When the Continental Basketball Association went under in 2001, Fort Wayne was without a minor league basketball franchise for six years. Taking the place of the CBA’s Fort Wayne Fury and rescuing countless basketballs from unemployment lines, the Mad Ants arrived as the NBA Developmental League affiliates of the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons—an organization that was originally founded in Fort Wayne. Despite its freshness, the franchise became an instant link to the city’s history when fans chose the Mad Ants moniker as a salute to Fort Wayne’s namesake, General “Mad” Anthony Wayne. Since entering the D League, the Mad Ants have added four more NBA affiliates, including the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic.
Though it's an airy indoor facility, The Crag Indoor Rock Climbing gym gleans its name from the jagged outdoor cliffs that climbing enthusiasts often strive to summit. Designed by a respected indoor rock-wall builder, The Crag safely recreates the excitement of inching up a punishing rock formation. However, not every wall at the facility is so challenging. It's frequently populated by skilled youth climbers and kids as young as 8. The younger climbers at The Crag often become adept through joining the youth climbing team, or by attending the gym's skill-building summer camp, where campers learn to scale walls by practicing belaying, top roping, and stealing Batman's utility belt. The facility's designer also kept adults and seasoned practitioners in mind by creating more than 100 routes that range in difficulty from beginner to more advanced.
Hart City Scuba’s team of dive masters and instructors turn mere waders into full-blown explorers of the aquatic world. They achieve that through group and private scuba programs such as open water diver, rescue diver, and conversational mermaid. In addition, they can mend any dive gear gone awry and fill tanks with fresh O2.
Mud oozes through fingers, toes, and other places mud should never ooze through during Mudathlon, a challenge that puts 3 miles and more than 40 obstacles between racers and the finish line. With multiple stops across the country, Mudathlon transforms its destinations into messy, muck-riddled swamplands, where participants ascend walls, zip down slides, and always end up in the same place—back in the mud. Course marshals stationed along each route keep feet moving in the right direction, and at the finish line, the top three male and female competitors receive Top Mudder awards for finishing fastest while ingesting the government’s daily recommended serving of mud. After the race, individuals and teams gather to celebrate at a country-themed party, which continues the festivities with live music, costume contests, and an abundance of food and beer.
A classic lazy river drifts in a circle around Splash House Water Park's more than 30,000 square feet of deck as visitors soak in the sun in between dips in the water. An undulating wave pool tosses tube-riding swimmers to and fro, and twin waterslides whip riders in high-speed loops before firing them out into a pool of water or a misplaced Super Big Gulp container. Younger visitors frolic in the semi-submerged kids' play zone, constructed of nets, colorful piping, and bright yellow platforms with hidden, water-spewing spouts. Concession stands fuel the continuous fun with cool drinks, hot eats, and room-temperature napkins.
Navigate the skill-taxing 18-hole course while steering clear of numerous rocks, water hazards, and sand traps, which golf balls covet for their naturally exfoliating properties. Before or after hitting the mini-links, guests also can head to the bank of 11 batting cages that collectively feature six baseball pitching machines, four slow-pitch softball machines, and one fast-pitch softball machine. The fully automatic system tosses baseballs at speeds from 40 to 85 mph, giving even seasoned baseballers cause for perspiration.
With the sunrise, Midwest Balloon Rides’ hot air balloons slowly rise into the morning sky for sprawling views of the Indiana landscape. They also take off at sunset, but no matter what time their kaleidoscopic balloons enter the wild blue yonder, a licensed pilot is at the helm. They gently navigate the vessel to ensure a safe journey that doesn’t end up somewhere over the rainbow but back on the ground for a ceremonial toast to celebrate the occasion.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.