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Downtown business wins contest with giant octopus, mermaid in winter hat

Published: Friday, December 29, 2017 @ 12:53 PM

K12 Gallery and TEJAS won each category in the 2017 Whimsical Windows contest from the Downtown Dayton Partnership
Photo: Downtown Dayton Partnership
K12 Gallery and TEJAS won each category in the 2017 Whimsical Windows contest from the Downtown Dayton Partnership(Photo: Downtown Dayton Partnership)

A mermaid in a winter hat, her giant octopus pal and a bunch of starfish and creatively designed sea anemone helped a downtown business sweep all categories in a contest that teemed with whimsy. 

K12 Gallery and TEJAS won each and every category in Downtown Dayton Partnership’s Whimsical Windows contest.

>> PHOTOS: Whimsical Windows photo contest entrants

Val Hunt Beerbower said the gallery and art center at 341 S. Jefferson St. will receive $100 for winning each of the three categories — judge’s choice,  an online vote  hosted by Dayton.com and social media contest — for a total of $300. 

They really pushed hard and came up big,” Beerbower said. “It was a really tight race, but K12 pulled it off.” 

This writer served as a judge.  

A record 30 businesses took part in this year’s contest. 

“There are a lot more businesses in general (downtown). That is all good news,” Beerbower added. 

K12 Gallery and TEJAS won each category in the 2017 Whimsical Windows contest from the Downtown Dayton Partnership(Photo: Downtown Dayton Partnership)

Most of the holiday displays will be up through New Year’s. 

Talia Shade, K12’s art education and services manager, said the window was a collaborative effort. 

>> Oregon District restaurant to remain closed after fire

“We just thought an underwater theme would be an interesting take on whimsical,” she said. “It fell into place, then each artist added different things.” 
The display includes a backdrop designed by Jenny Campbell-Roux, a mermaid tail from Lisa Dineen and an octopus paper sculpture from Dayton artist and educator Delora Buford-Buchanan.

>> RELATED: This amazing local art teacher dressed more than a dozen Dayton funk bands

Shade said the money will likely be used to purchase art supplies for the center. 

She said the victories were great suprises. 

“Hopefully this will bring in more artists and more kids,” she said. 

>> New Year’s Eve Guide: The best places in and around Dayton to ring in 2018

K12 Gallery and TEJAS won each category in the 2017 Whimsical Windows contest from the Downtown Dayton Partnership.(Photo: Downtown Dayton Partnership)

K12 Gallery and TEJAS won each category in the 2017 Whimsical Windows contest from the Downtown Dayton Partnership.(Photo: Downtown Dayton Partnership)

K12 Gallery and TEJAS won each category in the 2017 Whimsical Windows contest from the Downtown Dayton Partnership.(Photo: Downtown Dayton Partnership)

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Why these ‘rowdy’ Dayton kids made a real ruckus in the Oregon District

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 2:32 PM

Stivers School for the Arts students took part in a New Orleans-style second line to raise awareness of DVAC’s 24th Annual Art Auction.
Photo: Amelia Robinson
Stivers School for the Arts students took part in a New Orleans-style second line to raise awareness of DVAC’s 24th Annual Art Auction.(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

Oregon District diners simply were not ready. 

A dozen or so rambunctious Dayton kids roamed up and down the district 

and in and out of its restaurants, bars and shops Thursday evening.

>> 10 reasons we love Fifth Street and the Oregon District, and why you should, too

The Stivers School for the Arts students swayed and stepped to the theme from the HBO show “Treme” that two classmates played on a trombone and a trumpet.   

The New Orleans-style second line of student artists was led by Eva Buttacavoli, the executive director of the Dayton Visual Arts Center.

>> Diverse cast of Dayton kids taking on Cinderella and her glass slipper this weekend

>> The region’s premiere arts event showcases the best Dayton has to offer

They carried some of the artwork included in DVAC’s 24th Annual Art Auction, which will take place at 6 p.m. Friday, April 27 at Ponitz Center, 741 W. Washington St., Dayton. 

Tickets for the event are $50 for DVAC members, $60 for nonmembers and $75 at the door. 

