There’s no better time to explore Dayton, the Birthplace of Aviation...And So Much More. With the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, it’s the perfect time for your family to discover why Dayton is flying high. Ohioan Neil Armstrong not only walked on the moon, he also took along pieces of the 1903 Wright Flyer I to salute the groundbreaking Daytonians, Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright, who invented the airplane and changed the world. Here are 10 ways to explore Dayton!
1Check out bicycles to biplanes at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
Who doesn’t remember their first bicycle? Maybe that’s why everyone relates to exhibits in the park’s Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center that explain how the Wright brothers ingeniously applied bicycle technology to building airplanes. In the 1890s, the Wrights manufactured bicycles and operated a print shop in the Wright Cycle Company, a National Historic Landmark that’s now part of the park. One of their steady printing customers was Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first African-American poet laureate. Stop in his former home and see the bicycle he bought from the Wrights.
2Follow the Aviation Trail from Dayton to the moon
Get inspired by Dayton’s sky-high history by following the Aviation Trail to 17 amazing sites. See where the Wrights practiced flying and try your hand at piloting a Wright Flyer simulator at Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center, then learn to land a lunar module like Ohioan Neil Armstrong by visiting the Armstrong Air & Space Museum. Pick up a Wilbear Wright Aviation Trail Passport at the Visitor Center at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. Get it stamped at just eight of 17 aviation sites to have a free “Wilbear Wright” aviator teddy bear “air-mailed” to you.
3Get inspired by creativity and innovation at Carillon Historical Park
This 65-acre living history museum’s campus contains numerous attractions you won’t find elsewhere. Take a spin on the Carousel of Dayton Innovation, where kids ride on Dayton inventions like a cash register and a pop-top soda can. Sip on beer made from an 1850s recipe at Carillon Brewing Company, the only production brewery in the nation on the grounds of a museum. Marvel at the Wright’s original 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world’s first practical airplane and the only plane designated as a National Historic Landmark.
4See why the National Museum of the United States Air Force is top-flight
You could spend an entire weekend exploring the world’s oldest and largest military aviation museum that wows visitors with an encyclopedic collection that boasts everything from a mockup of the Wright 1909 Military Flyer to the Memphis Belle and a B-2 Stealth Bomber. Walk through Presidential aircraft (like the one that carried JFK’s body in 1963), take the controls in a NASA Space Shuttle, ride a flight simulator and learn about aerospace legends (including Armstrong, Lindbergh and Yeager) at the on-site National Aviation Hall of Fame.
5Watch the sky at the Vectren Dayton Air Show
Watch exhilarating aerobatics at one of the nation’s top air shows that soars with thrilling military and civilian acts. Held every June at the Dayton International Airport, the show features performances by skydivers, aerobatic pilots and the amazing jet teams such as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Navy Blue Angels that blaze through the sky on alternate years.
6Bike the nation’s largest network of paved trails – 340+ miles
Pedal your way from Carillon Historical Park to the National Museum of the United States Air Force along bike trails that connect the city’s biggest attractions. At more than 340 miles, the Miami Valley Bike Trails is the nation’s largest network of paved trails. Rolling through bustling city centers, historic small towns, bountiful farmland alongside rivers and scenic parks, the trails afford a novel way to see the sights. Tip: rent wheels at bike shops or use Link, Dayton’s bike share program.
7Make a splash at RiverScape River Run
Ride the rapids without leaving the city at RiverScape MetroPark. The downtown oasis along the Great Miami River offers a bike hub, café, gardens and city views along with RiverScape River Run, which has smooth-water and whitewater chutes designed for beginning paddlers and expert kayakers, whose playboating flips and rolls routinely entertain RiverScape spectators. Go upriver 5 miles to ride the Class 3 rapids at Mad River Run in Eastwood MetroPark.
8Listen to tunes outside at RiverScape, Levitt Pavilion, the Fraze or the Rose Music Center
What’s better on a summer evening than an outdoor concert? Take in one of the free concerts at two family-friendly, heart-of-Dayton venues, RiverScape MetroPark and Levitt Pavilion. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and listen — or dance — to performances of bluegrass, jazz, R&B, rock, swing and even Big Band music. Levitt Pavilion hosts shows every Thursday, Friday and Saturday throughout the summer. Catch top-name acts throughout the summer at Rose Music Center and Fraze Pavilion outdoor amphitheaters.
9Be a record-setter with the Dayton Dragons
Help the Dayton Dragons baseball team continue its record for the most consecutive sold-out games of any professional sports team. The Cincinnati Reds Class A affiliate grooms star players like Joey Votto and Zack Cozart, while the ballpark delivers major league enjoyment. Dragons’ mascots Heater and Gem hug fans and pose for pictures; staffers organize crowd-pleasing contests like Toddler Races; and night game entertainment includes acrobats, animal acts and fireworks.
10Connect with your kids at Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
Leave it to Dayton to devise a three-for-the-price-of-one destination that combines a children’s museum, a mini-zoo and a science and technology center. Chockfull of play and learn activities, Boonshoft lets budding inventors touch a starfish, build a pyramid and blast through the solar system on a virtual roller coaster ride.
Dayton, Ohio is the Birthplace of Aviation and so much more! In Dayton and Montgomery County, you will find big-city amenities with Midwestern charm and affordability.
Dayton’s hotels are as varied as the visitors who use them. All of our hotels pride themselves on offering world-class hospitality. The area boasts a range of accommodations with varied price points and amenities.
Discover aviation, innovation and excitement in Dayton and Montgomery County. When it comes to events, attractions and things to do, the sky’s the limit in Dayton! No matter how varied your interests may be, there is a wealth of Dayton attractions that are sure to educate and entertain everyone in your group!