10 fun places to make the most of your summer

Aullwood Farm in Dayton is home to Thomas Dambo’s giant trolls. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Don Thrasher

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Aullwood Farm in Dayton is home to Thomas Dambo’s giant trolls. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Don Thrasher

The heat is on this summer, but the activities are numerous across the Miami Valley. Dayton and its surrounding areas have so much to offer from camping, kayaking and horseback riding to miniature golf, giant trolls and goat yoga.

Here are 10 fun options to enjoy as summer sizzles.

1. “The Troll That Hatched an Egg” at Aullwood Audubon

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Artist Thomas Dambo debuts a new troll exhibit at the Aullwood Audubon. The trolls Bo, Bodil and Bibbi and their troll-sized nest have found their home in Dayton. "The Troll That Hatched an Egg" is one of only nine Dambo-created exhibitions in the United States and Puerto Rico. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Artist Thomas Dambo debuts a new troll exhibit at the Aullwood Audubon. The trolls Bo, Bodil and Bibbi and their troll-sized nest have found their home in Dayton. "The Troll That Hatched an Egg" is one of only nine Dambo-created exhibitions in the United States and Puerto Rico. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Artist Thomas Dambo debuts a new troll exhibit at the Aullwood Audubon. The trolls Bo, Bodil and Bibbi and their troll-sized nest have found their home in Dayton. "The Troll That Hatched an Egg" is one of only nine Dambo-created exhibitions in the United States and Puerto Rico. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

WHEN: Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: 1000 Aullwood Rd., Dayton

COST: General admission is free for children 3 and under, $8 for children 4 to 12, $12 for adults 13 to 64, and $10 for seniors age 65 and over and active duty military members.

DETAILS: “The Troll That Hatched an Egg” opened in November of 2021 and is a favorite destination for families. The giant Trolls are a symbol of conservation and how materials can be recycled into something beautiful.

Created by Thomas Dambo, the exhibit is made from scraps and garbage. Laurie Cothran, development and marketing manager at Aullwood Audubon, said the installation also has a message.

“The message of the Trolls is to protect the birds and find out what they need to survive and thrive,” Cothran said. “The Troll exhibition opens new doors for Aullwood to new audiences and helps non-traditional audiences learn about conservation and conservation science.”

MORE INFO: Visit aullwood.audubon.org.

2. RiverScape River Run

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RiverScape River Run offers a smooth-water channel for novice paddlers and a whitewater play feature for more experienced paddlers. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: HANDOUT

RiverScape River Run offers a smooth-water channel for novice paddlers and a whitewater play feature for more experienced paddlers. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: HANDOUT

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RiverScape River Run offers a smooth-water channel for novice paddlers and a whitewater play feature for more experienced paddlers. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily year-round

WHERE: 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton

COST: Free, but you can rent kayaks or paddleboards

DETAILS: Grab your life jacket, kayak or standup paddleboard and enjoy the Great Miami River at RiverScape River Run downtown. The River Run opens the downtown river to a seven-mile paddle from Eastwood MetroPark on the Mad River, through downtown to the Carillon Historical Park and University of Dayton area. Also, throughout the summer at Riverscape MetroPark you can enjoy landscaped gardens and reflecting pools, a music concert, and other recreation programs. The Great Miami River is also a haven for Surf Dayton.

MORE INFO: Visit metroparks.org.

3. Young’s Jersey Dairy

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Young's Jersey Dairy's Moovers & Shakers is a barrel passenger train for kids (and maybe their parents)that offers a winding ride throughout the farm. CONTRIBUTED

Young's Jersey Dairy's Moovers & Shakers is a barrel passenger train for kids (and maybe their parents)that offers a winding ride throughout the farm. CONTRIBUTED

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Young's Jersey Dairy's Moovers & Shakers is a barrel passenger train for kids (and maybe their parents)that offers a winding ride throughout the farm. CONTRIBUTED

WHEN: Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

WHERE: 6880 Springfield-Xenia Rd., Yellow Springs

COST: Varies depending on selected activity

DETAILS: Enjoy food, fun and the farm at Young’s Jersey Dairy, a popular destination for families that has been serving the greater Miami Valley community since 1968. You can grab some tasty homemade ice cream, visit the animals including goats, enjoy batting cages as well as two miniature golf courses, and take a barrel ride around the farm. In addition, a large, 22,000-square-foot facility was recently built offering more indoor and outdoor seating.

“There aren’t a lot of places you can see a fully working farm, watch the ice cream and cheese you’re about to enjoy being made while you wait, and also play mini golf,” said John Young, Young’s chief marketing manager.

Mark your calendars: Cowvin’s Corny Maze Playland opens for weekends beginning Aug. 6, then daily beginning Sept. 17 (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The Playland continues through Oct. 30. Tickets are $8.50 for persons age 5 and older. Age 4 and under are free. Children age 11 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

MORE INFO: Visit youngsdairy.com. An extended events “cowlendar” is available on the website.

4. Carriage Hill MetroPark

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Trail rides are offered at Carriage Hill MetroPark Riding Center from June through October. CONTRIBUTED

Trail rides are offered at Carriage Hill MetroPark Riding Center from June through October. CONTRIBUTED

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Trail rides are offered at Carriage Hill MetroPark Riding Center from June through October. CONTRIBUTED

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through Oct. 31

WHERE: 7800 E. Shull Rd., Huber Heights

COST: Free

DETAILS: Go back in time and explore what farm life used to be like in the 1880s at this historical farm complete with period farm animals. More than 50 years of natural succession have created appealing areas of forests, thickets, meadows and prairies. Hiking and horseback riding are also offered at the farm, supplying moments of relaxing beauty.

