Riverfront, parks packed with summer activities
By Corey McMaken | The Journal Gazette
Many residents will be headed out to local parks and the rivers this summer.
Riverfront Fort Wayne will put on more than 200 programs through September, more than doubling its total from last year.
“We want people to have lots of opportunities to get involved with their rivers, no matter their interest,” says Megan Butler, program and events manager for Riverfront Fort Wayne. “So we have recreation opportunities, we have nature-based opportunities and we have arts- and culture-based opportunities.”
The group has increased the number of boat tours offered and will include ecology as well as history-themed tours beginning Sunday. The tours are $12 per person and registration is required.
Riverfront Fort Wayne has partnered with Fort Wayne Outfitters for several “paddle socials” each week where people can bring canoes or kayaks and spend some time together on the rivers.
On Wednesdays there will be an educational session, on Friday nights there will be a sunset paddle, and on Sunday mornings there will be sunrise paddles.
The $10 events will take off from Fort Wayne Outfitters, 1004 Cass St. Kayaks can be rented for an additional cost. Registration is required a week in advance.
The Riverfront Film Series returns this summer with “Top Gun” on July 28 at Hop River Brewing Co., 1515 N. Harrison St. There will be a fee with required registration for the “Top Gun” showing, which includes dinner and activities such as a costume contest.
A yet-to-be-announced arts-themed movie will be shown at Taste of the Arts on Aug. 24 and “Troop Beverly Hills” will be shown Sept. 29 at Johnny Appleseed Park.
There are free stargazing events June 8, July 13, Aug. 10 and Sept. 14 at Lawton Park in collaboration with the Fort Wayne Astronomical Society.
There is a bird-watching program on the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. at Lawton Park.
Riverfront Fort Wayne also has free “young naturalist” programs for children once a month, as well as story times, riverfront cleanups, walking tours and more.
The fourth annual Dragon Boat Races will be held June 23.
For a full schedule and registration details for Riverfront programs, go to www.RiverfrontFW.org
The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department puts out its “Fun Times” booklet with outdoor activities every season. This summer's book is one of the largest in years, says Chuck Reddinger, the department's deputy director of recreation.
“I really look forward to this time of year because I love to get out into the parks system and see people having fun,” he says.
Summer is the busiest time for the city parks, whose events include concerts at Foellinger Theatre and programs such as the Senior Games, which are hitting record numbers.
The Botanical Roots Concert Series returns to Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory at 8 p.m. Fridays from July 27 to Aug. 31.
Cost is $6 for ages 13 and older; children 12 and younger are free.
The Summer Playgrounds program begins Monday and runs through July 27. Children 5 and older are welcome to activities at Hamilton, Lakeside, Lafayette, Memorial and Packard parks and Hanna Homestead.
Similar programs are available at Cooper Community Center, Jennings Recreation Center and Weisser Park Youth Centers. The programs run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Children can get breakfast and participate in activities such as games, crafts, field trips, enrichment programs and character building exercises.
Free lunch is provided by Fort Wayne Community Schools from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Children are supervised by trained staff and parents must complete a registration form on their kids' first visit.
“The idea is to have a safe haven for kids to go throughout almost all summer that they can have a safe environment with lots of activities,” Reddinger says of the program.
For more information on Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation events and programs, go to www.FortWayneParks.org