The National Museum of the United States Air Force, located on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is a national treasure and is promoted as the largest and oldest military aviation museum in the world. This is one of the top things to do in Dayton and worth scheduling for a full day during your visit to the city. The free museum features changing exhibitions throughout the year and permanent exhibits that chronicle the phases of aviation from the beginning through space travel. There are galleries that showcase the role of aviation in wartime efforts in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, and in Southeast Asia. One of the most impressive exhibits is in the Presidential Gallery, where you can walk inside some of the aircraft used by U.S. Presidents including Roosevelt, Kennedy, Truman, Nixon, Ford, H.W. Bush, and Clinton. Take in a show at the Air Force Museum Theatre, and if you are not sensitive to motion sickness you can enjoy the Virtual Reality 360-degree flight simulator. You will spend most of the day at the museum so plan on a lunch break at the Valkyrie Café or the Refueling Café, which serve a wide range of snacks and meals.
Address: 1100 Spaatz Street, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio
Official site: http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/
The Carillon Historical Park is a fun way to learn about the many innovations that came out of Dayton. The 65-acre park museum has more than 30 buildings and exhibits to explore. Learn about life in the 1700s in the Early Settlement Area where you can take part in candle-dipping, quilting, and musket firing, with period demonstrations, as you stroll through a community of historical buildings. You can see the only operational 1930s letterpresses in the U.S. at The Print Shop and learn about how the disastrous flood of 1913 shaped Dayton at The Great 1913 Flood exhibit. Leave time during your visit to hop on board one of the oldest trains in the world at the James F. Dicke Family Transportation Center and to ride the Carousel of Dayton Innovation, a carousel built in Ohio featuring 31 figures and a hand-painted mural of the Wright brothers’ experiments in flight. Wrap up your visit with a stop for lunch at Culp’s Café at the park.
Address: 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton, Ohio
Official site: https://www.daytonhistory.org