Did you know that Dayton Ohio was the hot bed of innovation in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s? What’s happening there today that is attractive for midlife travelers.
In the early 1900’s, Dayton had the most patents per capita of any American city. It was home to one of the world’s greatest concentrations of scientists and technicians. A sixth of all corporate executives had spent a portion of their careers in the city.
What was invented in Dayton Ohio? For one, the airplane. While the Wright Brothers first flew their famous invention at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, all the planning, building, testing, and funding was done in their hometown of Dayton Ohio. Other inventions that had their origins in Dayton Ohio included the cash register, the automobile electric starter, the ring pull mechanism on a can of soda, refrigerants and air conditioning, the electric wheel chair, the modern parachute, magnetic strip technology for credit cards, stealth technology for aircraft, barcode scanners, batteries used on satellites and even scratch and sniff stickers.
My only familiarity (until recently) with Dayton Ohio was through my dad. He spent a lot of time in the 1960’s working there on government contracts representing the Lockheed corporation with the Air Force. All he would say was, “Dayton is a boring town,” and “You wouldn’t want to go to Dayton.” Needless to say, his comments did not encourage any future visits on my part.
So why did I visit Dayton Ohio? Because my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson just moved there. My son-in-law is a civilian engineer with the Air Force and was transferred to work on robotics (more innovation) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. I flew out out from California for a few days to check out their new home and offer some help for them as they got acclimated to their new home.
Right away, I found that Dayton Ohio in early March is COLD!! The kind of cold that burns your face. Also, Dayton Ohio has great cloud formations because there are no hills to block the wind patterns.
And there are a ton of things named Wright.
Like many old towns, Dayton Ohio is going under a modern resurgence of updating and restoration. There is a lot to see and do there for midlife travelers– even if you are just passing through. We had to work our schedule around a two year old’s nap time, so we stretched out our touring. But a midlife visitor could easily pack in these sites in just a day or two:
National Air Museum of the US Air Force: The 10 galleries present military aviation history, boasting more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles on display — many rare and one-of-a-kind — along with thousands of historical items and powerful sensory exhibits that bring history to life and connect the Wright brothers’ legacy with today’s stealth and precision technology. We really enjoyed the World War II planes and stories; the museum is celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid next month in April 2017. We also liked going aboard the four Air Force One aircraft used for Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Johnson.
Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park: The highlight here was the Wright Brothers Bike Shop where they worked on the plans for their airplane.
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery: An interactive science learning experience which enriches the lives of children and adults, enhances the quality of life in the community, and promotes a broad understanding of the world. In other words, it is a children’s dream come true for discovery; not to mention a place of learning or relearning for grandparents.
Another famous tourist attraction is Carillon Historical Park — a showcase of the region’s industrial innovations, transportation achievements, and Dayton’s contributions to world progress. So much to see and do there; One can easily spend a whole day We will have to go back when nap time isn’t such a priority.
Dayton Ohio has a lot to offer to the midlife traveler. And for this mother/grandmother, I left for home knowing that my family has a rich heritage to explore in as they begin their new traditions.