As autumn winds sweep over the pools of the Splash Moraine water park, the summer crowds flee from the coming of Slash Moraine—a terrifying yearly event that transforms the park's beaches into haunted swamps. Live actors garbed in gruesome attire prowl the abandoned grounds searching for groups to scare under the flashing strobe lights as macabre scenes of ghouls, ghosts, and foul play further play to humans' natural fear of pageantry.
The YMCA of Greater Dayton branch began before the Civil War, but disbanded when war struck. Re-founded in peacetime, individuals and families have gathered at the Y for more than 140 years to enrich themselves through health and wellness programs. Eleven campuses serve the entire community—babies as young as 6 weeks old can attend childcare programs; kids can take gymnastics and soccer lessons; teens can develop their leadership skills; seniors can keep fit through Active Older Adults exercise classes; and the whole family can enjoy the pool.
The history at Victoria Theatre stretches back to 1866, when the "Magnificent Edifice" was first built at First and Main Streets. Its halls have hosted entertainment luminaries of many eras, including Harry Houdini, Mark Twain, and Socrates during his I Know That I Know Nothing comeback tour. In 1975, it was named to the National Register of Historic Places, a list where the Italianate structure still resides well into the 21st century.
Today, the Victoria Theatre hosts performances by many of Dayton's arts organizations—including the Dayton Ballet—as part of a full slate of compelling entertainment choices. The Victoria Theatre Association's ongoing programs include the Premier Health Broadway Series, PNC Family Series, and Cool Films, as well as concerts, variety shows, and comedy sets.
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.
The Gallery for Young People offers summer art camps, field trips, and classes for kids and teens, helping them create art using a variety of media. Kids aged 3–5 start out by working with charcoal, paint, pastels, and papier-mâché. As students get older, lessons become more challenging, encouraging them to craft mixed-media self portraits and study printmaking. The studio also hosts exhibitions of the children's work to showcase their unique accomplishments.
The seasoned performers of Piccadilly Circus dazzle audiences of all ages with 90 minutes of acrobatics, comedic high jinks, and trained animals beneath the big top. Audiences gasp at high-flying trapeze artists swooping through the air with the confidence of a kite in a wind tunnel, as well as contortionists able to bend themselves into human bonsai trees. Death-defying motorcyclists roar into a caged globe to perform a 360-degree display of vehicular mastery. Gaggles of clowns coax out chuckles, and a trained elephant parades around the ring, occasionally stopping to memorize an audience member's phone number. General-admission seating surrounds the ring, allowing ample viewpoints from which to observe the boisterous spectacle.