INFO & TICKETS: daytonvisualarts.org | 937-224-3822

We were with the students as they made a ruckus in the name of art in a handful of Fifth Street businesses that included  Bonnett’s Book Store; Blind Bob’s; Lucky’s Taproom, Goodwill, Lily’s Bistro and Corner Kitchen.

Buttacavoli gave away free tickets to surprised diners and shoppers along the way. 

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Our favorite things to do in the spring in Dayton

Published: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 2:03 PM

Looking for a summer spot that has all the features of a perfect patio? Check this out! (Image provided by TJ Chumps)
Looking for a summer spot that has all the features of a perfect patio? Check this out! (Image provided by TJ Chumps)

Well, it’s officially spring and has been for awhile. But this might be a weekend that actually feels like spring.

Find your happy place with 10 things to look forward to when the warm sunshine returns. 

>> Dayton Bucket List: 50 things to do this year

Inside the Butterfly House at Cox Arboretum Metropark on Springboro Pike. CONTRIBUTED

1. A WALK IN THE PARK

There's no better way to welcome spring than with a beautiful hike through nature. The Dayton-area has an overabundance of scenic parks and trails, and they each offer something a little different. If you’re just interested in taking in some beautiful scenery, we recommend a walk through the paths at Cox Arboretum or a walk through the beautiful Charleston Falls. Looking for a more rigorous hike? Try the trails at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs. 

>> 6 of Dayton’s best trails to walk in the spring

>> 5 scenic, challenging running trails in Dayton

>> RELATED: Where to take a nature hike in Dayton

>> RELATED: Best undiscovered playgrounds near Dayton

A view from the fountains at The Greene in Beavercreek. CONTRIBUTED

2. A DAY SHOPPING OUTDOORS

There's just something about spending money while also taking in some fresh air. Spend a day at The Greene in Beavercreek for a complete shopping, dining and entertainment experience. Shop in tons of great stores, including anchor store Von Maur. Grab a quick bite at Potbelly or E.O. Burger or enjoy a sit-down meal and drinks at places like The Cheesecake Factory, Fleming’s, Bar Louie, The Pub and more. If you want a more unique shopping/dining experience, head to Yellow Springs instead. The village is known for its unique shops and dining destinations, including Ha Ha Pizza, The Winds Café, The Sunrise Café, Peach’s Grill (noted as one of Dayton’s best patios) and the Yellow Springs Brewery. 

 >> Check out three new, independent restaurants coming to The Greene

>> RELATED: 5 things to do in Yellow Springs

>> RELATED: 8 beers to try at Yellow Springs Brewery

Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs offers more than 50 flavors of creamy, delicious homemade ice cream. Heaven! CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

3. ICE CREAM!!!

Sure, you can eat ice cream anytime you want. But ice cream can also be an experience. Especially if it’s at Young’s Dairy!! Spend the day at the dairy barn and see animals, impress your date by showing off your skills in the batting cages or take in a game of putt-putt golf. If you’re hungry, you can grab a casual lunch at The Dairy Store or some comfort food at the Golden Jersey Inn. End your day with a delicious ice cream treat with Young’s homemade ice cream. We recommend the Buckeye sundae. It’s a peanut butter and chocolate lover's dream.

>> RELATED: 7 great places to get frozen treats in Dayton

4. PATIO DRINKING AND DINING!!!

One of the best parts about spring is taking your dining and drinking experience outdoors. Dayton area bars and restaurants have some amazing patios to grab a quick drink or a full meal. Here are a few of our favorite patios: El Meson in West Carrollton, The Winds Café in Yellow Springs, The Trolley Stop and Lily’s Bistro in the Oregon District, Jimmie’s Ladder 11 in Dayton, Basil’s Dayton with a river view and The Dublin Pub in the Oregon District.

>> Your guide to the best patios in Dayton

You know spring has arrived when Dragons baseball begins. Heater and Gem and the rest of the Dragons will play at home Sunday through Friday. (Source: Contributed)

5. A DAY AT THE BALLPARK

A true sign of spring and warm weather is Dayton Dragons baseball. A Dragons game should be on everyone’s Dayton bucket list. Even if you aren’t into baseball, Dragons games offer a fun experience for all ages. It’s the perfect setting for a family outing, to enjoy a beer and baseball with friends or even a date.

