'Things to do'

Fun Destinations Near Jackson Center

What is there to do and see in Ohio near Alumapalooza and the Airstream factory? Lots, if you know where to look.

Set aside a day for sightseeing while your coach is being repaired in the Airstream Service Center, or check out these unique area attractions on your drive to and from Alumapalooza.

Bicycle Museum of AmericaNew Bremen

18 miles from Alumapalooza

The fascinating, 3-story bike museum is filled with more historic and unusual bicycles than you’ll ever see in one place: tandems, unicycles, penny-farthings, kid’s bikes, amazing 2-wheeled military transports, famous Hollywood bicycles (including Pee Wee Herman’s modified Schwinn with the tiger head on the handlebars, the focus of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure), and ultra-rarities like an ice bike, with skis in front instead of a tire.

Armstrong Air and Space MuseumWapakoneta

16 miles from Alumapalooza

Named in honor of Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon and Wapakoneta’s favorite native son, this space museum holds a collection of rare treasures that will delight and fascinate anyone, of almost any age.

Exhibits include Armstrong’s Gemini VIII spacesuit, a Gemini VII capsule, a moon rock, and many more exciting artifacts from NASA programs. You’ll also learn about Yuri Gagarin and other Soviet cosmonauts.

Be sure to watch what’s playing in the Astro Theater—stirring films are screened every half hour—and test yourself on one of the three space simulators. Safely settling the lunar lander on the surface of the moon is a challenge!

America’s Packard MuseumDayton

56 miles from Alumapalooza

Considered an unknown gem, this antique car collection is in the world’s only restored Packard Dealership operating as a museum. See Packards, Packards, and more Packards…and Tyrone Powers’ Duesenburg, and the hearse that was featured in The Godfather.

National Museum of the United States Air ForceOutside Dayton

43 miles from Alumapalooza

“Better than the Smithsonian!” raved an Airstreaming visitor. Located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, it’s the largest and oldest military aviation museum in the world. Yep—you read that right! Admission is free, and try to plan your visit before you arrive, as there’s an overwhelming amount to see. Museum exhibit areas include galleries dedicated to WWII, the Korean War, the Southeast Asia War, and the Cold War; a presidential gallery, the “early years” gallery, a research and development exhibit, and an outdoor Air Park and a vast Memorial Park that honors the service and sacrifice of Air Force-associated units and personnel.

Wright Brothers Aviation TrailDayton area

50 miles from Alumapalooza

Take a self-guided tour of 13 aviation-related sights and various haunts of Wilbur and Orville Wright (including their bicycle shop and Huffman Prairie Flying Field where they tested their experimental aircraft). Also on the trail is a replica of the Wright “B” Flyer, a parachute museum, and more. Download the PDF with a map and site descriptions, and you’re on your own.

Other Ohio destinations within an hour’s drive of Alumapalooza

Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Home, Dayton

Born in 1872, he was the first African-American to gain national recognition as a poet.

Oregon District, Dayton

Historic homes, bars, restaurants, and eclectic shops. Great for strolling.

Dayton Art Institute, Dayton

The fine collection spans 5,000 years of art history. You can’t miss it—the red tile roof of the historic building is visible from I-75.

Carillon Park, Dayton

What’s a carillon, you ask? A musical instrument, made of bells, that’s usually housed in a tower. This 65-acre park has one that’s more than 150 feet high—as well as the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, a 1835 B&O steam locomotive, historic buildings, “pioneers” in period costume, and soon, a micro brew pub.

Cox Arboretum, Miamisburg

A pretty place with trees, hiking trails, flowers, ponds, observatory tower, turtles, frogs, ducks, seasonal butterfly house, gift shop, and a resident dog.

Woodland Cemetery, Dayton

Stroll the lovely grounds and pay your respects to the famous departed interred within: Orville and Wilbur Wright; Charles F. Kettering, inventor of freon and 185 other patented items; the King and Queen of the Gypsies (Levi and Matilda Stanley); John H. Patterson, founder of the NCR company; and Paul Laurence Dunbar, the famed African-American poet, novelist, and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Ask a guide for a tour, a ghost story, the names of the trees, and/or where to stand for the best view. Duck into the Chapel for a look at a large, stunning Tiffany window—one of the finest in the country.

Germantown, Ohio

If covered bridges are your thing, you’ll like tiny Germantown, where the one-of-a-kind bridge is a national landmark and open to foot traffic. Hungry? The Florentine Tavern Restaurant, originally a 1800‘s stagecoach stop and Inn where politicians speechified from the balcony, today serves steaks, chicken, fish and sandwiches.

