Riverfront IIA officially opened on June 27, 2023! Pictured above Steve McDaniel, Director (far left), Mayor Tom Henry (in the middle) and the four Park Commissioners. Construction for IIB will be at least a year and a half.
Enjoy a few photos from IIA!
Mayor Henry Leads Riverfront IIB Groundbreaking Celebration
September 20, 2023 - Progress along Fort Wayne’s riverfront continues as Mayor Tom Henry today joined the City of Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division, Parks and Recreation Department, and community leaders for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on Riverfront Phase IIB Public Open Space. Read more....
Promenade Park, South Boat Dock 202 West Superior Street All Ages Welcome
Tours on Sweet Breeze will be offered again next spring! Purchase tickets starting May 1st, 2024! Tours begin Saturday, May 25th!
Relax and enjoy a guided cruise on the Fort Wayne Rivers. Sweet Breeze, Fort Wayne’s authentic canal boat replica is offering 45, 60 and 90 minute tour lengths. This fully accessible tour will be a fun experience for everyone! Each tour provides an opportunity to learn something new about Fort Wayne through its riverfront.
Purchase tickets next SPRING! IF you prefer, you can purchase tickets via phone (260) 427-6000 or at 705 E. State Blvd., Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805 starting on May 1, 2024.
Private Rental Cruises
Check out the information below on private rentals available in 2024!
The boat is handicap accessible with an accessible restroom on board
There is a ramp in the park down to the dock, a loading ramp to get on board the boat, and the boat chairs are easily removable
For wheelchair parking, on this map, the blue line is where the handicap parking spaces are, and the white line shows the path and walking distance from there down to the loading dock, and the green line represents where the boat will be.
A special thanks to Mark Jones, Friends of the Rivers, for this photo!
A Little Background Information:
Sweet Breeze was built by Scarano Boat Builders out of Albany, NY. It is flat-bottomed, aluminum hulled boat which is 54’ long, has a draft of 2.75’ and an air draft of 8.5’. The new build was modeled after 1840s canal boat, but in order to better fit our waterways, was scaled back to ¾ the size of the historic canal boats. It is powered by a single 55 HP Marine Diesel Volvo Penta engine. It was delivered by a lowboy trailer in January 2017, craned into the Maumee River on May 20th and christened on June 5th. The Sweet Breeze is wheelchair accessible.
A Brief History
Fort Wayne’s history is tied to canal boats and to the Wabash and Erie Canal. The Canal was a shipping canal that linked the Great Lakes to the Ohio River via an artificial waterway. The canal provided traders with access from the Great Lakes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Over 478 miles long, it was the longest canal ever built in North America.The canal began operation in the summer of 1843, yet only operated for a decade before it became apparent that it was not economically viable. Even when the canal boats were operated at extremely slow speeds, the banks rapidly eroded, and the canal had to be constantly dredged to be operable. The last canal boat on the Wabash Canal made its last docking in 1874 in Huntington, Indiana. Sweet Breeze recreates the mystery and excitement of what was to be a new era of commerce and travel in the Midwest. Fort Wayne was the highest point on the canal (i.e. the summit), so Fort Wayne earned the name “Summit City”. Canal boats carried people and goods on our rivers and canals from 1843-1874 which was much faster than burdensome wagons. Drafts animals, usually mules, pulled long, narrow canal boats by a rope on a path next to the canal, called a towpath.
The Sweet Breeze Canal Boat is back on the St. Marys River! Step aboard and learn more about the upcoming season of general and specialty tours at the Season Kickoff Open House on Friday, May 26, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Yesterday I had the pleasure to take the Sweet Breeze boat tour. Absolutely everyone involved from tickets to disembarking was a great representative of FTW Parks Dept. Mark also was a delight and knowledgeable of the history. It was a wonderful 90 minute boat ride. Thank you, Carolyn T.
Our thanks to you and your staff for your service to our Senior Saints and for your assistance in helping our Senior Saints with their wheel chair, walkers, canes, etc. on our tour of the rivers of Fort Wayne. Your staff, your docent, your captain and his assistants provided our Senior Saints, with our special needs, the assistance to enjoy the river tour. You and their service was above and beyond what we would have expected. Larry G.
Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation is offering Sweet Breeze Boat Tours through a partnership with Friends of the Rivers.
School Group Field Trips on Sweet Breeze
Friends of the Rivers will again be offering on-river school group field trips again in 2024 that meet Indiana DOE Standards for Social Studies (Indiana and Regional History) for grades 3, 4 & 5. All field trips are open for all abilities on our fully accessible boat.
The 45 minute field trips will again have a discounted cost of $5 per student underwritten by Friends of the Rivers. There is a minimum of 20 youth per tour. A maximum of three school staff are admitted free and any additional adults are charged the community tour rate.
The Calm Water Sensory Tent is proudly sponsored by AWS Foundation.
The Calm Walter Sensory Tentwill be available at special events held throughout the year.
Park Foundation Pavilion, Promenade Park, 202 W. Superior St.
Learn about sensory processing disorders, connect with local organizations that offer sensory and adaptive services, play with sensory toys, and meet therapy dogs at this FREE community event. Open to all ages.