>> 7 things to get excited about this Dayton Dragons season

>> 7 places to get game-day grub near the Dragons ballpark

>> RELATED: How to make the most out of a Dragons game

Yellow Cab Food Truck Rallies

6. FOOD TRUCKS!!!!

Oh, sweet heavenly food trucks. A sure sign of spring is when you can get your paws on a Fat Cat Burger from McNasty’s, devour a bite-sized mac and cheese croquette from Hunger Paynes, or feast on a Pig Apple sandwich from PA’s Pork.

>> RELATED: Dayton food truck guide

Take a spin on one of the more than 300 miles of connected trails in the Miami Valley. CONTRIBUTED

7. A SCENIC BIKE RIDE

One of the best things about living in the Dayton area is a wonderful, interconnected system of bike paths that allow you the flexibility to take a short ride or basically bike across the entire Miami Valley. This is the perfect activity if you want some quiet reflection time while getting some great exercise, or something you can do alongside friends and family. Choose your own biking adventure with more than 300 miles of trails in the region.

>> RELATED: 10 things to know about Miami Valley bike trails

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When sports and games meet happy hour... Get to know Dayton Sportcial

Published: Thursday, September 10, 2015 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 1:12 PM

Love playing sports, then unwinding at the bar and making new friends? Dayton Sportcial is the social sports league for you. Photo contributed by Dayton Sportcial.
Love playing sports, then unwinding at the bar and making new friends? Dayton Sportcial is the social sports league for you. Photo contributed by Dayton Sportcial.

From childhood playground games to picnic pastimes, Dayton Sportcial combines fun and recreation with camaraderie and community building.  

Sportcial — the brainchild of Raph Carranza and PJ Falter — organizes a variety of leagues, tournaments and special events in and near downtown Dayton.

>> 4 AWESOME adult sports leagues in Dayton to join this spring and summer

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Beer Olympics

Fifth Street Brewpub teamed up with Dayton Sportcial to host a local Beer Olympics on Sunday, February 25, in conjunction with the closing ceremony for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeong Chang. TOM GILLIAM PHOTOGRAPHY(Tom Gilliam)

Leagues that are currently under way include:

• Kickball (Kettering Field)

• Cornhole (Dayton Beer Company)

• Volleyball (Lohrey Recreation Center)

Fifth Street Brewpub teamed up with Dayton Sportcial to host a local Beer Olympics on Sunday, February 25, in conjunction with the closing ceremony for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeong Chang. TOM GILLIAM PHOTOGRAPHY(Tom Gilliam)

Leagues that are coming soon:

An eight-week skee-ball league gets under way at DK Effect on May 2 and a seven-week Wiffle ball league starts on May 16 at Bomberger Park. 

Sportcial organizes a variety of leagues, tournaments and special events in and near Downtown Dayton. CONTRIBUTED

How it got started

It all began in 2015 after Carranza and Falter played on a softball team together for the first time.  

“We started talking about playing in another league that was more social but, after asking around, we found out that a previous league had closed up shop,” Carranza said. “Having moved around a lot, we agreed that the easiest way to make friends was through fun games. We decided then that we should revive the idea.”  

Since its inception, more than 600 unique players – 1,500 total registrants – have participated in one or more of the many Sportcial leagues.  

“We find that a problem with a lot of adult leagues is competitiveness,” Falter said. “Don’t get me wrong, competition can be fun, but our primary goal is connecting people and building community. We find that by really focusing on sports that are not mainstream, people are put at ease, don’t fear embarrassment, and are more likely to let go and have fun.” 

>> 7 things to get excited about this Dayton Dragons season 

Sportcial organizes a variety of leagues, tournaments and special events in and near Downtown Dayton. CONTRIBUTED

How you win in Sportcial?

Carranza and Falter share how they gauge Sportcial’s success:  

How well did we connect people?

“We’ll see people who play or played on different teams having a drink or working together on a project around town. We have some very inspiring people that play in our leagues and they are doing great things in the community. Through our leagues and events, people have a low-pressure way of connecting and finding others who have similar motivations. Seeing the personal and professional relationships grow let’s us know we are succeeding – we just had our first engagement of two players that met in our league.”  

