At Gentle Breeze Hot Air Balloon Co., a team of commercially rated, FAA-certified pilots whisk passengers skyward on journeys over southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. One-hour flights take off from Warren County Airport and travel as high as to 2,000 feet, where visitors can take in panoramic views and snap pictures. Retrieval crews track each trek from the ground and transport guests back to their meeting location.
Along with standard flights, Gentle Breeze’s team hosts specialties such as private couples flights followed by champagne toasts, Hummer or Escalade limo rides to launch sites, and voyages over Cincinnati and Dayton’s metro areas. The captains also lead balloon rides over passengers’ houses and the homes of their enemies, and enliven soirees with brief sightseeing rides that reach 100 feet.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
Step inside the unassuming Victorian walls of Creativities' hands-on studio, where artists of all age levels and skill levels hone their crafting skills across a wide range of mediums. Give yourself or your youngsters some tactile stimulus through projects utilizing beads, clay ($3–$10), metal, wood ($3–$10), paper, textiles, and more. Once you cover the modest studio fee for each artist in your party ($8 per person for two hours), make yourself cozy anywhere in Creativities' comfortable reaches and become an insta-engineer by assembling a wooden train kit ($5), a ribbon expert with a ribbon headband ($10), or another type of expert craftsperson via the crafty items available for purchase in the store. Let your mind relax, and simply see where your hands, brains, and optional monocle take you. If you experience a creative block, or any other block-sensation, the friendly, artistic staffers will be happy to assist. If the muse strikes most at home, pick up a few supplies and relocate to your home kitchen, family room, or crafting dungeon.
For more than 15 years, Star Cinemas has screened new and recent releases in its clean, well-maintained facilities. The family-owned theater, with locations in Hillsboro and Grove City, offers handicap access and hearing-impaired service and is conveniently located near major highways and out of the sightlines of roving T-1000s.
At Rule 3, players hurl orbs down 14 hardwood lanes before refueling with food and arcade entertainment. During bowling bouts, vivid flat-screen monitors keep competitors honest and prevent scores from parading as Scrabble letters. Between sets, players can roll more compact spheres with a choice of Balley pool tables ($1.25/game) or mini-bowling games ($1–$2/game). The full menu fills hearty appetites with entrees of Yankee pot roast ($10) and homemade mac ‘n’ cheese ($8) and highlights six different kinds of fries that diners can choose to load 15 different ways, including Buffalo style, Ragin’ Cajun, and Jamaican jerk.
It began with a simple camping trip in 1910. Carl B. Kern led a group of 12 young men on a hike from Lebanon, Ohio, to a small camping area along the Little Miami River. Naming the area Camp Ozone, since there were no signs of civilization, Kern continued to bring campers back there each summer until he died unexpectedly in 1917. Camp Kern – YMCA is now located on the original spot where the first group of campers stayed. It has grown from a boys-only summer camp into a 485-acre, coed, year-round facility that offers everything from summer camps to zipline canopy tours.
Some things at the camp haven't changed, though. As part of the YMCA of Greater Dayton, the camp's staff members continue their mission to strengthen kids, families, and communities by teaching core values. They lead outdoor education sessions where students explore Native American mounds built 2,000 years ago and gather 500-million-year-old fossils to learn about nature and what hats were popular in prehistoric times. Ranch camps teach equestrians how to care for horses, whereas family and adult programs revolve around archery, canoeing, and climbing.
The crew also hosts literary-themed summer camps, including one that immerses kids in the world of the Ranger's Apprentice book series by John Flanagan. The author visited the camp in November 2012 and told WDTN 2 News, "I had no idea that you were actually recreating and enacting so many parts of the Ranger legend…I think it's fabulous, I wish I was a kid and I wish I could do it."