Fly me to the moon...
The Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum is off the beaten path a bit. It's in Wapakoneta, which is about 45-50 miles north of Dayton.
Ohio has produced 23 astronauts, and as this museum suggests, Ohioans are proud of this fact and also that Dayton is the birthplace of aviation. This museum explores both.
This museum has a lot of cool stuff to see, such as spacesuits, videos, a moon rock, space artifacts, simulators, and memorabilia from Neil Armstrong. There's also a room lined with mirrors that simulates the vastness of space.
It's dirt, but not just dirt, its a big pile of dirt like you have never seen before!
It is actually an ancient Indian burial mound. If my memory serves me correctly it is the second largest in the USA or something. Don't quote me on that though. It was constructed roughly 800 BC to 100 AD, and is really just a large pile of dirt, if not for the significance. The park district can answer all of your questions about it, if you need to know specifics. But, it is a five minute site to see in Dayton
Miamisburg Mound is on Mound Avenue, one mile south of exit 44 - State Route 725 - and three miles west of exit 42 off I-75
The Dayton Aviation Heritage Center
Yes, the dayton Aviation Heritage National Park honors Orville Wright, Wilber Wright, and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar.... Yeah, the third one surprised me too. Especially since he pre-dates the planes.
It is actually 4 places which make up this national park. The Wright Bros. Stuff is at Carillon Park, Huffman Prarie (on Wright Patterson AFB), and the wright Brothers Cycle Shop. The shop is kind of neat to go to, but not in the safest of locations. The Wright Cycle Company building is located west of downtown Dayton. From I-75 take the Third Street exit and head west. Say a hail mary! Turn left on Williams Street. The park is immediately on your left.
The Paul Lawrence Dunbar stuff is in the same neighborhood. They call the area the Wright Dunbar district. Again, not afe at night. Get directions to the PLD and Huffman Prarie stuff at the web page below.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
The World A'fair Dayton!
One of my favorite things to do in Dayton is eat. And if you take a look at my gut, you will know how much I love to eat.
Each year the pinacle of eating and International Culture come together in Dayton at the Dayton World A'fair. Many cities have International Festivals, so your may be similar. In 2004, it is being held in late may, early june. Each year it differs, and is one weekend only.
In addition to shopping for goods from various countries, and watching performances by the various ethnic cultural groups, you can stuff your face with some of the best food ever! Oh yeah, you can come see the ol' Kdoc at the Scotland booth, and ask for a peek at what's under the kilt.
Scotland has some great food, as do Vietnam, Korea, and Italy. But the best booth there is Japan. Not only do they have great food, but they have Sake! Yep, you can get boozed up in front of the kids at the festival and try your hand at polka dancing or celtic lord of the dance type stuff. It is safe and fun for the whole family, plus it helps you to understand other cultures. Check out the web site for more info, or who to contact. If that's no help, contact the Dayton Convention Center at the number below. Or do www.daytonconventioncenter.com and check out the info there. Or just go to the contact page and stare at the beautiful and dreamy salesperson named Elyse! I would marry her!
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
The riverscape area is the newest attraction in downtown Dayton. The riverscape area is home to festivals in the summer, Laser shows, Ice skating during the winter, and the five rivers fountains (see pic!)
Check out the web page for the schedule of activities, directions, and general questions.
Carillon Historical Park.
Something about this park may ring a bell. Actually it rings 57 of them, in the largest Carillon in Ohio.
In addition to the concerts and festivals that are held there, the park is home to historic buildings, an actual Wright Brothers 1905 Flyer, an aviation heritage museum, the cash register museum, and some old time vehicles. The cost is cheap, about 5 bucks during the season. But, it has some odd hours so call ahead.
The UD Ghetto
Just because you went to college somewhere and partied your ass off, does not mean that you had an experience anywhere NEAR the UD Ghetto party experience.
Now, I'm not saying that you didn't have your share of wild times, but if you're in Dayton any Thursday, Friday, Saturday....hell.... any night of the week please drive through the ghetto to see what I mean.
If you aren't familiar with the UD campus at all, the University of Dayton bought up all of the residential housing surrounding the academic buildings. These are houses just like the one you live in... streets and streets of them. Now imagine each house filled with anywhere from 4-8 college students with a thirst for beer. This is the Ghetto and it's located a mere 2 miles from the closest keg distributor. It all adds up to fun, I'll tell you that much.
