Located 130 mi/210 km northeast of Indianapolis and one of Indiana's most interesting cities, Fort Wayne has a lot of diverse attractions. The foremost is the Lincoln Museum, a first-rate place that's loaded with interesting exhibits about Honest Abe. (Lincoln's childhood home is in Lincoln City, north of Evansville. The reason the museum is in Fort Wayne, rather than Illinois, the "Land of Lincoln," is that Fort Wayne is home to Lincoln National Life Insurance, whose large archive of materials forms the core of the museum.) Interactive displays and movies at the museum bring Lincoln's era to life: Computer games let you redecorate the White House and fight a Civil War battle. There's also an extensive library and archives, which house a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation that Lincoln signed in 1864. It's one of only eight copies in the world and the only one on permanent display.
Fort Wayne has a great children's zoo, with an Indonesian Rain Forest area and a tiger display. Enclosed vehicles enable visitors to drive through the zoo's African Veldt and Australian Adventure areas, where the animals roam free. http://www.kidszoo.com.
Children and adults alike will enjoy Science Central, where you can make an earthquake, walk on the moon and stir up a tornado (http://www.sciencecentral.org). If you have time, visit the Fort Wayne History Center, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, a large passive-solar conservatory with several distinct habitats. http://www.botanicalconservatory.org.
The city has several interesting architectural sights: Bass Mansion, a 33-room Romanesque castle with a magnificent circular stairway; the Embassy Theatre, a 1928 theater with lavish decoration; and Concordia Theological Seminary, designed by world-renowned architect Eero Saarinen.
Grabill, a mostly Amish rural community just 15 minutes north of Fort Wayne, offers the H. Souder & Sons General Store. Pull a cold Nehi out of the ice chest and browse aisles filled with memories of days gone by. Or stroll down the street to visit the Country Shops Antique Center offering furniture, household goods and glassware. http://www.grabill.net.
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