Wednesday, June 27, 2018

I Took the Kids to Dayton for Fighter Jets, Possums, and Doughnuts

Dayton, Ohio, is only three hours from our hometown, but this is just the second time that the kids and I have visited. We've gone several times to the similarly distant cities of St. Louis, Chicago, and Louisville, but it's only been the last year or so that I've been discovering all that there is to do in Ohio.

And it's not even entirely all about the airplanes!

Well, I guess technically it was all about the airplanes last time we visited Dayton, and it was all about the airplanes for part of this visit, too. I made our first stop the National Museum of the US Air Force, because I'd heard great things about it when I was researching.

It's completely free, people said. It's better than the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, they claimed.

It IS completely free! And it IS better than the Smithsonian!

Check this out! It's part of the malfunctioning propeller that caused the crash of the Wright Flyer, killing Lt. Selfridge. We learned a lot about this last year at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, but I had no idea that there were still artifacts from it!

The kids studied aeronautical charts as part of earning their Girl Scout Cadette Aviation badges, so I made sure that they saw this early example of an aeronautical chart. Can you tell that the route is basically just following railroad tracks? Brilliant, because it's a direct route and allows for visual navigation.

Here's another awesome exhibit. We've studied World War 2 three times in our homeschool (with a fourth run-through scheduled for next year), and once we even spent an evening LARPing the London Blitz. So it was super cool and interesting to see one of the bombs from that Blitz! See the tubes around the sides? Air moving through those as the bomb fell would make a screaming sound, just to make the bomb even scarier.

The kids are supposed to be looking terrified about entering Communist Russia, but I think Syd might be a collaborator...

We didn't have the whole day to spend here, so each kid got to choose one gallery to explore. Syd chose Early Aviation, and Will chose this gallery of the Cold War.

And then I made them pose with a thermonuclear bomb!

Check out the spy stuff! All of these artifacts have listening devices embedded in them. There were plugs, and a watch, and an umbrella, all with hidden microphones!

And these are things that have secret compartments to hold spy stuff! My favorite was the coin with a secret compartment, specially weighted so that it still felt like a real coin.

I found my favorite plane! It's the SR-71 Blackbird. I wish I still had my die-cast metal model of it from when I was a kid.

This is another awesome jet, the F-117 Nighthawk. Stealth planes are my favorite.

Syd was getting progressively louder about afternoon snacks and hands-on museums by the time we'd explored both kids' galleries of choice, so we headed to the car for sandwiches, and then to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery for the rest of the afternoon:

Look what we found--informative posters created by Girl Scout troops! I bet anything that these posters were created by Brownies as the TAP for the Wonders of Water Journey.

There was a really interesting exhibit on the intersection of geology and myths.

And there was an entire small zoo on the second floor!

I love to see how captivated the children are by animals. 

Look how busy the sloth is! It was coming over to eat that carrot stick, and after it had munched it down, it fell back asleep. A woman standing next to me said, to no one in particular, "The sloth is my spirit animal."
Syd has a thing about doughnut shops, so I try to find one for her wherever we travel. This time, we left Boonshoft, found Jim's Donut Shop less than a mile from our motel, and bought ourselves each something delicious. Then it was to the motel for doughnuts and dinner (mostly consisting of doughnuts...) and swimming.

And it turns out that if you're swimming in a motel's outdoor pool a mile from the airport where the Blue Angels are performing tomorrow, then the Blue Angels just might be out for some practice flights while you're swimming. And if they are, they just might buzz your swimming pool!

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