In more than 100 locations around the country, ThrillZown's staff facilitates adrenaline-filled excursions full of extreme water, air, and land adventures. Under the supervision of experts, brave souls defy gravity as they skydive, hang-glide, bungee jump, or play films of apples falling off trees in reverse. On land, crews harness the power of horses, stock cars, and snowmobiles; in the water, groups navigate whitewater rapids or explore aquatic depths as they scuba dive or surf.
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.
Between the stately walls of engine house #3, generations of firefighters stood guard around the clock from 1893 to 1972. Currently, the museum hosts exhibits, artifacts, and a fire-safety learning center. The garage has a variety of classic fire trucks, including the 1848 Button Hand Pumper, which served loyally for the better part of four decades, and the 1942 International Engine, which has been beautifully restored for parades and occasional Slip 'n Slide parties. Aside from gazing at the old-fangled firefighter tools of yesteryear and gleaning historical nuggets, you and your guests will also gather tips and tricks for preventing fires, controlling fires, fighting fires, and helping fires with marital problems.
Opened in February of 2000, the African/African-American Historical Museum aims to educate and promote understanding of the African Diaspora and its impact on American history and culture. Spanning two floors of the historic John Dixie building, the museum chronicles African-American progress from the early days of slavery to the continuing milestones of today. Along the way, all ages, colors, creeds, and extraterrestrial tourists will be treated to fascinating stories of the Underground Railroad, important inventors, civil rights activists, and local pioneers such as William E. Warfield, who published the first black newspaper in the area called the Fort Wayne Weekly Vindicator. Even more priceless are Warfield's voluminous diaries, which detail daily events in Fort Wayne from 1909 through 1936. Meanwhile, the sports archive on the second floor is designed with a miniature football field and basketball court, with pictures, artifacts, and trophies of local sports legends.
Inhabiting the former Auburn Automobile Company's national headquarters, the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum brings visitors up to speed on highway history through interactive exhibits and a collection of more than 120 cars from the 19th and 20th centuries. Six galleries of fine automobiles adorn the space, each with a different theme and rotating assortment of retro roadsters. The Gallery of Classics houses a 1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy convertible sedan, one of only 32 such examples bodied by the Walter M. Murphy Company that year. Non-automobile galleries range from a Clay Model Studio and a Hall of Technology to the original Auburn conference room, honoring art deco ingenuity with classic built-in banker’s lamps and chalkboard sketches for a flying car powered by the sound of jazz trumpet.