Family Fun at Art Museums in Fort Wayne Indiana

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Are you an art lover? I am, but I often struggle to get my kids excited about visiting an art museum. It’s a common challenge among parents who appreciate the finer things in life but have kids in tow who might not yet share that enthusiasm. However, art isn’t just for grown-ups; it’s a fantastic way for families to connect and for children to spark their creativity. On a recent visit, I explored the art museums in Fort Wayne Indiana, which are surprisingly fun and engaging for visitors of all ages.

We’ve spent many trips to Fort Wayne Indiana exploring the amazing zoo (seriously, go!), Science Central and even taking in shows at the Embassy Theatre, but we hadn’t ventured out to the art scene – until now. What a mistake!

From interactive exhibits to family-friendly programs, Fort Wayne has an amazing blend of fun and learning at the many art museums, galleries, and public art displays. Whether you’re a local or planning a visit, join me as we discover the artistic treasures that Fort Wayne has to offer, ensuring a memorable experience for both you and your kids.

A special thanks to Visit Fort Wayne for sponsoring a recent visit. All of the opinions in this post are 100% mine.

Sculpture at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art

1. Fort Wayne Museum of Art

An obvious place to start is the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, often referred to as FWMoA. Located downtown, it’s a short stroll from many of the downtown hotels as well as The Landing, and thanks to its relatively small size and kid-friendly exhibits a terrific introduction to art museums for your kids.

In addition to the art museum itself, on a recent girls’ weekend trip with my friend Tanya from Traveling Tanya, I really enjoyed some of the sculptures outside of the building, and although all of the exhibits were interesting, my favorite was the outdoor sculpture garden – but that’s because I’m such a fan of sculptures!

For kids, there is an entire section of the museum geared towards teaching them art basics in a very hands-on environment. There were areas of this room with art supplies, art inspiration, books, and even some fun colored mats on the floor that changed when you stepped on them – I had fun with them myself!

The rest of the museum consists of a few very open galleries, so you could easily expose your kids to a variety of art mediums in a short time period. Plus, the FWMoA has regular family tours on the second Saturday of each month as well as a teen council to get the older kids involved. The Fort Wayne Museum of Art is absolutely a must-visit as you introduce your kids to art in Indiana.

Fort Wayne Museum of Art, 311 E. Main Street

2. Castle Gallery

Another interesting destination for families exploring art in Fort Wayne is Castle Gallery. Located in the historic West Central neighborhood, this gallery is housed in a stunning 1905 mansion that itself is a piece of art. The grandeur of the building, with its original woodwork and stained glass, creates an inspiring backdrop for the artworks displayed within, making it an immersive cultural experience for visitors of all ages.

Castle Gallery stands out not just for its architectural beauty but for its welcoming atmosphere that will charm both you and your kiddos. The gallery features a diverse array of artworks by local, regional, and national artists, providing a rich variety of styles and mediums that can captivate the curiosity of young minds. From vibrant paintings to intricate sculptures, each piece tells a story, sparking imagination and conversation among family members.

For families, the experience of walking through the historic rooms, each with its own character and array of art, becomes an adventure. Children are often thrilled by the idea of exploring a real ‘castle’ filled with art. The gallery staff are known for their warmth and are typically on hand to answer questions, making the art more accessible and engaging for younger visitors.

Castle Gallery also hosts several events throughout the year, including artist receptions and seasonal exhibits, which can be a great way for your family to experience art in a lively, festive setting. Visiting during these events can enhance the experience with the opportunity to meet artists and learn about art in a very direct and personal way.

Castle Gallery, 1202 W Wayne Street

front of the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in Fort Wayne Indiana

3. Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

If you and your family enjoy plants as much as art (or maybe more!), then a visit to the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory is a must. Located downtown just a few blocks from the FWMoA, the gardens you’ll discover are lovely year-round and have quite a few areas specifically created to engage kids.

Although I love visiting a conservatory in the winter when the weather outside is grey and dreary – being inside the warmth and plants of the conservatory are a BIG winter mood booster – it’s well worth visiting any time of the year.

On my last visit, I was able to enjoy the butterfly exhibit which was a lot of fun. Those butterflies were VERY friendly and we had to work hard to ensure they didn’t hitch a ride right out of the exhibit. Most kids will get a huge kick out of having these gorgeous butterflies land on them. But even if the butterfly exhibit isn’t there, there are other spaces kids will enjoy.

Before you enter the main gardens there is a small area specifically created for kids. You’ll find a “talking tree” and other fun spots for the kids to explore. Plus, with the special exhibits (like the butterflies), the conservatory will often create scavenger hunts or other fun ways to get the kids engaged.

Feollinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S Calhoun Street

outside of Auer art center Center for Arts & Culture

4. Auer Center for Arts & Culture

If you’re looking for a spot in Fort Wayne where the arts truly come alive for families, the Auer Center for Arts & Culture is a must-visit. Located in the heart of the city, right across the street from the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, this arts hub is not just a building but a lively community space dedicated to fostering creativity and cultural engagement.

