.m., and venture outdoors for the Winter Carnival from 1-4 p.m.

If you need to warm up after watching a block of ice become art at the library, there will be winter crafts in the Children’s Department from noon-2 p.m.

Historic Fort Wayne also gets in on the act with Nouvelle Année 1743 at the Old Fort from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Heartland Mushers will have sled dogs at Headwaters Park from 1-4 p.m., while ice skating is also an option.

The event begins at 9 a.m. with a hike at bonfire at Lindenwood Nature Preserve and closes with the adults-only Winter Cozy at Promenade Park from 6-10 p.m.

Weather the Fort: This more centralized festival occurs Feb. 18 with live music, drinks, and other entertainment at The Landing. Plans are still under way on this one, so be on the lookout in the upcoming weeks.

Stay inside

While many may enjoy getting out to enjoy the snow and ice and everything nice, there are definitely those who will want to stay warm. And no worries, the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department has a lot of activities to take part in … for fun and for exercise.

For a complete list of activities offered, you can pick up a free brochure around town or go to to view one with dates. In the brochure, you’ll see opportunities for dance classes, exercise groups, sports, and arts, as well as fun events like comedy at Promenade Park on Jan. 12 and Feb. 9, Dog Sweater Day at Promenade on Feb. 18, and plenty of worthwhile exhibits at Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory.


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