Every time the Darke County Historical Society unearths a new finding, there’s a good chance that the public’s first look at it will come in the exhibition halls of Greenville’s Garst Museum. More than 300,000 American artifacts fill the museum's six wings, many of which were discovered—or rediscovered, as the case may be—over the course of the society's archeological digs, genealogical research, and historic preservation activities.
Among the century-spanning exhibits, the softer side of sharpshooter Annie Oakley unfolds in the Coppock Wing, and antique cannonballs and Humvees speak of the wartime exploits of General "Mad" Anthony Wayne. Down on the first floor, a painting of Chief Tarhe, Grand Sachem of the Wyandots, presides over a collection that focuses on America during the 1700s but leaves room for anachronistic elements such as mastodon bones. The newest exhibit, "Diversity in Darke County: The Story of Longtown," celebrates local history with its visual chronicle of a tri-racial settlement in Greenville.
Aside from the main two-story brick Colonial home—which was built as an inn in 1852, according to Touring Ohio—the society and the museum maintain several properties of historic note. A free, self-guided tour of Bear's Mill and its 800-foot water channel can be capped with a cup of gourmet coffee, and the Lowell Thomas house provides insights into the childhood of the broadcaster and adventurer who once famously dined with the Prince of Wales inside an actual whale.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn up to 500 calories with each go-round.
Despite its name and its kangaroo mascot, Jumpy’s Fun Zone's wide range of attractions offers families more to do than just jump. In the 5,300-square-foot Laser Zone, players shuttle through an industrial warehouse, ducking behind barrels and clouds of fog. Beams of light continue to confound in Laser Frenzy, where kids try to navigate their way through the 18-foot course without breaking a beam. Elsewhere, the eponymous Jumpy Zone’s rainbow-colored inflatables allow kids aged 12 and younger to demonstrate how they’d moonwalk on the moon, as well as slide and climb in bouncy areas.
Revelers refuel with snacks such as pizza, hot dogs, and chips, and give their nimble fingers exercise in the arcade. Additionally, a toddler area gives tykes a safe place to practice walking or talking in pig latin.
Racket-wielding instructors at Schroeder Tennis Center help elevate players' tennis acumen with clinics and leagues for athletes of all ages and experience levels. Children's classes acclimate younger players to the game with smaller-sized racquets and courts, and this helps develop basic, size-appropriate skills at an earlier age. Adult classes range from beginner basic courses to high-level clinics, which teach players to smash tennis balls and small planets into orbit. The facilities include climate-controlled indoor courts—five in the summer and seven in the winter—as well as six outdoor courts.
Stretched across 77 acres, the Waco airfield launched in 1997 on the wings of the Waco Historical Society, a nonprofit organization on a mission to tote the Golden Age of Flight safely into the future. Today, continual upgrades and improvements, plus countless hours from volunteers, have packed the site with more information than ever before. Vintage Waco aircraft, displays, and the history of the Waco company pilot museum visitors through time inside the museum hangar, which joins forces with other buildings—such as a 150-year-old barn¬—to bridge the past and the present. An onsite gift shop stocked with mementos helps soup up memorabilia collections, and, instead of trying to squeeze information from the museum's tightlipped biplanes, visitors can attend the historical society's lectures and workshops throughout the year for extra doses of education.
1930 was a watershed year in the effort to preserve Indiana's state history. For starters, it was the year Julia Meek Gaar donated her personal effects to the Wayne County, Indiana Historical Society. That would have been enough to celebrate on its own, but then the Whitewater Monthly Meeting of Friends donated their historical Friends Meeting House as well. In the decades following those two gifts, local residents have filled out the Wayne County Historical Museum's exhibition halls with their own contributions, both small and large. When viewed together, these gifts paint a vivid picture of Wayne County from the pioneer era through contemporary times.
The museum itself consists of eight buildings, the most impressive of which is a log schoolhouse built in the early 19th century. These buildings house hundreds of artifacts from the museum's permanent collection, including everything from a 3,000-year-old mummy to a restored 1922 Pilot Speedster. More vintage rides grace the museum lawn during cruise-ins?just one example of the many events held here throughout the year. Others include a heritage festival and a haunted-house night, during which the aforementioned mummy comes to life and stalks visitors.