The Auer Center is home to several arts organizations, offering a dynamic range of exhibitions, performances, and workshops that appeal to all ages. It’s a place where your kids can watch a dance rehearsal one moment and explore an art exhibit the next. The variety of activities available makes every visit unique, ensuring there’s always something new to capture the imagination of both you and your children.

Regular family-oriented events make the Auer Center particularly appealing. Whether it’s a hands-on art workshop or a family dance day, these events are designed to make the arts accessible and enjoyable for kids, removing any intimidation they might feel and replacing it with excitement and curiosity.

A day spent at the Auer Center for Arts & Culture isn’t just fun; it’s an investment in your children’s cultural education and creativity. Plus, it’s a wonderful way for the whole family to create lasting memories surrounded by the vibrant energy of Fort Wayne’s artistic community. Check the website before your visit to see what’s happening!

Auer Center for Arts & Culture, 300 E Main Street

5. Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery

Right inside the lively Auer Center for Arts & Culture, you’ll find Artlink, a vibrant gallery that offers more than just a chance to view art—it’s a place where you can actively participate in the creative process. Artlink is a hub of inspiration, where the community, including the youngest visitors, is invited to not only appreciate but also create art.

As you explore Artlink with your family, you’ll notice the welcoming atmosphere that encourages curiosity and creativity. The gallery regularly features contemporary works by emerging and established artists, which are sure to spark interesting discussions between you and your little ones. It’s a fantastic way for children to see a wide range of artistic styles and techniques up close.

But the real draw for families at Artlink is the opportunity to sign up for classes and attend special events. These classes & events are designed for various age groups and skill levels, making them a perfect option for kids who want to try their hand at something new or further develop their artistic talents. From painting and drawing to more unique forms of art like printmaking and digital media, these classes cover a broad spectrum, ensuring there’s something that will catch the interest of every young artist.

Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, 300 E Main Street

street art in Fort Wayne Indiana

6. Public Art Trail

I’m a huge fan of a good Public Art Trail, and Fort Wayne has an excellent one! There are more than 150 public art installations to check out, and the city even has a free pass you can download to your phone where you can check in as you visit to win prizes.

I don’t know about your family, but my kids (daughter especially) LOVE to complete scavenger hunts or trails, so this is right up their alley. I don’t know that we could get to all 150+ items, but we could definitely put a good dent into it. I’d suggest downloading the pass and then starting downtown where you can walk to a lot of the spots, and visit a few of the other art museums and galleries while you are out looking for public art.

Add in a lunch stop at Coney Island or ice cream at Sweets on Main and you’ve got a wonderful family afternoon full of art inspiration!

Fountain near the Auer Center for the Arts and the FWMoA in Fort Wayne Indiana

7. Taste of the Arts Festival

If you can time it right, try to visit Fort Wayne during the annual Taste of the Arts Festival. Held in downtown Fort Wayne, this festival transforms the streets into a vibrant celebration of arts, culture, and food that captivates visitors of all ages.

The Taste of the Arts Festival showcases the rich diversity of the local arts community, featuring performances from local theater groups, musicians, and dancers. The streets buzz with energy as live performances fill the air with music and storytelling, providing a lively backdrop to a day of exploration and fun.

For families, this festival is an exceptional opportunity to expose kids to the arts in a dynamic and interactive environment. Children can participate in hands-on art activities, where they get to paint, sculpt, and create alongside local artists. These activities not only entertain but also educate, as kids learn about different art forms and artistic techniques in a playful setting.

Talking tree at the Botanical Conservatory in Fort Wayne Indiana

Why Visit Art Museums in Fort Wayne?

Visiting art museums in Fort Wayne with your kids offers plenty of benefits that extend far beyond a simple day out. These cultural institutions serve as gateways to learning, creativity, and family bonding, making them ideal destinations if you are looking to enrich your children’s lives with new experiences.

Firstly, art museums in Fort Wayne provide an educational adventure for children of all ages. They are rich with visual and historical knowledge that can complement school learning. Children who engage with art from an early age develop observation skills and an appreciation for different perspectives and cultures. Museums like the Fort Wayne Museum of Art offer exhibits that are accessible and engaging for children, often incorporating elements that cater specifically to young visitors, such as interactive installations or hands-on art spaces.

Furthermore, art museums encourage critical thinking and creativity. As children observe and discuss art, they learn to articulate their thoughts and feelings. Museums often feature a variety of art forms, from paintings and sculptures to digital art and installations, each providing unique stimuli that challenge your kids to think outside the box and spark their imagination.