How well did we create community?

“Dayton is our home. All of our leagues and bars are downtown – that’s on purpose. Our players drive from Springfield to Springboro to play, and we want to showcase our city. We’ve had players tell us they didn’t particularly care about downtown, but now love coming downtown, and have even moved downtown. The city of Dayton is making some big strides, and we’re happy we can show off all the great things going on downtown.”  

How well did we build business?

“The success of the businesses we bring our party to is our success. We bring 100-plus people to a bar on a weeknight. One of our bars experiences a 167-percent increase in sales when we’re there. That is awesome, but an even more telling impact is seeing Sportcial shirts out on the town after our events and, even more so, them coming back to that bar when we aren’t there. We also spend our money locally. In addition to for-profits, we push the success of organizations that align with our mission. UpDayton, Generation Dayton, city of Dayton, and Brigid’s Path are some of the groups that we work with.”  

>> 5 reasons to get into the Dayton disc golf scene

Sportcial organizes a variety of leagues, tournaments and special events in and near Downtown Dayton. CONTRIBUTED

GIVE IT A TRY  

Upcoming Leagues  

May 2: Skee-ball  

May 16: Wiffle ball  

May 16: Sportcial Golf: Basics, Bogeys and Beers  

June 4: Industry League  

June 13: Cornhole: Recreational  J

une 14: Cornhole: Competitive  

June 14: Ultimate Frisbee: For Starters  

June 21: Kickball  

Sunday FunDays  

For those who want the fun with less commitment – one-day events that can fit into most people’s schedule that involve some sort of game that takes you outside of your comfort zone.  

April 22: Day at the Races  

May 20: Dayton Dragons Game  

June 10: Skydiving  

June 24: Ice cream bike ride  

July 22: River Float  

More info: WebsiteFacebook

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20 reasons to love Dayton’s MetroParks

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

Riverscape Metropark in downtown Dayton.
Sarah Franks
Riverscape Metropark in downtown Dayton.(Sarah Franks)

Perhaps the best way to experience nature’s beauty and appreciate our natural resources in the Dayton area is through our robust networks of parks. 

Beyond the recreation and connection with nature, they’re also key to some of the region’s top investments in conservation, reforestation and preserving and protecting wildlife -- and they all boast unique features.

Here’s our guide to Dayton’s beautiful MetroParks. 

>> Do you think you can you master this Dayton hiking challenge?

Aullwood Garden MetroPark  

Location: 955 Aullwood Road, Englewood 

Why visit: Perfect for history buffs, here you’ll find a burr oak tree with a 1913 flood watermark, and a twin sycamore aged when Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. 

Signs of spring were evident during a trip to Aullwood Center and Farm and Aullwood Garden MetroPark, Sunday, April 24, 2011.(Peter Wine / MediaMoments.com)

Carriage Hill MetroPark 

Location: 7800 E. Shull Road, Dayton 

Why visit: If you love fishing and trails, add this park to your must-visit list. Oh, and if you want a taste of Dayton’s past -- visit their blacksmith shop, woodshop, historic house and bank barn where you’ll find historic breeds of farm animals.

>> This local library considers adding outdoor dining to its menu of offerings

Cox Arboretum MetroPark 

Location: 6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton 

Why visit: With over a dozen specialty gardens, including a Butterfly House with native butterflies and moths, this MetroPark has so much to explore. There are also 2.5 miles of trails and a Tree Tower that rises 46 feet high for an incredible view. 

People enjoy springtime at Cox Arboretum MetroPark(Five Rivers MetroPark)

Deeds Point MetroPark  

Location: 510 Webster St., Dayton 

Why visit: Calling all bird watchers, this park has a variety of migratory and resident birds can be seen here, including bald eagles. The park has a bronze statue of Wilbur and Orville Wright as a fixture along the trail, and an aviation timeline exhibit. The park also has a monument — Dayton Peace Accord — that symbolizes the agreement for peace between Bosnia and Herzegovina struck in Dayton on Nov. 21, 1995. 

