Heading north from Cincinnati to Dayton to take in the area’s aviation heritage is a great way to spend a day, weekend or longer. With many attractions drawing on the contributions the Wright Brothers made to aviation and history, you’ll learn about their lives and work as well as the history of the United States Air Force and others who contributed to aviation at family-friendly locations.
The Aviation Trail was founded in 1981 as a not-for-profit to use Dayton’s aviation heritage to market the region-beginning with the Wright Brothers 1903 first flight through the cutting edge history on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
The Aviation Trail Driving Tour features 13 sites that the family can enjoy:
1) Wright Dunbar Interpretive Center and Aviation Trail Visitor Center
2) Aviation Trail Parachute Museum
3) The Wright Cycle Company
4) Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum
5) Carillon Historical Park
6) Wright “B” Flyer-at Dayton Wright Brothers Airport
7) Historic WACO field and WACO Airplane Museum
8) National Museum of the United States Air Force
9) National Aviation Hall of Fame
10) Wright State University
11) Wright Brothers Memorial
12) Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center
13) Huffman Prairie Flying Field
Here are some highlights of stops along the trail (from www.daytoncvb.com)
Aviation Trail & Parachute Museum
16 S. Williams St.
(located in the National Park Service’s Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center)
Dayton, Ohio 45404
(937) 225-7705 | Museum: (937) 443-0793
Recapture the history of flight on the Aviation Trail’s driving tour. Included among the stops is the Parachute Museum, located at the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, where you can learn how the parachute was invented right here in Dayton. Be sure to ask for a “Wilbear Wright” passport here. Visit just 7 of 15 of Dayton’s amazing aviation sites and get your passport stamped. We’ll mail you your very own “Wilbear Wright” aviator teddy bear! Parachute Museum: Free. Some stops along Aviation Trail have fees.
The Wright Cycle Company and the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center
16 S. Williams St.
Dayton, Ohio 45402
A designated National Historic Landmark, the Wright Cycle Company on South Williams Street was the place where the Wright Brothers first dreamt of man in flight. The Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, located in the same building where the Wright Brothers operated their printing business, showcases exhibits that explore the lives of the Brothers and Orville’s high school classmate, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. Learn about the life and legacies of these three men through a film and fascinating hands-on displays. Free.
Carillon Historical Park
1000 Carillon Blvd.
Dayton, Ohio 45409
The 28,000 square foot Heritage Center of Dayton Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship joins the 30 historical buildings spread across this 65-acre campus devoted to history, heritage and progress. See the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world’s first practical airplane, and a National Historic Landmark; Dayton-made cash registers, train cars, automobiles and bicycles, the largest carillon in Ohio, and ride the Carousel of Dayton Innovation.
Mon. – Sat. 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. Adults $8, seniors $7, children 3-17 $5. Children under three and members are free.
Wright “B” Flyer at Dayton Wright Brothers Airport
10550 Springboro Pike
Miamisburg, Ohio 45342
Ride a look-alike reproduction of the Wright Brothers’ 1911 Wright B Military Flyer, the inventors’ first mass-produced aircraft, or try the flight simulator, located in the hangar-museum. Tues., Thurs. and Sat. 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Free. (Wright B Flyer rides with an honorary aviator membership fee.)
National Museum of the United States Air Force
1100 Spaatz Street
Gate 28B, enter on Springfield St.
Dayton, Ohio 45433
937-255-3286 | Fax: 937-255-3910
Flight enthusiasts will find more than 360 aircraft styles from several eras at the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world. Explore space aircraft, presidential planes and fighter-jets, as well as the new NASA Space Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer. Daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free.
To download a map of the Aviation Trail, which includes information about each attraction including hours and admission (if any) in advance, visit www.aviationtrailinc.org.