Additionally, visiting these museums is a fantastic way to spend quality family time. Exploring art galleries together allows for shared experiences that can be both fun and educational. You can discuss your favorite pieces, learn about art history, and participate in art-related activities available at the museum. This not only helps build a stronger family bond but also creates lasting memories.

Helping your kids enjoy art in Fort Wayne is not just about seeing art—it’s about experiencing it together as a family. It’s an investment in your children’s education, creativity, and your family’s collective experience. Whether you’re local or just visiting, exploring these museums provides a valuable and enjoyable learning opportunity that can inspire and educate your children in profound ways.

kids area inside the Fort Wayne Museum of Art

Planning Your Visit

To make the most of your visit and ensure it’s as enjoyable and educational as possible, here are some practical tips:

Decide when you are going

  • Check Museum Schedules and Events: Many museums have special family days or events geared towards younger audiences. If you can, plan your visit during these times as they often feature activities that are both fun and educational.
  • Look for Interactive Exhibits: Museums like the Fort Wayne Museum of Art offer interactive installations and hands-on art spaces specifically designed for children. These exhibits can significantly enhance the engagement and enjoyment for your kids.

Prepare Your Kids

  • Discuss Art Before Your Visit: Talk to your kids about what they might see at the museum. Depending upon their age, you might show them pictures of some of the artworks they will encounter. This can help build anticipation and make the actual viewing more relatable.
  • Set Some Ground Rules: Museums often require quiet voices and no touching of the artworks. Explain these rules to your children beforehand to avoid any surprises.

Engage During the Visit

  • Ask Thought-Provoking Questions: Encourage your kids to think about the art by asking open-ended questions like, “What do you think about this piece?” or “What colors do you see and what feelings do they evoke?”
  • Take Breaks: Young children can get overwhelmed or tired from too much walking and standing. Plan for short breaks to sit, reflect, or even sketch something they’ve seen – I also like to end our visits with a trip to a local ice cream or candy store. Make it an all-around “fun” experience for the kids!

Make It a Game

  • Scavenger Hunt: Some museums have these (which I love), but if there isn’t one, you can create a simple scavenger hunt with elements to find in different artworks. This can be a fun way to engage your children and keep them interested throughout the visit.
  • Sketchbook Fun: Bring a small sketchbook and some pencils. Encourage your kids to draw their favorite artworks or an element in the museum that inspires them.

Utilize Museum Resources

  • Guided Tours: Many museums offer guided tours that can be educational for both you and your children. These are often designed to make the art more accessible and can provide a deeper understanding of the works and I typically find them super interesting.
  • Educational Programs: Enroll your kids in a workshop or an art class if the museum offers them. I remember doing these as a kid and I also enrolled my kids in classes when they were available. These programs are specifically tailored to help children appreciate art and engage creatively.

Reflect After Your Visit

  • Discuss the Experience: Talk about what everyone liked or didn’t like. Discussing the visit afterward can reinforce what they’ve learned and seen.
  • Create Post-Visit Art: Encourage your kids to create art inspired by their visit once you’re back home. This helps cement their experiences and lets them express their impressions creatively.

By following these tips, you can turn a visit to Fort Wayne’s art museums into a valuable educational experience that enhances your children’s development in unique and lasting ways.

Sculpture outside the Fort Wayne Museum of Art

Art Museums in Fort Wayne Indiana Map

Where to Stay in Fort Wayne

If you are visiting Fort Wayne with your kids, you’ll probably appreciate a little bit more room which is why I’d recommend the Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown Fort Wayne. It’s got a great location downtown and overlooks the Tincaps ballpark (if you can get one of those rooms I know your kids will love that!). It also has free breakfast. I’ve stayed here before and been quite happy with the hotel.

Book your stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown Fort Wayne here!

desert exhibit inside the Botanical Conservatory in Fort Wayne Indiana

FAQs: The BEST Fort Wayne Art Museums & Galleries

How much does it cost to get into the Fort Wayne Museum of Art?

From $8 to $10

When was the Fort Wayne Museum of Art built?


Who is the architect of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art?

Walter Netsch designed the current art museum which was built in 1984.

Conclusion: Visiting Art Museums in Fort Wayne Indiana

Visiting art museums in Fort Wayne with your kids offers a chance not only to view but to experience and interact with art in ways that are engaging for both you and your kids. Fort Wayne’s art scene is a treasure trove of educational opportunities and a perfect setting for families to explore and learn together.

The museums I’ve shared—from the hands-on activities at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art to the historic charm of Castle Gallery and the dynamic Auer Center for Arts & Culture—highlight just how diverse and accessible the arts in Fort Wayne can be.

Moreover, events like the Taste of the Arts Festival capture the community spirit of Fort Wayne, blending art, culture, and culinary delights into an unforgettable family outing.

So whether you’re a local or a visitor, making a trip to these art institutions is an investment in your family’s cultural and creative education. The memories made, the ideas sparked, and the fun had will be talked about long after you’ve returned home.


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