Promenade Park 
202 W. Superior Street

Open: 6 am-11 pm daily

Learn more about the Riverfront

Promenade Park, the first phase of our transformational Riverfront Fort Wayne Project is now open!  Highlights of the opening weekend included the ribbon cutting and various arts performances,  boating and recreation as well as nature and our rivers’ ecosystem activities. 

Follow us on social media and sign up for the newsletter at RiverfrontFW.org to stay current on updates! 


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The Grand Opening Celebration was held for Promenade Park August 9-11, 2019.  Approximately 35,000 people came to visit the park that weekend.  Park visitors continue to visit the park and enjoy all the amenities the park offers!  Please check out the Park Amenity list and Parking Map to learn more about the park.  Feel free to visit daily from 6 am-11 pm! 


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Volunteers needed for the Promenade Events

We are busy planning events for Promenade Park and we need YOU!  If you can volunteer, please contact Megan Butler at 260.427.6248.  

 

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PNC Playground

The PNC Playground is a fully accessible playground to be enjoyed by all! Do you have questions about the PNC Playground?

Please note, to ensure public safety, all park areas north of the St. Marys River, including the north dock and PNC Playground, will be closed while the Parkview Treen Canopy Trail is closed to complete scheduled updates to the structure. It is anticipated that the north part of the park will remain closed through the end of February 2020 as the work is completed.

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Boat Tours

Boat Tours are offered through the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department (learn more) and through Sweet Breeze (check out Friends of the Rivers web site for additional information). Boat Tours will be offered seasonally. Check back in the spring for information on 2020 tours!

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Doermer Kids' Canal

The Doermer Kids' Canal is a popular draw for both the very young and old alike. The Doermer Kids' Canal has been turned off for the season.  Check back in the spring for opening information.

 

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Rental Opportunities in Promenade Park 

Generally, the spaces available for rent in Promenade Park are the Park Foundation Pavilion (inside and outside), Auer Lawn and Sweetwater Band Shell East, Old National Bank Plaza and Sweetwater Band Shell west, and the historic Wells Street Bridge. The only space that is entirely covered, and therefore weather-proof, is the indoor portion of the Park Foundation Pavilion.

Additional information about Rental Opportunities at Promenade Park is now available. 

Please contact Megan Butler, Program & Events Manager, 260.427.6248 to inquire about dates available for your next gathering.

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Fun & Games

At Promenade Park there are 3 Ping Pong Tables, 2 Cornhole games and 1 Foosball table for your enjoyment! 

 

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Promenade Park Lease Agreement with Trubble Brewing  

Fort Wayne, Ind. – At their monthly meeting on Friday, February 15, the Fort Wayne Board of Park Commissioners signed a lease agreement with Trubble Riverside LLC for the dining facility in the new Promenade Park, which is set to open to the public August 9. Trubble Riverside, which operates Trubble Brewing, will manage the Trubble Riverside Cafe and Tap in the Park Foundation Pavilion inside Promenade Park, the first phase of the Riverfront Fort Wayne development project.

Learn more about Trubble Riverside Cafe and Tap at www.trubblebrewing.com


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Riverfront Revival

In the 2000s, Northeast Indiana’s residents began to recognize the importance of our rivers again.

Mayor Tom Henry established Legacy Fort Wayne in 2011 to guide the spending of approximately $75 million through the Light Lease Settlement and Fort Wayne Community Trust funds. The Mayor solicited hundreds of ideas from the community on how best to utilize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the desire for riverfront development rose to the top of the list.

With the public’s overwhelming support, Mayor Henry commissioned a comprehensive Riverfront study. Throughout the process, thousands of residents completed surveys, attended events, heard presentations, shared their ideas and even experienced the rivers themselves with riverboat excursions and Dragon Boat races.