At other colleges and universities only frats and sororities can throw house parties and maybe you weren't cool enough to get into those. At UD EVERYONE has a house and just about every party in the ghetto is an open one. Just waltz on in with a smile on your face, go for a big plastic cup and head for the keg. UDers will almost always welcome you with a smile and a beer.
If you are 18-29 you might want to hop on into a party to see what its like. If you are 30 and above, perhaps you would just want to drive through the ghetto to see the action on the streets. If you are an alumni of any age. Get to the ghetto and partake of the BEAST.
Absolute best party nights in the ghetto:
St. Patrick's Day
Last day of finals
Christmas on Campus
Streets in the Ghetto:
Huffman Prairie Ohio Natural Landmark
Huffman Prairie is a 109-acre area, of which of which 78 acres comprise the Huffman Prairie Ohio Natural Landmark, which is located just north of the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, where the Wright Brothers perfected their manned aircraft.
Adjacent is the Huffman Prairie Flying field which is marked by a plaque reading:
Huffman Prairie Flying Field, a unit of the Dayton Heritage National Historic Park, is the site where Wilbur and Orville Wright flew and perfected the world's first practical airplane, the 1905 Wright Flyer III, after their first flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903. The Wright brothers mastered the principles of controlled, powered flight at Huffman Prairie during 1904 and 1905. From 1910 to 1915, they operated the Wright School of Aviation here, training many of the world's first pilots, including many military pilots.
Huffman Dam, spanning the Mad River between Fairborn and Dayton, was built in 1922 as a flood control measure after the flood of 1913 in Dayton. The Huffman Dam is is 65 feet (20 m) high and spans 3,340 feet (1,020 m). This is one of five regional dams built after the flood; the others are Englewood Dam, Germantown Dam, Lockington Dam, and Taylorsville Dam. It is said that the success of these dams helped to inspire the Tennessee Valley Authority a few years later.
The Great Dayton Flood of 1913 is the largest natural disaster in Ohio history. This flood raised water levels some 20 feet over downtown Dayton, killing some 360 people, displacing 65,000 residents, destroying 20,000 residences,
Erma Bombeck's Way
Erma Bombeck was born in Dayton in 1927 and lived here during her early years. She grew up on Hedges Street, and her father was a crane operator in the city. While still in high school Erma got a job with the Dayton Herald, and her future husband worked at the city's other paper, the Dayton Journal. Later she went to college at the University of Dayton and wrote for the school paper.
From meager beginning, Erma Bombeck gained great fame and success. She wrote some 4,000 newspaper columns as well as 15 books, of which most became bestsellers. At her peak, some 30 million people read her columns in about 900 newspapers.
Erma Bombeck died in 1996 and is buried at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.
A plaque nearby reads:
Erma Fiste was born in Dayton on February 21, 1927. While attending Patterson Cooperative High School, she worked as a copygirl for the Dayton Herald. After graduating from the University of Dayton in 1949, she married Bill Bombeck. She returned to the Dayton Journal-Herald as a reporter. Four years later she left the paper to raise three children, Betsy, Andy and Matt. She continued to write part-time from home. In 1965, Glenn Thompson of the Dayton Journal-Herald spotted her column in the Kettering-Oakwood Times and offered her a twice-a-week column. After three weeks he brought it to the attention of Newsday Syndicate. “At Wit’s End” grew to become nationally syndicated in over 900 newspapers. Erma wrote twelve books; nine made The New York Times Best Sellers List. In 1975 She joined the original cast of “Good Morning America” on ABC-TV and appeared regularly for eleven years.
The Ohio Bicentennial Commission and The Ohio Historical Society 2003
Dayton Masonic Temple
A plaque nearby reads:
The first Masonic Lodge in Dayton was founded in 1808, located in the first Montgomery County Courthouse. Various other locations were home to Masons in Dayton, but by World War I, rapid growth of the Masonic community called for the creation of a new Lodge building. Masons of the time, including civic and business leaders of Dayton, conceived the idea of a new Masonic Center located on the hill at Belmonte Park North and Riverview Avenue. Ground was broken and construction of the $2.5 million Masonic Temple began on July 20, 1925. Through contributions from the Masonic community, the tremendous task of raising a majority of the building cost, $1.5 million, was accomplished in merely ten days in 1924. It is doubtful that the Temple could be duplicated given the fact that the large quantities of marble and mahogany and cherry woods used in construction would be difficult to procure today.
