Dayton, Ohio, is famous for its extraordinary heritage of innovation: historic residents Orville and Wilbur Wright were the first to build and fly a power-driven, heavier-than-air machine; James Ritty invented a mechanical money drawer that is now called the cash register; Poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar broke through racial barriers to write literature that was widely read by both white and black audiences; and Charles Kettering invented a self-starter for automobiles.
The Old Courthouse Museum has excellent exhibits on Dayton natives Orville and Wilbur Wright and cash register founder John Patterson. Wright Hall, in Carillon Historical Park, has the 1905 Wright Flyer III, the actual plane that the Wrights used to learn the fundamentals of controlling a powered aircraft. While in the park, you can also see a replica of the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop, two pioneer era homes, a schoolhouse, a train station, and a 1930s print shop. The 50-bell Deeds Carillon is also on display.
The Dayton Museum of Discovery contains new hands-on science exhibits, planetarium shows, an Egyptian mummy, dinosaur bones, and more. Antique car lovers will think they have traveled back in time when they visit the Citizens Motorcar Company: America’s Packard Museum, where beautifully preserved Packards are housed in a vintage Packard showroom filled with artwork and authentic artifacts. Dayton’s Trapshooting Hall of Fame and Museum houses one of the largest collections of target shooting memorabilia in the country. If landscaping is your interest, there is much to learn and something to eat at the Cox Arboretum’s Edible Landscape Garden. Children will want to visit the Wild Ohio Zoo.
You can visit Carriage Hill Farm where volunteers demonstrate sheep shearing and, in the fall, cider making. To see how some of the area’s earliest inhabitants lived, take a trip to SunWatch 13 Century Indian Village, an archaeological site, where you can watch demonstrations of corn grinding, gardening, and bone tool-making.