>> This Dayton MetroPark is about to get BIGGER -- here’s the expansion details

Eastwood MetroPark 

Location: 1385 Harshman Road, Dayton 

Why visit: Are water sports your call to the wild? Here you can boat, paddle, kayak, canoe and fish. There are also numerous scenic trails that connect to many others in the area. 

Five Rivers MetroParks 2017 Wagner Subaru Outdoor Experience took place Oct. 7-8 at Eastwood MetroPark. From high-flying demonstrations to a myriad of hands-on activities, adventure seekers of all ages and ability levels enjoyed two days of free fun at the event that has become a mainstay for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the Midwest. TOM GILLIAM / STAFF PHOTO(Tom Gilliam/Tom Gilliam)

Englewood MetroPark  

Location: 4361 National Road, Vandalia 

Why visit: This park blends scenic and sporty. Forest areas, wetlands and woodlands, grasslands, rivers and 12 miles of trails are all within reach. Follow a boardwalk into this wet area that supports an unusual population of trees including black ash, swamp white oak and pumpkin ash. This wetland has been dedicated as a State Natural Landmark in recognition of the occurrence of pumpkin ash, a tree rarely found in Ohio.

 >> Meet the woman who has kept our MetroParks beautiful for over 15 years

Germantown MetroPark  

Location: 7101 Conservancy Road, Germantown 

Why visit: Looking to camp among rare species of plants and animals? The park’s 22 miles of camping-friendly trails are for you. Don’t miss the “Window on Wildlife” with benches where visitors can sit, watch and listen to native birds through microphone-equipped windows.

There are plenty of winter hikes to take with a friend or loved one. Germantown MetroPark is pictured. PHOTO / Jan Underwood for Five Rivers Metroparks

Hills & Dales MetroPark 

Location: 2655 S. Patterson Blvd., Kettering 

Why visit: Great for hiking beginners and families, this walkable park features hills and ravines covered in mature and young hardwood forest, spring seeps and associated small wetlands. Don’t miss the “Staged Gates” landscape sculpture. 

>> PHOTOS: How Five River MetroParks keeps it GREEN

Huffman MetroPark 

Location: 4439 Lower Valley Pike, Dayton 

Why visit: Looking for a new spot to walk or hike? This 110-acre grassland is one of the largest prairie remnants in Ohio, which is maintained and restored in partner with Wright Patterson AFB. There are various trails and paths to explore, most of which connect to others in the area.

Three MetroParks employees try out the new Hilltop Flow trail at Huffman MetroPark’s mountain biking facility.(Staff Writer)

Island MetroPark 

Location: 101 E. Helena St., Dayton 

Why visit: This park offers a unique opportunity to explore nature, bird watch and walk trails. There is also a playground area, interactive waterplay system during summer and a bandshell for live music. 

Island MetroPark is 33 acres of mature trees and green space along the Great Miami River at the confluence of the Stillwater River. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

Possum Creek MetroPark  

Location: 4790 Frytown Road, Dayton 

Why visit: This is one of the largest and most diverse planted prairies in Ohio. In striving to become a leader in sustainable innovation, here you can help grow a garden in the approximately 100 community garden plots. Walking and hiking trails are plentiful, and fishing and ice fishing are also available.

>> Your guide to making the most out of a RiverScape River Run visit

RiverScape MetroPark 

Location: 111 E. Monument Ave., Dayton 

Why visit: Diverse in both recreation and wildlife, this spot is a must-visit to experience fun and exploration in nature. Free summer weekend concerts, parent and preschooler programs, major community festivals and an ice skating rink. The Dayton Inventor’s River Walk includes seven invention stations along Monument Avenue and Patterson Boulevard that celebrate Dayton inventions. Bike and kayak rentals available. Daytonian Paul Laurence Dunbar’s famous poems are etched in stone at the top of the staircase at the west end of the park. 

Walking at RiverScape MetroPark. Contributed photo / Five Rivers MetroPark

Sugarcreek MetroPark 

Location: 4178 Conference Road, Bellbrook 

Why visit: Here you’ll find 550-year old white oaks, a planted prairie, scenic bird walks, meadows, and Sugar Creek. Be sure to snap a few photos in the “living tunnel” created by the large arching branches of Osage Orange trees, which date back to the 1800s. 