In 2015, a conceptual plan was drawn up and shared with the community. Fort Wayne City Council approved $6 million in funds for Riverfront work, including maintenance, development and events. Mayor Henry formed a Riverfront Implementation Committee to guide the project, and the city hired Riverworks Design Group to take the conceptual plan and develop schematic designs.

This led to Phase I of Riverfront Fort Wayne which was completed and opened to the public on August 9th, 2019. 

Additional information is now available on Phases II and Phases III of Riverfront Development 

 

 

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Promenade Park Sculpture

Mayor Tom Henry and Parks and Recreation Director Steve McDaniel officially unveiled the first piece of Promenade Park to the public on July 26, 2019. “Convergence, Linda Howard, 2018, presented by the Waterfield Foundation” sits on the southeast corner of Promenade Park, near the intersection of Superior and Harrison streets. Mayor Henry and McDaniel shared their excitement for the sculpture, especially as it means the opening of the first phase of Riverfront Fort Wayne is getting closer.  Read more...


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Little Creek Bioswale


What is the Little Creek Bioswale? Learn more...
This project is partly funded by:
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Calendar

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We're lighting up the river with year-round programs.  Check out the on-line calendar  for information on Fall and Winter programs including: Young Naturalist Series, Riverfront Citizen Science, Riverfront Walking Tours, Wednesday's Walkers, Picture Time with Santa, Winter Cozy, Riverfront Educational Series, Confluence Kitchen: Featuring the Culture of Japan, Sundays on the Riverfront, Family Game Night, Dance Promenade, Speak, Sing or Wing, Dog Sweater Day, Riverfront Clean Ups and much more!

  
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Park Foundation Pavilion


The Fort Wayne Park Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce its support of Promenade Park by raising funds for the construction of the Park Foundation Pavilion. With generous contributions from area foundations and individuals, the Foundation raised $1,000,000 which was generously matched with $500,000 from the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. In addition, the Park Foundation pledged $150,000 from its unrestricted endowment funds to support the project.  

Check out the
News Release for additional information or the Riverfront web site!

Ready to find out more about how to reserve the Park Foundation Pavilion for your event?  Please contact Megan Butler, 260.427.6248.


 

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Riverfront Endowment Donations

The Fort Wayne Park Foundation invites families to become a part of local history by supporting Promenade Park. A gift of $500 will be recognized with an inscription on a Greenscape Step within the Park. It's similar to buying a brick. The purpose of this campaign is to create a legacy endowment for Promenade Park. The Promenade Endowment will help support improvements, updates and programming along the rivers, and will be operated by the Fort Wayne Park Foundation, a nonprofit charity. All donations are tax-deductible and can be made securely at the Park Foundation website. Learn more: https://fwparkfoundation.org/product/donate/ 

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Donations

Donations are needed for Promenade Park for an on-going maintenance endowment.  Individual donations may be given on-line.  For corporate donations please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Manager of Information & Development, at 260-427-6024.   

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Franklin School Park
 
 

Size in acres: 4.25 acres

Since: March 2016

Franklin School Park is located at 1903 Saint Mary's Avenue. 


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History:

This property was once a school and has been converted into a park.  This historic arches that were part of the school complex were renovated to keep the charm of the property.

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Phase I

The renovation of the arches has been completed.  This phase also includes construction of family restrooms in the pavilion, site work and a new splash pad. 

 
Grand Opening of Franklin School Park Phase 1

Phase I of Franklin School Park opened in 2016.  The splash pad is available seasonally from 9 am-9 pm.  The park is open from 6 am-11 pm daily.  Enjoy the below photos of the completed project.

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Phase II

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The photos show the new parking lot and concrete patio with sidewalk as well as the pavilion under construction.  

 

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The inside of the pavilion includes new restroom facilities, a kitchen, and a large multi-purpose room that can now be used as a year-round rental facility.  The renovation also included all new heating and air conditioning so the building can be used all year.  The site work consisted of a new parking lot with lighting, a new concrete patio with trees, seat walls, and a new sidewalk connecting to the street.

