FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The people of Fort Wayne grabbed their passports and made a trip downtown to take part in the annual Be a Tourist In Your Own Hometown event.
Sixteen attractions in the center of the city opened their doors so people could experience what they have to offer for free. From Science Central and the Botanical Conservatory to Promenade Park, there were plenty of downtown attractions for people to check out. It was an especially neat opportunity for those who don’t often get the chance to explore the city.
“We’re actually visiting here with family and grandkids at Promenade Park,. we have never been down here before so first time experience and it’s pretty cool,” said Melody McIntosh, who was participating in the hometown tourist event for the first time. “I think it’s most beneficial for Fort Wayne residents because you get to see Fort Wayne and all the various aspects of Fort Wayne and sometimes you don’t get out and realize exactly how much there is to do.”
It is not just for people who haven’t been to these attractions before, either. Addison Hartman, 13, said she has been to most of the places on the passport, but she likes seeing how they change over time.
“It’s really cool just to see how stuff looked back then and how it is now and just to kind of compare it,” said Hartman. “It’s really cool just to learn about Fort Wayne.”
Having new and old patrons coming through is good business for the tour stops as well. Even for the places that have been around for decades, it is not uncommon to find homegrown people who have never experienced some of what the city has to offer.
“We see people that for one reason or another have not stopped by,” said Linda Miller, Supervisor of Business Development for the conservatory. “We’ve been here since 1983. For the Conservatory, participating in the Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown just brings a lot of people to our doors and a lot of people to enjoy our gardens and hopefully they will return again”
Miller said that during the tourism event each year the conservatory sees anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 people come through.