Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown

By Rachel Martin

September 9, 2012 Updated Sep 9, 2012 at 6:24 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Have some free time, but not a lot of money? Instead of traveling for a vacation, why not take a ‘stay-cation'? That's the idea behind "Be A Tourist in Your Own Hometown."

It's Innett Smith's birthday. To celebrate she visited downtown Fort Wayne.

"I was raised in Fort Wayne, but to visit--maybe about five times,” she said.

Innett and her friends are taking advantage of the 14th annual "Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown,” put on by Visit Fort Wayne with numerous local sponsors. With a free passport obtained from Kroger or Scott’s, visitors are allowed entry into 12 different museums around downtown Fort Wayne from 12 to 5 p.m. The only cost is a passport stamp.

Their first stop was the Botanical Conservatory, someplace Innett and her friends have never been before. Walking through the gardens they took pictures of exotic flowers, colorful fish, a waterfall, and a giant cactus.

"The waterfall. That is probably my most favorite,” said Innett’s friend, Charita Smith.

"Definitely the cactus trees,” said Wade Holley. “Just that desert scenery kind of got me. I've been to Arizona, so it's shocking to see it here, such tall ones at that."

Innett says her favorite but also the waterfall, but she enjoyed everything the Conservatory had to offer. “It's just a beautiful place to take pictures,” she said.

But their tour is far from over.

"I intend to get my passport stamped at every location,” said Charita. “It gives us a chance to be able to come out do these things for free. It gives us a chance to see people come from everywhere to visit our city."

Their next stops: The African American History Museum, Science Central and the Lincoln Tower—all before a celebration with family and friends.

"We're doing downtown, it's a free day for the day and I'm just having a happy birthday!" said Innett.

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