The Dayton Masonic Temple was completed and dedicated on April 3, 1928. The building and grounds occupy eight and a half acres on the west bank of the Great Miami River. The firm of Herman & Brown of Dayton was hired to design this imposing building with its unique Grecian Ionic architectural design. Two hundred and fifty rooms and seven auditoriums, each with a pipe organ, are contained within the eight-story building. Throughout the building's history, the Dayton Masonic Temple has been adapted to different situations. With the onset of World War II, a plan for the Temple to become a temporary hospital was put in place. The Cuban Missile Crisis saw the Temple outfitted as a community Fallout Shelter. Today, the Dayton Masonic Temple stands as a solid memorial to Freemasonry and will continue to serve the community and future generations of Freemasons.
Fifth Third Field - Downtown Dayton
Fifth Third Field is named after Fifth Third Bank, which has the logo showing the fraction 5/3... last I checked this was pronounced "Five Thirds." Anyway, Fifth Third Field is the beautiful home of the Dayton Dragons, the Single A affiliate fo the Cincinnati Reds. It was built in 2000 and holds over 7,000 spectators.
The Dayton Dragons have great fans, with some 9 straight years of sellouts and the 6th highest attendance of all 160 minor league baseball teams.
Wright Patterson Air Force Base-Accelerated Runway
Located on Wright Patterson Air Force Base's Area B is the historic "Accelerated Runway." What is accelerated runway? This stop on Wright Patterson's heritage tour, features a long, sloping downhill flight strip that was used in 1942 to test the maximum load takeoff capability of four engine bombers. Why the downhill slope? I can only guess they built the bombers bigger than the engines of the time, so they needed to see if the thing was even able to fly. Or perhaps it was an idea to launch a heavy, bomb-laden aircraft, once in the air, it would drop the bombs, burn fuel, and land easily.
Interesting note: the accelerated runway has also hosted soap box derbies.
Another interesting note: nearby the top of the accelerated runway is the old nuclear reactor. Yes, the air force at one time had their own reactors. This was a small, 10 megawatt reactor, completed in 1965. It was briefly used for scientific research until decommissioned in 1970, and the fuel rods removed.
Clifton Gorge is a beautiful state park about 10 or 15 miles northeast of Dayton, in the village of Clifton near Yellow Springs. The 268 acre park encompasses a National Natural Landmark along two miles of the Little Miami River. The park has about three miles of trails all along the north side of the River.
The gorge was created by glacial melt 15,000 years ago following the last ice age (how's that for global warming?). The hard dolomite stone forms the high cliff walls, 40-50 feet above the river, while the lower layers of rock are shale and softer dolomites, allowing the river to slowly widen its path and create rock falls.
The historical marker at the park reads:
A feature of Ohio's Glacial Past
Clifton Gorge is a classic example of a canyon
cut into dolomite and shale bedrock that dates
to the Silurian Period 400 million years ago.
Created by meltwater released from the retreating
continental glacier some 15,000 years ago. The
cool, moist gorge has maintained a diversity
of native plants, such as the red baneberry
bush, that are now rare elsewhere in Ohio.
The Little Miami River powered grist and
cotton mills, paper factories, and breweries
in the gorge during the nineteenth century.
In 1973 the upper gorge became a state
The Ohio Bicentennial Commission
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
The International Paper Company Foundation
The Ohio Historical Society
Clifton, originally called Cliff Town, was named for the cliffs of the gorge where the town's mills were established. The first mill here was constructed in 1802 to take advantage of the natural force of the Little Miami River as it sped through the narrow gorge. The original grist mill is still standing, five others were built in the gorge, including a woolen mill, saw mill, paper mill, barrel mill and another grist mill.
Today the town is the tiniest of villages with just 179 permanent residents. At one time, in the height of the mill industry, the town had around 600 people, and you can still see vestiges of the past including big churches, schools, and even an opera house! Today the only remaining businesses are the original Clifton Mill, which is still in operation, a post office, and a bed and breakfast.