Fort Wayne Children's Zoo (FWCZ) is a children's zoo located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Spread over 38 acres, the zoo aims to preserve wild animals and wild places. The zoo is a place where kids can get nose to nose with a goat, families can explore a misty jungle trail, and giraffes roam a vast grassy hillside.
The zoo can trace its origin to 1952, when 54 acres were added to Franke Park in Fort Wayne, to establish a nature preserve. As the preserve became very popular among the local people, the officials decided to construct a full-fledged children’s zoo by 1962.
In July 1965, the new Fort Wayne Children's Zoo was opened on 5.5 acres with 18 animal exhibits. A notable expansion of the zoo was conducted in 1976.
Zoo officials unveiled plans for the Indonesian Rain Forest exhibit in 1992,and in 1994, the first phase of the exhibit, a domed Indonesian rainforest exhibit was opened. The second phase, Orangutan Valley, was opened in 1995, followed by an enclosed tiger forest exhibit in the following year.
The zoo is internationally recognized for its innovative displays, award-winning animal exhibits, and well-manicured grounds.
FWCZ is now home to more than 1,500 animals which include leopards monkeys, Tasmanian devils, dingoes, kangaroos, wallabies, black bear, wildcats, deer, mountain goats, raccoons, and foxes. It is the only zoo to house a Tasmanian devil outside of Australia.
The zoo’s rainforest featuring genuine rainforest trees is a haven for wild animals and birds. The African Veldt in the zoo, replicates the African grassland where one can see zebras, gazelles, birds, giraffes, ostrich, wild dogs, warthogs, and wildebeests, in a natural setting.
The four-acre Australian Adventure in the zoo is another major attraction where visitors can go on a walkabout and meet kangaroos, echidnas, lorikeets, parakeets, and dingoes.
There also is a petting zoo, where a child can hold a chick or feed a goat with his/her own hands. The small train that runs around the zoo is quite popular among the visitors.
Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo organizes several educational programs for kids, adults, families, and community groups.