Fun: Free in Dayton

We had a great time talking about all sorts of fun thing to do in Dayton that are either free or close to it.  We were only able to scratch the surface of what there is to do in the Gem city. Here we have included links to activities.  We have no affiliation with these places; we just like them.

Join us Sunday’s from 4-5pm on AM 1290 and News 95-7 WHIO.  We’ll be adding to the list every week in our segment Fun: Free in Dayton.  Please be sure to include your suggestions on our Facebook post, here.

My kid checking out Science on a Sphere

Boonshoft Super Science Saturday  

The Boonshoft Museum is one my very favorite family activities.  Although, if I’m being honest, I’d totally have a great time by myself, too.  The regular cost of admission is: adult $14.50, 3-17 $11.50, seniors $12.50, under 3 and members are free.  However, there are four saturdays a year where they offer free admission from 10am-4pm on special learning days called Super Science Saturdays.  Join them on the following dates:

March 23

May 18

August 17

November 16

Even though it is free admission, you still have access to their Special Exhibits, Space Theater Shows (limited seating), and public programming.

Sponsored by whiotv7

Waterlilies, Claude Monet (1903), on display at DAI

Dayton Art Institute

Closed M/T, open at 11 W-S, Sun 12

We love the Art Institute for so many reasons.  Here are a few of them that we talked about on the Radio.

College students and kids under 18 are free, seniors $5, Adults $8 (suggested, not required. Scholarships available for kids’ programs)

Self guided tours What is a Masterpiece, with QR codes. Use their iPads or your own smart device. It as landing page for each of their permanent pieces with all sorts of great information.

The Lange Family Experiencenter, interactive art gallery for all ages.  There are hands on centers throughout this space for kids (and their caregivers) to participate in learning.

Tiny Thursdays: Ages 2-5 and a caregiver (baby siblings welcome) are invited for story time, a gallery visit and a make-and-take art project.  $8/child

Five Rivers Fountain of Lights

Five Rivers Metroparks

There are so many included in this group of our city’s parks, and we only had the chance to talk about two of them.  Even then, it was quite brief. Check out the “Places to Go” tab at the top of the page for a drop down of all the options.  There’s bound to be one close to you.

Some of the activities you can enjoy throughout the parks include hiking, fishing, boating, geocaching, and the more than 340 miles of biking trails, the largest paved trail network in the United States.

Riverscape Activities:

Fountain  of lights, memorial day through labor day

The Pavilion, located at 237 E Monument Ave

Interactive fountains, memorial – labor day 11am-8pm, 111 E Monument Ave

The Tree Tower At Cox Arboretum

Cox Arboretum Activities (personal favorite):

Located at 6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton 45449

Tree tower – 81 steps up to an amazing view.

Butterfly house and pollinator garden


It’s hard to take a family out to a movie and not spend a fortune.  A drive-in can be an exception. Typically a double-feature, there is so much to be valued with this experience.  There are only two in the greater Dayton area, the Dixie Drive-in and Melody 49 Drive-in.  As you might imagine of an outdoor theater located in Ohio, it is a seasonal activity, typically running April through around Labor day.


USAF Museum

Open 9-5, 7 days FREE admission

We only got to touch on the museum for a moment, which is truly unfortunate, especially since this is Jeremy’s absolute favorite.  Included is information on several of the attractions available, even if we only mentioned Plane Talks on air. We will be welcoming one of the USAF Museum representatives on an upcoming episode to get into more, as well.

Plane Talks- Friday, March 29, 1030-330pm, National Vietnam War Veterans day. There will be more than 25 veterans will be stationed throughout the galleries near aircraft associated with the vietnam war

Family Days – Next is April 13 – Kite Tales Takes place one saturday/month, offers hands on activities and demonstrations throughout the galleries.  

Guided tours start at 10, no registration needed. There are over 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles on display. Self guided tours are available, too.

Glimpse behind the scenes program – every 1st & 3rd friday, 1-3pm.  This provides an opportunity to engage with program volunteers on elements of the restoration process highlighted through a variety of materials and visuals.

Added experience (added cost):

flight simulators, movie rides, VR transporter

AF Museum theater: aircraft carriers, D-day Normandy 1944 (narrated by Tom Brokaw), Journey to Space 3-D, Fighter Pilot Mission Operation Red Flag.

Hollywood Series, 4th sunday monthly at 4pm, $5 tickets, 80 ft screen

Disc Golf

Other suggestions for fun that we talked about included disc golf, family games at a cafe, or simply dedicating the time at home to some family fun with board games or movie night in.  

We have an ever expanding list of activities, but we are always looking to add more.  Please visit our Facebook post to add your suggestions.  We’d love to hear from you!

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