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Life’s Better Here in Van Wert County

VAN WERT COUNTY, Ohio. (WPTA21) — It’s almost summer and that means it’s time once again to hit the road and explore all the fun that 21Country has to offer.

We were in Van Wert County during February shooting a special report for our spring weather feature, but we didn’t get a chance to see much of the town of Van Wert.

On this trip, we did a bit more exploring. Our travels first took us to the Wassenberg Art Center, housed in what used to be a National Guard Armory. Director Hope Wallace told us the story of its restoration.

“The art center was looking for a place to move to, and at that time, the building was slated for demolition, and in the last week we were able to save it from the wrecking ball and able to purchase it and convert it into the art center,” Wallace said.

The permanent exhibit on display is entitled “Faces of Little Bighorn,” featuring portraits of 72 survivors from the battle of little bighorn. Numerous other exhibits rotate through the art center from time to time.

“On the other side of the gallery we change out about every month for various curated exhibits, invitationals, all sorts of things,” Wallace said.

The convenient downtown location of the art center meant it wasn’t a far drive to our next stop. It was lunch time and we was in search of a tasty local meal. Nothing says summer like a restaurant with a carhop, so B&K Drive-in had to be the pick.

We made a quick stop and got a pretty classic combo: hot dog and some french fries. And their root beer is the perfect thirst-quenching beverage for a hot summer day.

Fully nourished, we continued on to our final visit of the day. Kids may be looking for something a little bit more stimulating, and Smiley Park has just the destination.

The children’s garden and butterfly house sits on one acre of land, filled with beautiful flowers, buzzing bees and colorful construction.

The garden’s purpose is to teach kids about the wonders of nature and maybe inspire some future gardeners. It’s an excellent resource for some hands-on learning.

It seems no matter what age you are, you’ll find something you enjoy doing here.

Caleb Chevalier

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