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.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
Patty first discovered rock climbing in college. “I got sucked in right away,” she says. Before long, she found herself marrying a fellow climber—a man she met at Climb Time back when it was still managed by the original owners who also blended their relationship with climbing. “They got married at the gym,” Patty says, describing how the first owners scaled the roof to say their "I dos." Though Patty and her husband didn’t exchange rings at the top of a wall, they did decide to buy the gym.
The expansive arena challenges climbers with a 24-foot climbing wall, where novice and expert mountaineers alike grasp handholds with chalked palms or coax a gorilla to carry them up piggyback style. Along the other side of the facility, Patty and crew dare climbers to test their strength on a wide array of 15- to 60-degree bouldering inclines that sit above moveable pads to cushion jumps or falls.
Nestled in a snug turquoise storefront, the Little Art Theatre festoons its silver screen with independent flicks and films helmed by local auteurs. Cineastes can treat peepers to current and upcoming features, such as the Ewan McGregor–starring dramedy Beginners, or Buck, a moving documentary about Buck Brannaman, the inspiration for The Horse Whisperer and its sequel The Horse Whisperer 2: Whisper Harder. Crafted by an artist more than 50 years ago, six stoic houselights preside over enraptured audiences cushioned in the intimate 180-seat theater. Two cartons of buttery popcorn grease up thumbs for swift up-or-down critiquing, and curious patrons can eat while pondering the projector room’s celluloid secrets.
While most people know how to breathe, very few can do so underwater without the proper equipment and training. In Too Deep Scuba’s open-water PADI certification courses provide just that, pairing classroom instruction with swimming-pool practice dives in which participants don full scuba gear. Students can plunge deeper into the world of aquatic exploration by pursuing other certifications, earning a new status as a rescue diver, master scuba diver, or ship’s mermaid figurehead. In Too Deep Scuba’s team also schedules trips where divers can hone their skills in exotic waters, such as Florida’s Crystal River and Bonne Terre Mine. Before excursions, divers can stock up on an array of gear from Pinnacle Aquatics, Cressi-sub, Ocean Reef, and other outfitters.
BB Riverboats began with a deceptive motto and a fleet of zero. In 1977, Ben Bernstein opened a restaurant in a converted steamboat, whose motto was “The Romance of Riverboat Dining.” Intended as tongue-in-cheek, the motto instead confused customers, who arrived hoping for a scenic cruise down the Ohio River. To placate his clientele, Ben Bernstein went into business with riverboat industry veteran Betty Blake, and BB Riverboats—named for their shared initials—was born.
Now run by Bernstein’s son, BB Riverboats has increased its fleet to three vessels, including the Belle of Cincinnati, a riverboat outfitted with Victorian details and two climate-controlled decks. On daily cruises down the Ohio, historical narration complements the scenery, while passengers play swashbuckling games and learn to read treasure maps on family-friendly pirate cruises. On the company’s dining cruises, visitors drink in the scenery while noshing on a Hawaiian buffet spread or sampling award-winning wines from StoneBrook Winery. Additionally, holiday cruises honor occasions from Valentine’s Day to Thanksgiving.
It began with a simple camping trip in 1910. Carl B. Kern led a group of 12 young men on a hike from Lebanon, Ohio, to a small camping area along the Little Miami River. Naming the area Camp Ozone, since there were no signs of civilization, Kern continued to bring campers back there each summer until he died unexpectedly in 1917. Camp Kern – YMCA is now located on the original spot where the first group of campers stayed. It has grown from a boys-only summer camp into a 485-acre, coed, year-round facility that offers everything from summer camps to zipline canopy tours.
Some things at the camp haven't changed, though. As part of the YMCA of Greater Dayton, the camp's staff members continue their mission to strengthen kids, families, and communities by teaching core values. They lead outdoor education sessions where students explore Native American mounds built 2,000 years ago and gather 500-million-year-old fossils to learn about nature and what hats were popular in prehistoric times. Ranch camps teach equestrians how to care for horses, whereas family and adult programs revolve around archery, canoeing, and climbing.
The crew also hosts literary-themed summer camps, including one that immerses kids in the world of the Ranger's Apprentice book series by John Flanagan. The author visited the camp in November 2012 and told WDTN 2 News, "I had no idea that you were actually recreating and enacting so many parts of the Ranger legend…I think it's fabulous, I wish I was a kid and I wish I could do it."