Ohio CavernsWest Liberty

“America’s Most Colorful Caverns” are the largest and most beautiful of the cave systems in Ohio. Join one of several tours; mine for real gems and minerals.

Miami-Erie CanalNew Bremen

See the Lockkeeper’s House interpretive museum, or the replica canal boat. It’s nice just to be near the water.

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The Love Story Project

Bring your own love story to Alumapalooza to be a part of “The Love Story Project”!

Project creators Shari and Alan Fraser will be attending Alumapalooza 5 (their first) with their rolling photobooth, where they’ll continue their quest to record 500 love stories in the year between Valentine’s Day 2014 and 2015.

The Love Story Project Kickoff Event Photos306Shari, a cultural anthropologist, has always loved photography and engaging audio stories (like those you hear through NPR’s This American Life and StoryCorps). Alan, a filmmaker and writer, has studied, taught and practiced the craft of storytelling. As a team, they endeavor to bring a positive presence to online communities by recording and sharing heartwarming, funny, touching and real love stories as told by a diverse group of people.

During Alumapalooza week, share your story with Shari and Alan in their 1968 Airstream mobile story/photobooth that they’ve operated for two years as (as the Bluesteel Airstream Photobooth, part of their business, Sonrisa Photography).  You might be featured on the project website, where they publish one love story per day.

“We’ve just started getting on the road more and are looking to find all kinds of people with all kinds of stories,” said Alan.

The Love Story Project Kickoff Event Photos300The Project is free (but the purchase of a t-shirt, hat, or heart related art will help them with some of their costs.)

“Whether it’s a story of how two people met, a funny dating story,  a great proposal, or the moment they knew it was love, everyone in love or who has ever been in love has at least one terrific love story to tell,” states their website.

What’s yours? Love stories do not have to be told by a couple…and they don’t have to be about your main squeeze today. Your story may be a memory of a loved one, a long distance love message, about your first love or crush, a tale of unrequited love, or about your family. (How did your parents meet and fall in love?)

 

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Master magician comes to Jackson Center!

EricHenningJan2013bwAirstreamers will enjoy an “award-winning blend of wit and wizardry” when magician Eric Henning brings his special brand of interactive magic to Alumapalooza.

Described as “not only a master magician…a master entertainer,” Eric performs old fashioned magic with an elegant flair.  He has amazed adult audiences around the world, from the streets of Paris to Washington DC, where he performed for President Obama and the First Family at the White House Halloween party, and at three Presidential Inaugurals.

Eric is just one of the fantastic entertainers that are taking the stage after dinner at Alumapalooza. To see a sample of his slight-of-hand artistry, check out this video!

 

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The “Mothership” Tour

A favorite (if not THE favorite) activity at Alumapalooza has to be the Airstream factory tour.

Airstream factoryLed by a long-time employee of Airstream, the 3/4 mile tour through the factory is fascinating, and the process involved to build each and every aluminum Airstream trailer is eye-opening. Every unit is built by hand (with the exception of the automatic router that cuts windows and doors from a pattern).

Watch and learn as trailers in various stages of assembly pass through specialized workstations where plumbing, furniture and lighting is installed, rivets are bucked into the aluminum paneling, units are checked for leaks, and finally furnished, decorated, and affixed with insignia.

Many attendees schedule maintenance at the Airstream Service Center while at Alumapalooza, offering a chance to have repairs made by the best in the business, right there at the factory where your unit was likely built.

You’ll have fun at the air conditioned service center; it’s furnished with sofas and counters and tables made from real Airstream panels and components, and it’s a place to meet other owners and shop in the “Wally Byam” store for collectibles and gear. Your dog is welcome, too!

See photos of the factory and the assembly process at Airstream.com and this new slideshow online.

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Caravanning to Alumapalooza 5

Registration is now open and it’s not too soon to think about organizing a caravan to Alumapalooza 5.

Lead a group of twenty or more Airstreams, silver trailers, vintage trailers or other RVs to the Airstream factory in Jackson Center and you’ll earn your reward: free admission, an up to $450+ value for two people in one Airstream.

Just get in touch with us before you register or arrive via email, at info@alumapalooza.com for details and special registration procedures.

What’s there do see and do on the way to The Mothership? Plenty! From the south, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  From the north, the lighthouses of Michigan. The Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area.  The Mysterious Revolving Ball of Marion Cemetery.

Caravanning with friends is fun and anyone can do it; special credentials aren’t required, just a willingness to organize. Let us know what you’re thinking of planning and we’ll be happy to help.

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