This year, Meadow View's maze designers and dungeon masters have designed the eight-acre corn maze in the shape of the city of New Carlisle's Bicentennial and Speedway SuperAmerica logos—though that won't help you much as you gleefully lose yourself in the disorienting twists, turns, and dead-ends at ground level. Along the way, you may encounter figures from the city's past, such as Jesse James, who famously robbed one of his first banks in New Carlisle before giving up thieving and becoming president. Once you've successfully traversed the maze and its litter of minotaurs, you can relax around the campfire in the Kidz Corral, pick up a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch, visit the whimsical Pumpkin House, or take part in the goat walk, among other activities.
The hale and hearty team of instructors at Eco Expedition Educators boast an array of titles and certifications, including wilderness EMT, combat veteran, firefighter, master scuba diver trainer, sail boat captain, and U.S. Coast Guard medic—and there are only four of them on staff.
When participants take classes at Eco Expedition Educators, they gain an in-depth understanding of how to get themselves out of Mother Nature's toughest scrapes. Each guided expedition introduces novices to sticky situations they might encounter when outdoors, then equips them with the knowledge needed to escape unscathed or at least survive long enough to whittle a cellphone out of tree bark.
Entry into the Riverside Jaycees Haunted Castle of Carnage should elicit both fear and feel-good vibes. The fear stems from more than 18 spine-tingling scenes livened by real actors and animatronics, and ripe with fake blood and gore. These screams extend from the haunted castle all the way to an outdoor trail, which has nearly doubled in size since last year, yielding twice as many run-ins with evil clowns, chainsaw-toting ghosts, and clipper-toting tree trimmers who parked at the wrong house. Fueling the feel-good leg of the tour is the knowledge that the haunted castle is a not-for-profit entertainment venue staffed entirely by volunteers, as it has been for the past 25 years. Profits from the castle fund the service projects that the Riverside Jaycees complete each year, which in past years have included making food baskets for needy families and organizing community events for kids.
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.
Permeated with casual elegance, The Wine Gallery festoons its eclectic menu with classic bistro fare in the form of flavorful salads, soups, sandwiches, and specialties. Let the nibbling commence with starters of chips, dips, spreads, breads, and more, such as the cheese plate, a tour de fromage sidekicked by gourmet crackers and olives ($9), or its smokehouse doppelgänger ($9). Like a whole-wheat aqueduct, the mushroom-spinach pizza siphons a steady stream of silver-dollar mushrooms, mozzarella, feta, and provolone ($8). Chew through an English hedge maze of panko-coated eggplant caprese salad, with mozzarella, tomato, and basil ($5 half, $9 full), then celebrate victory with the succulent, spice-rubbed prime-rib sandwich ($8) or Italian basil-chicken sandwich ($8).