 >> MetroParks has made planning your hike WAY easier, here’s how

Sunrise MetroPark 

Location: 50 Edwin C. Moses Blvd., Dayton 

Why visit: Get active in nature! Located at the juncture of Wolf Creek and the Great Miami River in Dayton, this small park is an excellent place to watch wildlife, walk trails, skate, run, bike ride and fish.

Osage Orange Tunnel at Sugarcreek MetroPark.(Submitted)

Taylorsville MetroPark 

Location: 2000 State Route 40, Vandalia 

Why visit: This park has unique history and typography. Wooded ravines, massive rock outcroppings, historic ruins and the Great Miami River make this large 1,300-acre park a must-visit. There are also approximately 13 miles of scenic trails. Available activities include fishing, kayaking, canoeing, sledding, cross-country skiing. 

>> GUIDE: How to camp in Dayton’s MetroParks

Twin Creek MetroPark 

Location: 9688 Eby Road, Germantown 

Why visit: Don’t miss the winding prehistoric Indian mound and scenic hilltop vista. The park has over 20 miles of camping-friendly wooded trails, including seven miles of equestrian trails. Fish, backpack, hike and explore waterways. 

Blooming plants and trees at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark in Dayton create a frame of color around Sarah Hibner of Dayton and her one-year-old daughter Isabelle as they take a walk through the park Monday. According to Storm Center 7 meteorologist Rich Wirdzek the next couple of days will be in the high 70's. LISA POWELL / STAFF(Lisa Powell)

Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark 

Location: 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton 

Why visit: This one you’ll want to the kiddos to. The Children’s Discovery Garden inspires little ones to play and explore texture, creatures, sounds and more. The beautifully planted Forman gardens, community gardens and boardwalk-navigation wetlands make for a great spot to see native birds and wildlife. 

>> 10 Dayton camping getaways that scream heaven on earth

Wesleyan MetroPark 

Location: 1441 Wesleyan Road, Dayton 

Why visit: This 55-acre park features numerous scenic spots, making it a great choice for your next family photo session. The park is the home of Adventure Central, an innovative partnership between MetroParks and Ohio State University Extension, 4-H Youth Devel­opment. Here, urban youth learn about the environment and develop life skills through after-school programs, clubs and camps. There is also a playground and fishing available. 

The Twin Valley Trail connects Germantown and Twin Creek MetroParks, offering more than 22 miles of trail. LISA POWELL / STAFF(Staff Writer)

Caesar Creek State Park 

Location: 8570 E. SR 73, Waynesville 

Why visit: Known as one of the state’s premier outdoor recreation destinations, this 7,900-acre park offers more than 40 miles of hiking trails (ranging from mild to extremely rugged) that provide beautiful and striking views of the lake and the surrounding area. There are also opportunities for boating and camping. 

 >> Dayton gets ‘wild’ props from National Geographic

John Bryan State Park 

Location: 3790 State Route 370, Yellow Springs 

Why visit: John Bryan State Park is perhaps the most scenic State Park in western Ohio. Long ago, the limestone gorge, a portion of which is a national landmark, was cut by the Little Miami River (a state and national scenic river). On your hike along the 10-mile trail, you can see more than 100 different species of trees and shrubs, 340 species of wild flowers, 90 different varieties of birds, white-tail deer, beaver, coyotes, gray squirrels, fox squirrels -- and even an occasional white squirrel. 

These are among the rescuers who responded to John Bryan State Park on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 16, 2016, on the report of a hiker who may have been injured. (Jim Noelker/Staff)

Charleston Falls 

Location: 2535 Ross Road, Tipp City 

Why visit: Discover uncommon plants and a unique waterfall originating from small underground springs. The 216-acre park features an observation boardwalk near the falls, a limestone cave, wildlife pond, tall grass prairie and nearly 4 miles of trails.

>> Where to paddle in Dayton, and what to know before you go

What do you love most about Dayton’s Metro Parks? Drop me a line at alex.perry@coxinc.com.

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