 
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The new David Hefner Pavilion and the $1.8 million Franklin School Park is now complete.  Read more about the project and all of the neighborhood advocates and community leaders that came together to make this project a reality. 

 

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Franke Park
In 1921, 80 acres were donated by John B. Franke the president of the Perfection Biscuit Company.  Over the course of 90 years the first 80 acres have flourished into 329.4 acres. Today it includes: the Day Camp, an outdoor theatre, 3 pavilions, a pond, a playground, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, picnic areas, trails, and lots of open space. Over Franke Park’s long history the park has had a number of uses:

  • In the early 1920’s the Fort Wayne Rifle and Revolver Club attempted to make use of Franke Park but this quickly ended as it was determined to be too hazardous in the summer months.
  • A neighbor of the park was asked to remove his cattle from Franke Park before a Labor Day picnic in 1923.
  • An Anti-Tuberculosis Christmas Seal Camp which operated for 18 years, ending in 1945.
  • In 1939 a small man-made lake was created. It was used for ice skating, ice skating derby, and the Fort Wayne figure skating club in the 1940’s.
  • Winter carnivals were also held in the park in the 1940’s.
  • The Boy Scouts wished to hold their annual Camporee in 1944.
  • The Fort Wayne Women’s Casting and Conservation Club wanted to get involved by suggesting Post War activities and improvements.
  • There was a request from Northside High school track coach in 1939 to use dirt areas as tracks.
  • The National Guard Units consisting of 300 men used the park for seven days of field training in 1939.
  • Around 1946, there were also donations for the pond of ducks and 3 swans.  Two flew away and never returned and it was decided that the future swans would be donated to St. Francis College.
  • In 1952 a Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary opened to the public and Fred B. Shoaff donated 54.36 acres to become part of Franke Park.
  • In 1961, fifteen flowering Japanese cherry trees were donated to Franke Park by the International Christian University of Mitaka-Shi, Tokyo, Japan. The trees were a symbol of the tenth year of the friendship between Fort Wayne and the University.
  • In 1972 the Nature Lodge in Franke Park burned.
  • In 2002 after extensive negotiations the Franke Park parking lot expansion was completed, adding approximately 600 new spaces for park and zoo visitors.

photo1This photo shows the symbolic planting of Japanese Cherry Trees in 1961

Franke Park Day Camp

Since its inception in 1946, Franke Park Day Camp has provided unforgettable childhood experiences for thousands of Fort Wayne area youth. With its strong emphasis on nature education, basic camping skills and Native American Lore, Franke Park Day Camp provides an environment which fosters cooperation, problem solving and socialization as well as the dirty, muddy, outdoor fun kids of all ages enjoy! In 1988 the program was extended to include 4-5 year olds.  Franke Day Camp was presented with a Citation for Excellence from the Alfred Adler Institute of Fort Wayne in 1996 and is the Fort Wayne Park and Recreation Department's longest running children's program. The camp is celebrating its 71st  season this summer.

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The Foellinger Outdoor Theatre

The Foellinger Theatre in Franke Park was constructed in 1949 as a gift to the community from Helene Foellinger in memory of her father, Oscar Foellinger, former publisher of the Fort Wayne News Sentinel.  The Theatre was to provide a unique type of entertainment space - an informal, open-air community gathering and performing area, set in a grassy hillside in the park. A fire in 1972 provided an opportunity to make major improvements to the theatre. The reconstruction started in 1975 and in 1976, the present open-sided dome and a new stage house were added through the generosity of the Foellinger Foundation. The theatre seats approximately 2,500 fans. In 1994 renovations included new seating and a new electrical system; funding provided by the Foellinger Foundation. A grant of $200,000 was provided by the Foellinger Foundation and the Theatre purchased a new sound system. 1999 marked the 50th anniversary of the theatre and another grant from the Foellinger Foundation providing better sound and lighting equipment. Various improvements have been made to Foellinger Theatre throughout the years.  

