As a former journalist, the election season has always been an exciting time for me, but when I took up my mantle with Five Rivers MetroParks, I would be on the other side of the proverbial punch card. No longer simply an observer, I kicked off my new career with a tall order—volunteer with the MetroParks levy campaign. Through those months of phone calls and canvassing, I discovered that many Dayton area residents knew of the MetroParks closest to their home, but weren’t aware of the total number of parks, or the number of acres we protect. I thought it would be appropriate today to give you a little overview of each of our facilities.
- Aullwood Garden MetroPark: This 31-acre garden situated on the edge of Englewood MetroPark is the former home of John and Marie Aull, whose world-wide travels inspired this luxurious shade garden. Lenten roses and other choice shade plants are featured at this estate garden.
- Carriage Hill MetroPark: Take a trip back in time at this preserved 1880s historical farm.
Children love to learn about agricultural and professional skills popular during the turn of the 20thCentury. This 900-acre park, located in Huber Heights, also offers hiking and equestrian trails as well as fishing ponds, a 14-acre lake, and the nearby Carriage Hill Riding Center, where trail and pony rides are offered April through October.
- Cox Arboretum MetroPark: Mature forests populate this 189-acre park south of Dayton near Moraine and Miamisburg, along with diverse gardens, such as the Edible Landscape Garden and the Clematis Arbor. The Butterfly House is a favorite summertime destination to view native butterflies and moths in various stages of metamorphosis.
- Deeds Point MetroPark: The landscape beds this park perched downtown along the Great Miami River offer visitors a floral garden paradise in an urban setting.
- Eastwood MetroPark: Paddle in the 185-acre lake, ride the Mad River bikeway, fish in the lagoon or river or hike 3 miles of wooded and open meadow trails in this park just off State Route 4 near Riverside. Both the Buckeye and North Country National Scenic trails run through this park. This is the site of the annual GearFest recreation celebration, which takes place in the fall.
- Englewood MetroPark: The potential for recreation is endless in this 1,900-acre park. Choose from 12 miles
of scenic trails, 3.5 miles of bridle trails, paddling on the Stillwater River, and great spots for fishing. This park also boasts a unique feature—an 18-hole disc golf course. Disc golf is an easy-to-learn activity that involves throwing flying discs into a “basket” situated a distance from the starting point.
- Germantown MetroPark: The size, quality and age of the woodlands make this 1,665-acre park the most diverse of the natural areas. The park also contains large open grasslands, cedar glades and dry hillside prairies. One popular weekend attraction (particularly for birders) is the Nature Center with its Window on Wildlife.
- Hills & Dales MetroPark: This Olmsted-designed park has 63 acres of native plants and landscaped areas situated in the crux of Kettering, Oakwood and Dayton. Recently renovated to restore its former beauty, this park boasts 2 miles of wooded trails, including the Adirondack boardwalk that gives visitors a tour of the wetlands.
- Huffman MetroPark: One of the most prominent amenities of this park located just east of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is MoMBA, the MetroParks Mountain Biking Area. About 8 miles of track snake their way through this wooded sub-facility. MoMBA’s trails are constructed to help the novice gain mountain biking confidence and challenge the most experienced rider.
- Island MetroPark: Towering sycamore and cottonwood trees lend shade to those seeking respite from the bustling city in this 33-acre park, located just north of downtown Dayton. Landscaped beds, a seasonal water playground, picnic shelters and the historic bandshell are other hallmarks of this park.
- PNC 2nd Street Market: Pick up farm-fresh produce, meats,cheeses, eggs and dry goods as well as flowers, wine, jewelry, soaps,gifts and more. The Market highlights the growers, producers and
artisans we have right here in the greater Dayton region. Regular hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
- Possum Creek MetroPark: Head southwest of downtown Dayton to find this 556-acre park and enjoy its many amenities, such as Polly Possum’s Math Farm, fishing ponds, historic Argonne Forest, 100-plus-acre planted prairies and the sustainable farm.
- RiverScape MetroPark: Downtown Dayton’s favorite hangout has become an indelible icon with its fountains and renovated amenities. The covered pavilion provides shade for summer concert and festival-goers in the summer and doubles as an outdoor skating rink in the winter. Cyclists who commute or ride for recreation have welcomed the new bike hub. Children can splash around in the interactive fountains or get a brief history on Dayton’s innovative past while traveling the Dayton Inventor’s River Walk.
- Sugarcreek MetroPark: This diverse area—with all stages of succession, mature forests, a trio of 500-year old white oaks, varied topography, a planted prairie, meadows and scenic Sugar Creek—is located near the Bellbrook area. Its trails are popular among trail runners, dog walkers and equestrians.
- Sunrise MetroPark: The walkways of this tiny urban oasis, conveniently located just north of downtown Dayton, are filled with stunning views of the city’s skyline. Prairie plantings and wildflowers draw in wildlife from the adjacent river habitat, and make the park a serene spot for relaxing. Catch a glimpse of the large and graceful blue herons that frequent the area.
- Taylorsville MetroPark: There’s no shortage of history or nature to encounter along this 1,300-acre park’s 13 miles of trails, nestled just outside Vandalia. Visitors also can link up with the Buckeye and North Country
trails. The Buckeye Trail completely encircles Ohio and is over 1,200 miles long. The North Country Trailextends into seven states and will be the longest continuous hiking trail in the United States when completed.
- Twin Creek MetroPark: This 1,000-acre park situated in the southwest corner of Montgomery County is home to 20 miles of hiking trails, 7 miles of equestrian trails, and ample access to the Twin Creek, one of Ohio’s cleanest waterways. Hike the Twin Valley Trail, a 22-mile backpacking trail connecting Twin Creek and Germantown MetroParks.
- Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark: With about eight different formal garden areas, this north Dayton park is a haven for plant lovers, featuring something in bloom nearly year-round. The Children’s Discovery Garden here offers fun and learning through the joy of gardening. Visitors can also enjoy paved bikeways and the Marie Aull Nature Trail.
- Wesleyan MetroPark: Home to Adventure Central, a program aimed at getting urban youth engaged in the outdoors, this 55-acre park offers its west Dayton neighbors a place to enjoy nature, whether hiking on 1.5 miles of trail, cycling along the Wolf Creek Bikeway, playing on the playground equipment or fishing in Wolf Creek.
Now that you know a little bit about each park and its respective subfacilities, plan your next adventure today.