On October 5, 1905, years of invention and failure culminated into history as Wilbur Wright took to the sky in a craft that soared through the air for 24 miles. More than a century later, just a few miles from the field over which it first flew, the 1905 Wright Flyer III—now designated a National Historic Landmark—spreads its wings at Carillon Historical Park, inspiring visitors with its tale of innovation, persistence, and progress, and the aptly named "Wilbur Wright: A Life of Consequence" exhibit. Nearby, the park's Heritage Center features the year-round Carousel of Dayton Innovation, which contains 31 figures, a 38-foot hand-painted mural illustrating the turn of events in the Wright Brothers flying exhibits, and rides for $1.
As impressive as they are, the airplane and carousel are only a few of Carillon Historical Park’s myriad attractions. Named for the 151-foot-tall Deeds Carillon, whose 57 bells have been pealing since 1942, the campus spreads across 65 acres. Just south of downtown, 30 historical buildings, including the 28,000 sq.ft. Heritage Center of Dayton Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship, draw visitors into Dayton’s past and share in the park's devotion to history, heritage, and progress. Early settlement structures such as the Newcom Tavern—the oldest building still standing in Dayton—sit alongside other original buildings such as an 1815-era stone cottage. The park also includes replica buildings, such as the Deeds Barn and the Wright Cycle Shop, which recreate the birthplaces of the automobile self-starter and the airplane.
The park’s transportation theme continues with an 1835 B&O steam locomotive and an interactive 1/8 scale railroad available to ride on select days for an extra fee and whose train cars carry passengers more effectively than 1/8 scale feet would. Nearby, the first Chevy S-10 truck minted by GM’s Moraine Plant in 1988 mingles with a fleet of vintage and classic autos. After admiring their hulls, visitors can swing by Culp’s Café—named and modeled after the eatery where widow and mother of six Charlotte Gilbert Culp served pies in the '30s and '40s—and order burgers or soda-fountain creations off a '40s-style menu. Before leaving, guests can peruse Wright brothers paraphernalia and items from the park’s 1930s letterpress printing shop at the museum store or sign up for educational programming that teaches lost arts such as candle dipping and butter churning.
Boston's Bistro and Pub takes beer seriously—17 taps pour a rotating selection of global craft brews, and the beer list teems with more than 100 bottles. A beer garden gives its brews a place to roam outdoors, and an onsite brew school teaches beer enthusiasts the finer points of brewing while instilling etiquette and charm into rowdy porters and stouts. Owner David Boston balances this passion for beer with his family's Hungarian heritage, serving a bistro menu of traditional magyar kolbasz sausage, pork kraut, kosher soft pretzels from Rinaldo's Italian bakery, and Zwack slaw and incorporating European meats and cheeses into paninis, pizzas, and spinach salads.
David Boston and his pub trace their history back through the coal mines of West Virginia and the factories of Ohio, en route to West Dayton, where in 1927 David's ancestors set up their own business, the Ole Time Bar, on Fifth Street. Boston's Bistro and Pub is the family's latest culinary enterprise, now carrying the torch for fine, frothy brews and Magyar delicacies for more than 30 years.
One fateful day 24 years ago, a group of doomed souls got lost amid the shadows of 22 acres of wooded land and were never found. Each year following that, more and more people met the same fate. Dayton Scream Park dares guests to gather their courage and walk?or run?down the haunted trail where these souls were last seen, confronting characters from horror movies and being chased by four-wheelers that were deprived of their afternoon nap. During the 30-minute adrenaline-filled adventure, participants encounter more than 30 scenes and more than 40 live monsters that will soon join their nightmares.
For wee ones and those who would rather smile than scream, Dayton Scream Park also hosts Hillbilly Hayrides that set out in the crisp autumn air, while the sun is still duct taped to the sky. In addition to free parking, the amenities include onsite concessions for fortifying the strength of those who have fainted.
The DVIDA-certified instructors at Always Ballroom Dance Studio believe that dance can benefit anyone, and uphold a policy of total acceptance across experience levels. On the glossy scape of blond hardwood floors, they monitor shimmies in both private and group lessons, prepping couples for their wedding-dance debut or showcasing a stock of nightclub moves. Pupils needn't reserve a spot or have a partner to attend most group sessions?the studio provides everything down to airsickness bags for soaring spins, and accommodates diverse tastes with more than 20 dance styles on its syllabus. Special events such as lock-ins and Salsa Saturdays top off the swinging schedule.
Winning best haunted house in Active Dayton's 2011 Best of Dayton awards and lauded by the bloggers of Ohio Valley Haunts for a "very loud soundtrack [that] assaults the senses in accompaniment to the various atrocities," the designers of Dayton's Haunted Butcher House horrify guests with new macabre spectacles each year. Characters, such as clowns wielding meat cleavers and the undead springing forth from oversize jack-in-the-boxes, are just some of the haunts that have rattled visitors in years past on the unguided tour. To further heighten fear levels, the building itself becomes another character, confounding the living with moving floors, strobe lights, and mysterious voices that predict another year of slow economic growth.
There's seldom a silent moment at Dayton Center Courts and Tennis Academy. Ten indoor courts and four outdoor clay courts reverberate with the metronomic sound of baseline rallies and shuffling feet. On these courts, players of all abilities?ranging from "casual" to "serious" to "advanced"?take advantage of instructional clinics and lessons or they can join a league to get more match play. Kids as young as 4 begin their path to aces and winners in the junior program, which uses modern training techniques such as custom balls that make it easier for youngsters to learn proper mechanics. Ball machines facilitate independent practice sessions, and a pro shop equips players with new rackets, shoes, and strings, which make air-guitar sessions look more realistic.