A children's tree house at the Fort Wayne Zoo
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Best on the Map: Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo (Indiana)

Located in northeast Indiana, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is rightly named. The zoo focuses its efforts on engaging children in a full zoo experience, and they do it so well!

Kids will love this zoo! Of course, the zoo has some unique animals. But it also has several rides, play areas, and even sensory-friendly activities!

We love zoos! My husband is a scientist, so he can rattle off facts about pretty much any animal! We have been to most of the zoos in Ohio and Indiana. Here are a few posts from our trips to the Columbus Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo, and Indianapolis Zoo.

A few weeks ago, we took our niece with us to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo as a birthday celebration. Of course, the drive was a bit far from Indy but not terrible (only 1.5 hours one way). We didn’t know what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised at all the zoo had to offer!

Where is the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo?

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is in Fort Wayne, Indiana. That’s in northeastern Indiana. It’s actually not far from Ouabache State Park, which may be interesting if you love visiting our Indiana State Parks!

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Address: 3411 Sherman Blvd. Fort Wayne, IN 46808

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Animals

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo has a wide variety of animals! We were quite impressed!

There are four main areas of the zoo. The African Journey area is by far the largest. It holds lions, giraffes, zebras, monkeys, wildebeests, hyenas, and parrots, among other animals. The Indonesian Rain Forest area includes orangutans, clouded leopards, gibbons, and a Sumatran tiger. The Australian Adventure area includes stingrays, alligators, kangaroos, a dingo, and a walk-through aviary. The fourth and final area was an Indiana Family Farm. There, kids can pet pigs, cows, goats, rabbits, and more.

Additionally, the entry area of the zoo included lynx, Capuchin monkeys, and, coming in 2023, red pandas. We’re excited to come back and see the red pandas!

Note: Due to an infection influencing bird populations, all birds were taken off display during our visit.

A lynx at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Kangaroos at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Tortoise at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Two lions at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Swamp Monkey at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Rides

When we visited, we were very impressed at how many rides this small zoo offered! There were four rides, which was pretty amazing considering the size of the zoo! And the prices were very reasonable!

The African Journey section had a Sky Safari where visitors could look out over the safari animals while on a sky ride. Unfortunately, we arrived on a cloudy day when storms were headed our way, so the ride closed before we could get a picture!

The Indonesian Rain Forest area had a carousel with many endangered animals to ride on.

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo's Carousel
A carousel featuring endangered animals

The Australian Adventure section included two rides: a train ride along the lake and a crocodile log ride that circles the kangaroo and dingo exhibits.

We spent $3/person on the log ride that lasted maybe 10-15 minutes. The carousel ride also costs $3/person, but adults can stand next to kids as they ride for free!

The log ride was one of the highlights of the trip. It was definitely worth the cost and the wait!

Log ride at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Train Ride at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Activities

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo offers too many activities to list everything!

I will say… the zoo makes a very conscious effort to help children understand more about the animals they are viewing.

For example, there was a crank in the zebra research station where kids could move the zebras around Africa following the rain clouds to help them better understand migration.

Also, there was a wheel next to the lion exhibit that kids could spin to determine if they were a lion looking for their next meal, would they eat that day or not. During our visit, our niece spun the wheel and landed on a scenario where the lion found a herd of wildebeests that got away before the lion could catch them.

Ostrich Egg Play Area at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Ostrich Egg Play Area at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
A giraffe waiting for food at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

One of the highlights of our trip was feeding the giraffes! Lettuce leaves were very reasonably priced at $1/piece. And zoo keepers were there to share information about the giraffes we were feeding.

When we visited, we got to feed a giraffe named Zuri, the oldest giraffe at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

There were also several places for kids to play. From the train set playground next to the train station to the ostrich eggs they could climb into the kids’ tree house in the rain forest. There was even a section in the Indonesian Rain Forest where they could play instruments from Indonesia.

Kid's Tree House at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo.
The Kid’s Tree House was a huge hit! Who doesn’t love a fun tree house high in the trees?!
Indonesian Rainforest Play Area at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
In the Indonesian Rain Forest, children could ring the gong or ring the wooden bells hanging on the left

Sensory-Friendly Zoo

Additionally, there were several areas spread throughout the zoo that were considered sensory-friendly. Children with sensory needs could go to these quiet spaces for a break from the noise. The front office even offered sensory bags and headphones to make sure every child felt welcome.

Common Questions About the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo:

Does the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Offer Restaurants for Those (Like Me!) with Food Restrictions?

This is the one question I always try to answer for my readers with food allergies and restrictions. Unfortunately, I did not come across gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan options other than those that are naturally lacking in unwanted ingredients. But food and drinks can be brought into the zoo.

Also, there were picnic tables spread throughout the parking areas where visitors could enjoy the shade if they’d rather not lug a cooler into the zoo. We chose that option!

Fort Wayne Zoo Picnic Tables
Picnic tables for a picnic lunch at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

How is Parking at the Fort Wayne Zoo?

Parking is free! How many zoos can say that?! We were pleasantly surprised!

The biggest challenge was there are several small parking lots spread throughout the park in which the zoo is located. The closest two parking lots were completely full when we arrived only an hour after opening (however, it was a Saturday). We parked in the third lot. Fortunately, it was quite shaded and not too far of a walk from the zoo entrance.

Considering Bringing:

Wagon or Stroller- Like most zoos, a wagon or stroller are really going to be your best friends at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Lots of Water- We were a little disappointed that the zoo didn’t have any splash pad or mister. We were actually hoping the log ride would get us a little wet because we were so hot! But it didn’t either. Make sure you bring lots of water and stay cool!


Check out our post on the Columbus Zoo, Ohio’s largest (and arguably best) zoo!

And if you’re looking for grain-free snacks for your road trip, this is the post for you!


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Megan
2 years ago

Zoos have gotten so cool! I would love to do that log ride, and it seems like a great price for such a long ride!

Cindy Moore
Cindy Moore
2 years ago

What a fun place to spend the day! I’d love to see red pandas too.

Danielle
2 years ago

Looks like fun! Sounds like the log ride would be a highlight for me.