The Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and Aviation Trail Visitor Center re-opens:
Four months after closing for pandemic precautions on Dec. 3, 2020, the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park has opened the Visitor Center on April 21, 2021. It will be open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The facilities include the Visitor Center, the Aviation Trail Parachute Museum, and the Wright Cycle Company. The Parachute Museum is on the second floor of the Visitor Center, and the Wright Cycle Co. is next door. (At this time the indoor facilities of the other locations of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park , which are the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center, and the Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site remain closed. Only the outdoor spaces at the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, and the Wright Brothers Memorial are open to the public). The park phone number is (937) 225-7705.
• The Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center is located in the Hoover Block building part of this complex. The Aviation Trail Visitor Center is in the Aviation Trail building.
Wilbur and Orville Wright had a job printing business in a second floor corner suite of the building from 1890 - 1895. One of their printing clients was Paul Laurence Dunbar, a former classmate of Orville Wright, and later an internationally known black poet. The name of the interpretive center reflects this special relationship. The exhibits tell about the lives of the three men and about the West Side neighborhood in which the building is located. The Hoover Block/Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center is a unit of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
• The Aviation Trail Parachute Museum is located on the second floor of the Aviation Trail Visitor Center.
The Museum tells the story of the development of the free fall parachute from its invention at Dayton’s McCook Field after World War I, up to the vital role it plays in safely landing today’s spacecraft. The time line around the soffit of the exhibit space highlights significant events in the history of the parachute. The Museum also includes interactive exhibits, artifacts, historic photographs and text. The museum maintains what is considered one of the most comprehensive private parachute collections in the world, with research materials permanently housed at Wright State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives.
• The Wright Cycle Co. building is one of only two original Wright brothers' buildings still standing at their original locations in the West Side neighborhood where Wilbur and Orville lived, worked and invented the airplane.
The other is the nearby Hoover Block building (Site 1a). The building was saved from demolition by Aviation Trail, Inc. before it was acquired by the National Park Service after the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park was created in 1992. The Wright brothers occupied the building from 1895 to 1897, manufacturing bicycles on the first floor and operating a job printing business on the second floor. During this period, Wilbur and Orville also took their first steps on the road to inventing the airplane, their Flyer I, in 1903.
• Souvenir and gift items are available to order in the lobby of the Aviation Trail Visitor Center where Dayton History has a display of assorted aviation gifts & souvenirs, including Wright Brothers items, Aviation Trail items, and Parachute Museum items.
The product samples in the Visitor Center are identified with a QR code that visitors can use to place an order, via their smart phone, directly with Dayton History. The order can then be shipped to the purchaser's home address, or can be held for pick up at 1000 Carillon Historical Park, Dayton, OH 45409, (937) 293-2841, just 2.9 miles and seven minutes from the Wright-Dunbar Visitor Center. (Visitor orders will be purchased from & processed by Dayton History. Transactions will not be made by NPS personnel at the Visitor Center). Orders for merchandise can also be placed online at https://shop.daytonhistory.org and Aviation Trail products can be ordered online through the "Gift Shop" page on the Aviation Trail website.