Monday, April 30, 2018

Vacation School in Cincinnati and Dayton Ohio

Recent travels brought us to Cincinnati and Dayton Ohio.  We love to learn and explore and as always we are collecting all the National Park Service Passport Stamps we can.  We are proud to report we earned 4 Junior Ranger Badges and a Teddy Bear during our 6 days in Ohio!

Our first stop was in Cincinnati,  William Taft's childhood home is there.  He is one of 5 presidents from the state of Ohio.  Lydia was pleasantly surprised to see Cherry Blossom Trees in the neighborhood as approached the house.  We learned that it was First Lady Nellie Taft who was responsible for planting the Cherry Blossoms Lydia fell in love with in Washington DC and then a few near their home in Cincinnati. We learned of 2 tips from the Park Ranger we met there.
  1. The Gift Shops at the National Parks have a educator discount for homeschoolers, usually 10% sometimes more.  
  2. When we got to Dayton OH we should look at the Aviation Trail and consider earning a FREE Willbear Wright Teddy Bears for visiting the sites.  
Lydia and her Cherry Blossoms
We had to time our visit to Dayton just right. As some of the sites have restricted hours and are only open a few days of the week.  We arrived on Sunday and made the Dunbar House our first stop.  When we visited it was only open Friday-Sundays.  Paul Dunbar was successful African American author and poet and a contemporary to the Wright brothers.  He purchased this him and lived here with his mother until his early death at age 33.  He was best known for his Dialect poetry.  Our Junior Rangers received a patch for completing the work book here and we got our first stamp on the Aviation Trail.
Paul Dunbar's Writing room
Our next stop was "the Bike Shop".  The Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and Aviation Trail Visitor Center is a multi-level visitor center with information about the Wright Brothers, Paul Dunbar and other innovations that have come from the Dayton area.   The building also houses the Parachute Museum on the second floor.  Our Junior Rangers earned the traditional Junior Ranger Badge and received 1 more stamp on the Aviation Trail.

We made a few more stops on the Aviation Trail for our stamps.  We visited the Library at Wright State University Special Collections, where many artifacts from Dunbar and the Wrights were kept.  We got more than we bargained for during our visit as we participated in a fire drill and had to evacuate the building.  We also visited the grave sites for both the Wright family and Dunbars in Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum.  We are not ones to visit famous cemeteries but it presented some great conversations with our kids, without the emotions of a loved one dying.

Wright State University Library Special Collections
A highlight for my husband was introducing our boys to Aviation and Warplane History at the
National Museum of the United States Air Force.  Another stop on the Aviation Trail and not one that was on our original plan but truly memorable.  This free museum houses planes from the entire history of military aviation in 4 attached Hangers.  The National Aviation Hall of Fame is inside as well.  We collected 2 more Aviation Trail stamps here and a new found love for the B-2 stealth jet.

Dad pointing our planes to Caleb
We planned for Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center to be our final stop on the Aviation Trail because we were told they are only site that has Willbears on site, typically we would need to  mail in your stamps and wait for your bear in the mail.  This interpretive center focuses on the Wrights continued development of planes after their initial flight and the training of other pilots.  We had the joy of meeting the same Park Ranger who had given us the tour the day before at the Bike Shop.  Our Junior Rangers earned their flying wings here as well as collected their Willbears.  

Introducing our Willbear Wright bears!
We had a great time visiting the history of Dayton and Cincinnati and there was much we didn't see.  Our goal was to earn the 4 Junior Ranger badges and we did that and so much more.  I know we will return some day to see the rest of the Air Force Museum and perhaps visit Carillon Historical Park.  
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