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.
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.
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.
Dixie Twin Drive-In transports moviegoers back to the 1950s with a constantly changing selection of first-run films on two outdoor screens, one 120’ x 52’ and the other 100’ x 65’. Cars pull into the drive-in’s tree-enclosed grounds and tune into a private FM radio station, which provides the audio accompaniment to movies’ car chases, star-crossed love affairs, and alien invasions wedged awkwardly in the middle of historical biopics. The theater starts the season with weekend screenings, then kicks into full swing with daily screenings during the warmest weeks of summer.
At Rollandia Golf Center, players hone their game on a verdant 18-hole course with 2,800 yards of fairways—coached along the way, if they wish, by PGA-certified instructors. Visitors also can focus on their swings at a driving range with heated and covered stalls that is open year-round.
Practice Yoga on Fifth focuses on Ashtanga (breath synchronized with fixed postures) and Vinyasa (linking movement with breath) yoga styles, emphasizing the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of the practice. The staff of talented instructors teaches a varied set of classes appropriate for both beginners and yogis more bendable than taffy warmed in a British child’s pocket. A drop-in beginner's class (currently offered Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m.) takes a slow, gentle pace to acquaint brand newbies with postures, and open-level Vinyasa teaches accessible endurance-building, flexibility-enhancing sequences in a room heated to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. More-advanced classes include Hot Vinyasa—a sweaty, stretchy 90 minutes of challenging poses in 95-degree heat—and the Ashtanga primary series, a fast-paced sequence of 72 postures with synchronized breath. See the schedule for dates and times.