Area residents have more opportunities than ever to explore the city's attractions for free during Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown on Sunday.
A record 19 sites are part of the Visit Fort Wayne event, now in its 22nd year. New for 2021 are Memorial Coliseum, First Presbyterian Church, The Freemasons Hall and Trinity English Lutheran Church.
The lineup changes every year, which keeps things fresh, says Kristen Guthrie, vice president of marketing and communications for Visit Fort Wayne.
“It's fun there's a few new things every year alongside the traditional ones that people can plan on,” she says.
Be a Tourist passports can be downloaded on VisitFortWayne.com or picked up at Kroger and Old National Bank locations. Each location in Be a Tourist offers free admission to passport holders and many offer special activities.
Trinity English is celebrating its 175th anniversary with a block party from noon to 5 p.m., including organ recitals, free plant seeds, free hot dogs (vegan, too), a petting zoo and face painting.
Parking will be free at the Coliseum where visitors can see themselves on the scoreboard and go behind the scenes on a self-guided tour that includes backstage in the arena, the suite level and press box.
Be a Tourist is also a chance to check out historic buildings that don't often offer this level of access, Guthrie says. Allen County Courthouse, for example, will be open from noon to 4 p.m. and cameras will be welcome inside, a rarity for the National Historic Landmark.
Residents don't always take the time to explore places in the city the way visitors do, which is what Be a Tourist is all about, Guthrie says. Getting people into attractions during the free event not only encourages residents to return to those venues for new exhibits, but also to help promote them to family or friends coming to town. Familiarity with local attractions helps with that.
“We want Fort Wayne residents to become great ambassadors for the museums, the attractions, the amenities we have,” she says. “We want when your aunt comes to visit, you have the confidence to say, 'Oh, we have to go down to the botanical conservatory. I know it's great, I was there a few months ago, you're going to love it.'”
Some of the participating venues including Science Central have limited or reserved entry and other pandemic protocols in place such as mask requirements. For the latest details, go to www.visitfortwayne.com/events/be-a-tourist.
If you go
All hours are noon to 5 p.m. Sunday unless otherwise noted. Download passports for free entry at VisitFortWayne.com.
African/African-American Historical Society and Museum, 436 E. Douglas St.; deadline has passed for appointments for Sunday, but future tours can be scheduled by calling 467-1457 at least seven days in advance
Allen County Courthouse, 715 S. Calhoun St.; noon to 4 p.m.; cameras welcome
Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza
Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, 300 E. Main St.
Diocesan Museum; 1103 S. Calhoun St.; also visit Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception from 1 to 4 p.m.
Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd.; includes self-guided tour, organ music on the hours and a history skit on half-hours
First Presbyterian Church, 300 W. Wayne St.; includes self-guided tour, art exhibit and organ music
Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St.; noon to 4 p.m.; includes free concert by Those Two Guys In Suits & Ties on the outdoor terrace from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
The Freemasons Hall, 216 E. Washington Blvd.; includes guided tour
History Center, 302 E. Berry St.
The Landing, 100 block of West Columbia Street; guided tours start from east gate every 30 minutes
Lincoln Tower, 116 E. Berry St.; includes self-guided tours of the lobby; rooftop deck and basement vault will not be open
Little River Wetlands, 6801 Engle Road; includes Monarch Festival at the Eagle Marsh Preserve Barn
Memorial Coliseum; 4000 Parnell Ave.; includes self-guided behind-the-scenes tour
Old Fort, 1201 Spy Run Ave.; includes live demonstrations of blacksmithing, spinning, gardening, cooking and games
Promenade Park, 202 W. Superior St.; includes outdoor games; mobile sensory tent will be available in 15-minute sessions
Science Central, 1950 N. Clinton St.; first-come, first-served tickets can be reserved online at ScienceCentral.org or at the door
Trinity English Lutheran Church, 450 W. Washington Blvd.; includes block party with organ recitals, free hot dogs, petting zoo and face painting
Visitors Center, 927 S. Harrison St.; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.