There is no better way to spend a sunny summer day than eating BBQ, drinking ice cold Coke and hanging out with good friends and family. To me, that’s what summer is all about.
Remember when I told you about the Coke Live Positively/America is Your Park Initiative and how we were going to have ourselves a picnic at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park? Well, we did. And, it was pretty perfect.
The goal of America Is Your Park is to encourage people to play, be active and help their favorite park win a recreation grant provided by Coca-Cola Live Positively. First place winner receives $100,000 and the title of America’s Favorite Park, second place wins $50,000 and third gets $25,000.
Dayton is only an hour from Columbus, so it’s not a bad drive…especially on a weekend morning. We arrived to find every picnic table available, ample room for the kids to run around and plenty of shade. We set up our chairs and blankets, set out the food and enjoyed our cold drinks.
The adults took in the fresh air and caught up while the kids had fun climbing trees and enjoying the outdoor space. Across the field, towering over a plaza, stood the Wright Brothers Memorial and just down a trail was an overlook where we could view the Huffman Prairie; the place where the vision of the Wright Brothers took shape, and ultimately, flight.
After lunch, we stood around the Memorial as two Park Rangers gave us a brief history on the Air Force Base on which the Aviation Heritage National Park sits. They also discussed the Wright Brothers and gave us an overview on the history of flight. Then they told us about a totally unexpected activity.
We were going to make paper airplanes.
The Rangers passed out paper, had us fold it, decorate it and then turn it into a tube, of sorts. It was like no other paper airplane I’ve ever seen. It flew straight up and when the kids (okay, and the adults) started competing with each other, the quiet park suddenly heard a lot of excited yelling!
The only thing that would have made our picnic better is if there would have been a swimming pool in which to throw ourselves, because it was H-O-T. Really hot.
But, those Park Rangers had another tool up their sleeve – The Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center. An air-conditioned Interpretive Center. Ahhh.
The cool building houses a movie theater, where you can watch a short film on flight history, and interactive exhibits, including a flight simulator for the kids! Although most of them crashed, a couple of them completed the flight and got a special certificate. My 12 year old daughter was one of them.
And, tonight at dinner she said that she wanted to be a pilot when she grows up. I would like to thank the Wright Brothers, who made her dreams possible.
So, we will be voting for the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park as our favorite and hope you will join us in voting for your favorite park as well.
· Everyone can vote for their favorite park to win the title of “America’s Favorite Park” by visiting LivePositively.com.
· Voting runs until September 6, 2011
· There are other ways to vote for your favorite park, including uploading photos of the park to LivePositively.com/americasparks and checking in on Facebook Places when you go to your park. More information about these methods on LivePositively.com/americasparks.