On the northwest part of town lies the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. It is a great place to visit any time, but especially is nice to visit when it is really cold outside. The museum has 94,00 square feet with areas divided into age-appropriate sections and specific topics. Kids can have fun in the water play area, science central, climbing, visiting the zoo section, pretending to be a vet and much much more. It really is a fun place to go. Tickets are from $10 to $13. Members and children under 3 are free. For more information visit http://www.boonshoftmuseum.org/
I really enjoy hiking around John Bryant State Park, especially on a crisp fall day. Close to Yellow Springs, John Bryant State park contains a pretty cool limestone gorge cut by the Little Miami River. Part of the gorge itself is designated as a national natural landmark. There are a few covered day-use facilities scattered around the park where you can gather wood and enjoy a picnic by the fire, which is really nice to enjoy after a hike. There are ten different trails around the park for all hiking levels from beginner to advanced. There are trails that take you to the top of the Gorge and you get to walk around the rim and there are also trails that take you down along the river. From these trails you can see the rock climbers that come to the park to scale the gorge. You can also camp or fish here too. No matter what time of year you go, John Bryant State Park is a great place to go out and enjoy nature.These pictures are from summertime, as I didn’t get a chance to snap some pictures last week, but it still is very beautiful right now. To get more information on the park visit http://www.johnbryan.org/
If you like to bike, run, walk, or roller blade, you’ll want to take advantage of our local bike trails. The Miami Valley has the nation’s largest network of paved off-street trails with 330 miles of bike trails to explore and enjoy. Pictured here is the Beavercreek station which offers vending machines, water fountains and indoor restrooms. There are several similar stations throughout the Miami Valley trail system. I have really enjoyed running and biking on these trails. It is a great place to take your kids for a ride, walk or run. The trails are wide enough that you can comfortably fit a stroller or trailer and not worry about being run over by fast bikers or runners. Also, these trails, for the most part, are always open and are free. It is so nice to be able to enjoy family time or a workout and not worry about cars. I encourage you to check out http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/ and maps can be found at http://www.miamivalleytrails.org/maps-miami-valley-trails.
Today I highlight Taylorsville MetroPark, one mile east of Vandalia on U.S. 40. One of the great things about this park, as I start thinking about the upcoming winter, is that you can cross-country sky and sled here. But for now, you can go on some great hikes that give you an opportunity to view the Great Miami River and see some rock outcroppings. There are 13 miles of trails where you might get a glimpse of coyotes, deer, beavers, warblers and woodpeckers. These pictures are from a hike on the east side of the park near 2101 U.S. 40. My daughter and I really enjoyed this park. For more information visit http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/Taylorsville/Home.aspx
Today we feature the Hills & Dales MetroPark which is located in Oakwood and Kettering but owned by the City of Dayton. This historic park contains hills and ravines covered in mature and young hardwood forest. Other habitats include an area of spring seeps and associated small wetlands. I am fortunate to go on a hike every Wednesday at 10:00 am with a great group of very knowledgeable people and all are welcome though it is advertised as an adult stroll. As I get to see this park every week, it is quickly becoming my favorite park to visit. Right now the falls colors are just beautiful. In the summer you can see tons of hummingbirds, so I recommend you come back next summer even if you visit in the next few weeks. As quoted from the webpage: The 63-acre Hills & Dales MetroPark is filled with picturesque creeks, rolling hills, dense woods (including an outstanding example of Ohio natural forest), wild flowers, and wetlands, all conveniently located just south of downtown Dayton. Originally a gift from John Patterson (co-founder of the National Cash Register Company), Hills & Dales Park was designed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm, famous for enhancing the natural beauty of a site with their designs. MetroParks has protected the character set forth by Patterson & the Olmsteds. It truly is a great park to visit. I enjoy going their weekly and seeing the park change as the seasons change. As always the MetroParks are free. For more information on this park be sure to visit: http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/HillDales/Home.aspx
Today we highlight the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Area B of Wright-Patterson AFB. This is a great place to visit any day, but on a day like yesterday when the rain kept coming, it is an excellent place to burn off some energy. Not only is this a nice, dry, warm place to visit, but it one of the best aviation museums in the nation and it is free. Now, if you want to see an IMAX film or experience rolls in a flight simulator, you will have to pay for that, but otherwise all the exhibits are free. It has been a couple of years since I last had the chance to visit and there are certainly some new exhibits. The museum does a great job putting in new exhibits all the time and even if it just was the same exhibits the place is so big that you can see something different each time.
One new exhibit is the Space Shuttle exhibit which allows visitors to see a Crew Compartment Trainer and experience the size and shape of an actual space shuttle orbiter by entering the payload bay and looking into the flight deck and mid-deck levels. The museum currently has 8 exhibit galleries and two outside parks to tour. Two of the galleries are on Wright-Patterson Air Force base and you can visit these even if you don’t normally have access to base by signing up for a tour at the museum’s main location. There you can see several old Air Force One aircraft and research and development aircraft. Coming up on Saturday, October 18th, the museum is hosting a family event, Spooktacular, from 9 to 3. Come dressed up and take part in fun experiments throughout the museum. I always enjoy visiting this museum. Every time is a unique experience and certainly worth your time. For more information about the museum visit http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/
Today we visit Wegerzyn Gardens MetroParks just off Siebenthaler Ave in Dayton. One of the most popular parts of this park is the Children’s Discovery Garden. This children’s garden includes major areas of discovery: woods, geology, prairie, wetlands, backyard fun, and skeeter’s garden. This is also where children’s programs are held weekly. In addition to the children’s garden, you can explore the gardens, walk on the Marie Aull Nature Trail and you can also take part in the community garden. I really enjoy this park and so does my 4 year old daughter. For more information on this park visit http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/WegerzynGarden/Home.aspx
Right now one of the highlights of this nature preserve is the butterflies. Monarch butterflies will be on the move migrating to Mexico shortly. This is such a beautiful area to explore. There is the prairie near the front and then you walk through the woods and find a lot of beautiful local plants and trees. Boardwalks along the way help keep you on the trail. Just a great place to go explore.
The visitor’s center has exhibits highlighting life in the 1880s and a county store. I admit I bought some candy corn when I was there and the price while modern was a good bargain.
There is a great short hike around Cedar Lake if you want to stretch your legs and not go too far but you can also do longer hikes as well.
At the historical farm you can experience life in the 1880s. Kids can help with morning chores like feeding the animals and collecting eggs on the third Saturday of the month. This program requires registration and you can register on the Carriage Hill Metro Park page under programs if interested. If you or your family enjoy horseback riding, trail rides are on Saturdays and Sundays for ages 8 years and up and pony rides for 2-8 year olds are on Saturdays; both are offered until the end of October. You can also take riding lessons here.
Every month Carriage Hill has at least one weekend event and this weekend is the September Event. This park is hosting a Country Fair from 10-5 on Saturday and 12 to 5 on Sunday. Activities include a cake walk, pumpkin rolling, recreated livestock auction, pie baking competition, barn dance, children’s games, historical exhibits and much more. Visit http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/CarriageHill/Home for more information on what Carriage Hill MetroPark has to offer. I really enjoyed wandering around Carriage Hill MetroPark and I know you will too, especially as the fall temperatures set in. Happy Wandering!