Diehm Museum

In 1964 the Jack D. Diehm Museum of Natural History was donated and constructed. The museum offered a variety of mounted fish, fowl and other mammals which provided an excellent educational space for nature study. In 1980 Diehm Museum was lost to a fire and reconstructed. In 2011 the Diehm Museum was officially closed.

 The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

In 1952, 54 acres were added to Fort Wayne’s Franke Park to establish a na­ture preserve. At that time animal displays included four monkeys, a black bear, three wild­cats, deer, mountain goats, raccoons, foxes, porcupines, pheasants, ducks, swans, and an American eagle. On July 3, 1965, at a cost of $500,000  Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, comprising five and one-half acres and 18 exhibits, opened to the public. In 1969, Director Earl Wells established the Zoo Mobile program, which visited every third grade classroom in Allen County. By 1982 there were about 550 animals in the zoo, with 12 permanent staff and 50 seasonal workers. Nearly 100 volunteers helped where needed. The opening of the Australian Adventure in 1987 was the crowning event of the year. The zoo broke all attendance records, and received a prestigious award from the professional zoo community. The African Journey’s grand opening in 2009 brought unprecedented publicity to the zoo. Parents magazine named the zoo one of the nation’s “Top Ten Zoos for Kids.” More than 613,000 people visited the zoo in 2009, far out­pacing the previous record of 540,000 guests in 1994.

--To read the entire history of the zoo please visit www.kidszoo.org

 Soap Box Derby Track/BMX

Ground was broken on March 24, 1969 by Tom Chapman, the secretary of Fort Wayne Soap Box Derby, Inc. The first Soap Box Derby was held on July 20, 1969. The competition was available to boys 11-15 years of age. Sixty cars competed for a $500.00 savings bond and a paid vacation for a week to the Derby Downs, Ohio. The winner then went on to compete for a $7,500.00 college scholarship. Just a few years later in 1974 prizes included trophies, Magnavox Color TV, Magnavox black and white TV, radios, t-shirts, and a watch. In 1992 the last Soap Box Derby was held.  In 1994 the BMX track was moved from Rockhill Park to Franke Park which took place of the Soap Box Derby Track. Currently events are held seasonally at the track. For more information about BMX go to the Franke Park BMX Facebook page.

photo2Above shows the near completion of the Soap Box Derby Track in 1969

Testimonials from parents and campers: 

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My son has really enjoyed this week.  This is the first year he has done it and he is already asking about next year-great camp well run.  Sahara T.

Jac said "I really loved camp a bunch! I really loved the counselors too, they were really nice! Joy C.

Chris Salomon truly gave the city of Fort Wayne a gift with giving his farm-children are able to experience life like many of their forefathers did, but they will not-it is a true blessing to our community. Monica L.

This camp was a wonderful experience that will stay with my daughter for years to come. Jennifer H.

Farm Camp gives our children life skills on a safe and beautiful farm close to home and without anything "plugged in", thank you.  Rebecca E.

It is fun and you get to do a lot of fun things.  My favorite part was taking care of the animals-especially the little white chicken that is not Rex. (Emma)

My 4 yr. old son really enjoyed the morning camp.  It was great, he got to pet goats, bunnies and even learned about bats, his favorite was the mud puddle day, it was really good. Patricia R.

I love this program.  I travel all the way from Illinois just to do it. Rebecca K.


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Zeis Park

Size in acres: .05

Zeis Park is located near the intersection of Spy Run Avenue and Baltes Avenue. For more detailed location information, check out the General Park Map , or Driving Directions.

Description: Zeis Park was formally a small grass area with a simple wooden sign reading its name. The Filtration Plant used to have a section of railroad tracks which has since been removed. The sign was removed and the area was constructed as a gravel parking lot. There is a small strip of grass surrounding the lot offering natural open space.

Zeis Park is owned by the City Water Department.

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