Dayton, Ohio, is known as the home of the Wright Brothers, and there are plenty of things to do in Dayton, Ohio, in Montgomery County. With a rich history, Dayton has museums and archaeological places of interest, as well as lots of outdoor activity centers.
Tell Me More About Dayton, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio is the sixth largest city in the state of Ohio. In 2020, the census put the population of Dayton, Ohio, at 137,644, and if you include the Great Dayton, Ohio area, this number swells to over 800,000. Dayton, Ohio, is 50 miles north of the Greater Cincinnati area.
What is the history of Dayton, Ohio
Whilst Dayton is known for the Wright Brothers (more about them in a minute), it is famous for many other things. Dayton was actually founded in 1796 by settlers known as the Thompson family. They traveled up from Cincinnati and landed on what is now known as St. Clair Street.
The oldest surviving building in Dayton is the Newcom Tavern and it housed Dayton’s first church.
The City of Dayton was incorporated in 1805, and it was named after Jonathan Dayton, who was a captain in the American Revolutionary War and a signatory of the US Constitution.
The area continued to grow thanks to the Dayton-Cincinnati canal, and with this construction, Dayton boomed.
Did The Wright Brothers Start Powered Aviation In Dayton, Ohio?
Absolutely! Powered Aviation certainly did start in Dayton, Ohio. Dayton was the Birthplace of Orville Wright – Wilbur was born in Millville, Indiana- and they both passed away in Dayton.
Even though the first flight was in California, the Wright Flyer was built in Dayton, and it also returned to Dayton after the first flight in California.
Further improvements to the Flyer were made in Dayton, and the successive flights continued to take place in Dayton at Huffman Field, which is 8 miles northeast of Dayton.
The Federal government tried to move the development out of state to Southern Virginia. Quite rightly, the locals were not too happy about this, and 6 Dayton businessmen clubbed together and established a flying field. Wilbur Wright also purchased land near Huffman prairie to continue their research.
Below are 12 things to do in Dayton, Ohio:
This is one place where everyone should visit. This is Ohio’s biggest cavern, and it has an amazing stalactite called The Crystal King. The Caverns are quite long and offer over 2 miles of walks. The caverns are also the most colorful caverns in the entire United States.
If you manage to visit in the summer months, there are three tours to choose from. If one of your party has limited mobility, then the Limestone Tour will be perfect as it is totally wheelchair-accessible.
One more important point about these amazing caverns is that the temperature stays at a very cool 54°F all year around, so it can get quite chilly in the caverns. It is best to bring some layers of clothes with you. Read our post about Ohio Caverns.
- Address: 2210 OH-245 E, West Liberty, Ohio 43357
- Phone: 937-465-4017 | Website | Facebook | Instagram
A Short Video Showing Some of The Airforce Museum Displays:
Dayton Airforce Museum
This is an impressively large Museum. It has four huge hangers that host over 150 planes, displays, and missiles. The museum covers the entire history of aviation from the Wright Brothers to the present day.
Their website is fantastic, and it offers a huge abundance of information. The best thing about this museum is that it is free to enter! What better way is there to spend an entire day?
The museum is also stroller and wheelchair friendly and offers food and drink options as well.
- Address: 1100 Spaatz Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45433
- Phone: 937-255-3286 | Website | Facebook | Instagram
John Bryan State Park
This park has been called ´The most scenic park in the Western Ohio area´. This park is over 750 acres in size and has a stunning natural gorge that has been carved out over thousands of years by the Little Miami River. The scenes are amazing, and it brings visitors back again and again.
There is a huge lodge available with a kitchen, plus there are a number of different activities that are available, including fishing, boating, and rock climbing.
There are also two campgrounds and bike trails. The park website has lots of information, including a trail map and a large park map. It should also be noted that well-behaved dogs are very much welcome.
- Address: 3790 State Route 370, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
- Phone: 937-767-1274 | Website | Facebook | Instagram
Five Rivers MetroParks
Do you like nature and outdoor activities? Five Rivers MetroParks is the place to be, and it has so many activities that you will be spoiled for choice. There is every type of trail imaginable in the park, plus several conversation areas, an arboretum, a tree tower, a butterfly house, and a children’s maze. Some of the gardens that have been crafted are specialist gardens.
Carriage Hill Farm offers you the chance to go back to the days of our forefathers. The farm will show how farming was done back in the day, and there are also animals on the farm. There is also an interactive classroom and a horseback riding center.
RiverScape is a nice walk along the Great Miami River, and you can rent a bike if walking is not your thing. The walk has fountains, an ice rink, and a paddle run. Wegerzyn Gardens offers you gardening and cultivation ideas and the opportunity to be quite hands-on.
There is a walk through the ‘Swamp Forestland’ and several gardens to enjoy as well.
Five Rivers MetroParks is a great place to spend some time with family and friends.
- Cox Arboretum: 6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton, Ohio 45449
- Carriage Hill Farm: 7800 E. Shull Rd, Dayton, Ohio 45424
- RiverScape: 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton, Ohio 45402
- Wegerzyn Gardens: 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton, Ohio 45414
- Phone: 937-275-7275 | Website | Facebook | Instagram
SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park
SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park gives visitors the chance to step back in time as life used to be. The lives of the Native Americans were simpler, and visitors will learn more about how the Native Americans lived.
Visitors can also learn more about archaeology. There are programs available for children, and guided group tours also take place.
If you wish, you can also have an overnight experience in a reconstructed 800-year-old house.