MORE INFO: Visit metroparks.org.

5. Adventure Reef Water Park

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Adults and kids beat the heat at Adventure Reef Water Park in Kettering. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Contributed

Adults and kids beat the heat at Adventure Reef Water Park in Kettering. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Contributed

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Adults and kids beat the heat at Adventure Reef Water Park in Kettering. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

WHEN: Mondays through Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. for residents and passholders through Labor Day.

WHERE: 2900 Glengarry Dr., Kettering

COST: $1-$10 depending on residence

DETAILS: Adventure Reef Water Park, a 3-acre outdoor aquatic facility built in 1990 and renovated in 2011, offers water slides, a splash pad, plenty of deck seating and chairs for guests, and a baby/toddler pool.

MORE INFO: Visit playkettering.org.

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6. Ohio Caverns

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Ohio Caverns with a variety of stalactites and stalagmites. Staff photo by Bill Lackey

Ohio Caverns with a variety of stalactites and stalagmites.  Staff photo by Bill Lackey

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Ohio Caverns with a variety of stalactites and stalagmites. Staff photo by Bill Lackey

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Sept. 30

WHERE: 2210 East State Route 245, West Liberty

COST: $10 to $30 depending on age

DETAILS: Explore the largest known cave system in Ohio. The Historic Tour begins at the site of discovery and includes the area originally explored from 1897 to 1925. The Natural Wonder Tour includes a 1-mile walk through parts discovered after 1925, particularly the Crystal King, the largest stalactite in Ohio. The best part? It’s 54 degrees year-round, so summer is the perfect time to go.

MORE INFO: Visit the ohiocaverns.com.

7. Goat yoga

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Practicing cat and cow poses with a goat on your back is possible. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Practicing cat and cow poses with a goat on your back is possible. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Combined ShapeCaption
Practicing cat and cow poses with a goat on your back is possible. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 6 and Saturday, Aug. 27 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

WHERE: Secret Eden, 1075 W. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton

DETAILS: Goat yoga has exploded in popularity and Secret Eden on Siebenthaler Avenue is among the area’s most notable offerings. Farmer David Smith, who works at Secret Eden, said patrons love the farm and goats because it invites an atmosphere of peacefulness.

“People want to escape the rat race and not have to travel far,” Smith said. “It’s also a bucket list item. It’s unique and different, and they can talk about it. You can get a pic with a goat on your back. There’s a lot of magic on the property.”

Secret Eden also offers special catered goat yoga events such as goat yoga followed by brunch and mimosas. Private goat yoga sessions and receptions for groups of 25 to 50 people, such as bachelorette parties, corporate groups and clubs, are also available.

COST: $30 per person

MORE INFO: Visit secreteden.net.

FYI: Goat Country LLC: various days and locations around the Miami Valley including The Greene and Bock Family Brewing. Visit www.goatcountryllc.com.

8. Caesar Creek Vineyards

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Patricia Chalfant tends to grape vines at Caesar Creek Vineyards in Xenia.

Credit: Micah Riffle

Patricia Chalfant tends to grape vines at Caesar Creek Vineyards in Xenia.

Credit: Micah Riffle

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Patricia Chalfant tends to grape vines at Caesar Creek Vineyards in Xenia.

Credit: Micah Riffle

Credit: Micah Riffle

WHEN: Fridays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE: 962 Long Rd, Xenia

COST: Free, but you will have to buy the wine

DETAILS: Caesar Creek Vineyards is a great place to take a date and try different wines and cheeses. There are weekly open mics and music on Fridays and Saturdays.

MORE INFO: Visit caesarcreekvineyards.com.

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9. Disc golf

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Miah Dawson and her daughter Luna, 2, take advantage of the nice weather to play disc golf Wednesday, March 30, 2022. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Miah Dawson and her daughter Luna, 2, take advantage of the nice weather to play disc golf Wednesday, March 30, 2022. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Miah Dawson and her daughter Luna, 2, take advantage of the nice weather to play disc golf Wednesday, March 30, 2022. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

WHEN: Various times

DETAILS: If you think regular golf is boring, then trying disc golf at area parks might be for you. There are 52 courses within a 25-mile radius of Dayton, but we’ve included some of the best, highest-rated courses.

Echo Valley: Located within Patricia Allyn Park, 7266 OH-48, Waynesville

Englewood MetroPark: 980 Pattys Rd., Englewood

Belmont Park: 957 Lynhurst Ave., Dayton

Wright State University: 1500 Springwood Lane, Fairborn

MORE INFO: The Dayton Disc Golf website has an extensive list of courses at daytondiscgolf.org.

10. Magic Castle

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Playing putt-putt at Magic Castle is a fun outdoor activity. CONTRIBUTED

Playing putt-putt at Magic Castle is a fun outdoor activity. CONTRIBUTED

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Playing putt-putt at Magic Castle is a fun outdoor activity. CONTRIBUTED

WHEN: Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

WHERE: 4990 Wilmington Pike, Dayton

COST: Free to $9 depending on the day

DETAILS: You can find more than 75 action-oriented and skilled games at the Magic Castle, providing fun for over 25 years. Enjoy an arcade, indoor jungle gym, a climbing wall, and putt-putt outdoors on their redesigned and upgraded course.

MORE INFO: Visit themagic-castle.com.

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