Sure, the sky's the limit in Dayton, but the attractions on the ground are unlimited! Located in Montgomery County, Ohio, the city is accessible from I-75 and I-70, an easy drive through the Buckeye State. The stunning public parks and gardens are full of color, wildlife, and fresh air. Take a day off, hit the road, and check out one or more of the lovely botanical gardens.
Cox Arboretum is on Springboro Pike in Dayton. Within the 189 acres, you can check out the Butterfly House and Ohio’s native species. You’ll see monarch butterflies, painted lady, red admiral, luna moth, and a variety of giant, black, spicebush, and tiger swallowtails. Butterflies in their natural habitat are a serene and lovely sight! Cox Arboretum features 3 miles of walking trails, a children’s maze, education center, woodlands, and conservation area.
Dayton Grotto Gardens
The Grotto Gardens are part of Dayton’s Veterans’ Association Medical Center. It's also affiliated with The Ohio State University’s Master Gardeners project. Located at Tennessee and Gettysburg avenues off State Route 35, you'll enjoy flora, fauna, and waterfalls with natural springs. A castle-like twin-tower building is a centerpiece of this national landmark, complete with flowers, trees, mosses, grass, and ponds.
Smith Memorial Gardens in Oakwood is a small haven — less than an acre — on the corner of Oakwood Avenue and Walnut Lane. Flowers, birds, and butterflies grace the area, and there are monthly activities in good weather. Take a walk, picnic basket, and your camera.
Wegerzyn Gardens offers design ideas to home gardeners, as well as horticultural education and growing techniques suitable for Miami Valley’s environment. Visit the Discovery gardens, woodland, and river areas. Giant pedestal oak is one of the largest trees in the park. Annual events include the First Bloom program in the spring, Mayfair plant sale the first weekend in May, and a yearly garden party. Take a look at the Dougherty exhibit — it’s a structure made from the willow tree branches that were growing on the lakes at Englewood MetroPark.
For Your Future Visit
Among the beautiful gardens, Dayton offers a true look at history. While attractions are closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope you will consider a future visit. The Wright Brothers Memorial on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, commemorates Orville and Wilbur’s tests of their early flying machines in 1904 and 1905. The National Aviation Hall of Fame, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Museum, Huffman Prairie, and Vectren Dayton Air Show are other amazing aviation attractions.
College basketball fans know that Dayton is the home of the NCAA® First Four® — the start of March Madness® and Men’s Division 1 tournament season, held at the University of Dayton.
Whether you live in Dayton or want to get away for a day or two, there are a lot of ways to stay busy. Check out the hotels, restaurants, performing arts, museums, minor league baseball, shopping, and some good ice cream — they’re all here.
Cynthia Shackleton is an Ohio native and freelance writer who enjoys gardening and making summer RV trips along Lake Michigan with her motorcyclist husband and two fur babies.