The museum guest center is a must-visit place whilst you are here as it complements your visit in more ways than one. Please go on the website to find out more about tours and programs.
- Address: 2301 W. River Road, Dayton, Ohio 45417
- Phone: 937-268-8199 | Website | Facebook | Instagram
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery has a lot to see, do, and learn, with items like Pythons and Astrology. This is a Science Center that is packed with lots of things to do and in turn, lots of things to understand and to learn. The best thing about this museum is that it is fun. There is also a small Zoo that is home to plenty of animals.
The Museum also boasts a tidal pool that is full of marine life. If you check out the website, you will be able to see the different activities and talks that are on offer each day.
Carillon Historical Park
This large open-air museum is over 60 acres. This is the place to learn about the history of Dayton, Ohio. There is quite a lot to see here, including:
- Early Settlement Area
- Heritage Center of Dayton Manufacturing & Entrepreneurship
- History on the Hill & Moraine Trails
- The James F. Dicke Family Transportation Center
- Wright Brothers National Museum
The exhibition is also home to one of the oldest trains in the world, early settler buildings, and other artifacts. The park also has some other types of activities, events, and programs. Please check the website for more details.
This will be a whole day visit as there is so much to do and it will live long in the memory.
- Address: 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton, Ohio 45409
- Phone: 937-293-2841 | Website | Facebook | Instagram
These castles have been around for over 100 years. The castles offer the chance for visitors to learn more about the Piatt family. There are Native American artifacts on show that have an abundance of history attached to them. Both of the castles are fully protected and on the National Register of Historic Places.
The design alone is rather breathtaking, and the small areas of detail are beautiful.
Please note: only the first floor in both castles is suitable for people with limited mobility, and there is a mile between both castles. If you like architecture from a bygone age, then you will love a visit here.
- Mac-A-Cheek Castle:
- Address: 1005 Township Road 47, West Liberty, Ohio 43357
- Phone: 937-465-2821
- Mac-O-Chee Castle:
- Address: 2319 State Route 287, West Liberty, Ohio 43357
- Phone: 937-844-3480
- Website | Facebook | Instagram
Young’s Jersey Dairy
Young’s Jersey Farm is quite well known in the Ohio area for all the different types of fun and games on offer. There is a great activities center, golf range, batting cages, mini-golf, barrel ride, and a sack ride.
The farm also has lots of seasonal events on offer, and if you have ever wanted to know how ice cream is made, then they will show you!
If you would like to know even more, take a look at my Young’s Jersey Dairy article.
- Address: 6880 Springfield-Xenia Rd., Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
- Phone: 937-325-0629 | Website | Facebook | Instagram
Victoria Theatre Association Schuster Center
The Schuster Center is a fantastic Arts Center and is a bit of a local landmark in Dayton as it shares a 16-story tower as well.
The heart of the venue is the 2,300-seat Mead Theatre. It also has a bar, a 6-story glass atrium with palm trees, and a smaller 150-seat theater.
Many shows take place here, including music bands, orchestras, ballet, musical theater, tribute acts, and much more.
We recommend that you check out the website to discover which shows are on offer when you plan to visit.
- Address: 1 West Second Street, Dayton, Ohio 45402
- Phone: 937-228-7591 | Website | Facebook | Instagram
Dayton Art Institute
The Dayton Art Museum is based in a historic building that has long been admired for its stunning architecture. The Art Institute has an array of wonderful exhibits that will warm the soul of the most ardent art lover.
This institute also encourages young children to get involved and become interested in art. The museum offers different exhibits that may require a nominal charge, and wheelchairs are on offer free of charge.
Guided tours are available, providing visitors complete an advanced registration form. The tour is quite in-depth and is highly recommended. Lectures and concerts also take place, and these are advertised on the website.
- Address: 456 Belmonte Park North, Dayton, Ohio 45405
- Phone: 937-223-4278 | Website | Facebook | Instagram
Dayton Dragons Baseball
The team is a Class-A team, so they attract quite large crowds. The average attendance for a game at this ballpark is over 8,000. The food and drinks are great, the sight-line from the seats is also very good, and Heeter, the mascot, loves a bit of fun.
During the season, there may be a fireworks display and some other fun events as well. For certain games, there may be a discount available on the ticket price. Please check out their website for more details.
- Address: Fifth Third Field: 220 N. Patterson Blvd., Dayton, Ohio 45402
- Phone: 937-228-2287 | Website | Facebook | Instagram
Is There Anywhere to Stay in Dayton, Ohio?
If you are planning on staying for a few days in Dayton, here are some hotels that are in the area:
- Marriott at the University of Dayton
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Dayton
- Inn Port D’Vino
- Garnet House Bed and Breakfast
We traveled four hours to Dayton see the two van Goghs on loan at the DAI: our first visit to Dayton. We did not have high expectations for the rest of the museum, but we were wrong. The museum has wonderful collections that are presented beautifully. We had limited time to spend and felt that we short-changed ourselves by not allowing ourselves more time. The museum is beautiful inside and out. Also worthy of mention: the museum staff were the friendliest of any that we’ve encountered. They were just the nicest people: professional but warm, as if we’d made their day by choosing to spend time there. The DAI and its people are gems!Kathela (TripAdvisor)
Cindy’s Insider Ohio Tips!
There are so many fun things to do in and around the Dayton area! My favorites include the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum and also, Ohio Caverns.
Let’s Visit Dayton, Ohio
Have you found your way to Dayton yet? What is your favorite activity in Dayton? We’d love to know what you think about the area! Let us know by commenting below.
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