How to be an Armchair Adventurer

 How to be an Armchair Adventurer

Victoria Theatre’s NatGeo Series is back by popular demand.

Natasha Baker

When you think about seeing some of the most remote and beautiful places in the world, you might believe that the adventure is out of your reach. Flying around the globe, staying in tiny villages, climbing mountains and forging rivers might sounds like a grand adventure, but who can afford it? How will you get the time off work? What will you do with the kids? 

For those reasons and many more, thousands of subscribers rely on National Geographic to bring the most amazingly breathtaking, incredibly dangerous, completely out of the way parts of the world right to their living room. Thanks to the Victoria Theatre, your family can go one step further. 

The National Geographic Live! series at the Victoria Theatre features the award-winning photographers and cinematographers of the magazine to share their stories of adventure live and in person. Audiences even get a chance to meet the presenters in both a Q&A after the show and in person for autographs and photos. 

“Now in its fourth year, VTA and Five Rivers MetroPark’s NAT GEO LIVE! series has thrived in Dayton because we pair world class adventure experts, who also happen to be compelling presenters, with an inquisitive audience in the intimate setting of our historic Victoria Theatre,” says Ken Neufeld, president and CEO of the Victoria Theatre Association. “People are fascinated by the worldview of these explorers and how their presentations take the audience to a location or set of locations that they can only dream about.”

Get Your Adventure On

The series features a unique opportunity to encourage outdoor adventure through the arts. Thanks to NatGeo’s explorers, scientists and master photographers, Dayton audiences can experience places like the Arctic, Pakistan and the central Pacific Ocean while learning about animals such as sea leopards, lions and white rhinos. 

It’s why Five Rivers Metro Parks is a partner of the series. 

“We hope Dayton audiences will be inspired to learn more about the tremendous outdoor recreational assets right here in the Dayton region and will want to plan their own adventure after attending,” says Kristen Wicker, director of PR for Five Rivers MetroParks. “The Dayton region has an incredible collection of outdoor amenities that are putting it on the map as the ‘Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest.’”

According to MetroParks, Dayton is home to the nation’s largest paved trail network with 330 miles to explore, the North Country National Scenic Trail and the Buckeye Trail, the 22-mile backpacking Twin Valley Trail, and, of course, the Little Miami River which is designated a National Wild and Scenic River. 

MetroParks even encourages audiences to go one step further and record their adventures in the Miami Valley with a Flickr account where residents can share their own photographs. MetroParks has used several area photographers photos in promotional items over the years. 

Wish You Were Here

Neufeld believes what makes the program so unique is that the photographers and cinematographers go beyond just sharing their fantastic art—they also tell the fascinating stories of how they got it. 

“Audiences enjoy hearing the story behind the photo,” adds Neufeld. “Stories about chasing elusive bears, hanging off the side of a mountain for hours, sleeping for months in the Arctic are what excites them. The spectacular artwork of the photographers combined with the storytelling takes the audience right to that moment. National Geographic does a wonderful job selecting artists who can both capture the moment on film and recreate it for attendees as if they were right there.”

And audiences have responded. The series has more than doubled in size since its first run in Dayton and demand continues to grow. After every event, VTA surveys the audience and has received comments like:

“I was excited to hear last night that there will be another series of these Nat Geo programs next year! I have been enjoying them so much and will definitely be subscribing to next year!”

“Terrific choices and glad to see so much is geared toward our next generation.”

“It was WONDERFUL!!! The Nat Geo series is one of the best things to happen to Dayton!”

“Nat-Geo is wonderful because I get to experience things I’d never be able (or brave enough!) to do.”

Wicker adds that sometimes adventure can be just getting out in our Ohio winters and experiencing what Dayton has to offer. For those attendees willing to brave the elements, but not wanting to go extreme, RiverScape MetroPark offers its popular ice skating rink available Nov. 27 through Feb. 27. There is also sledding, cross country skiing, ice fishing, and birding all across the region. In February, Wright State University will host The Adventure Summit featuring ketnote speaker Amy Purdy, snowboarder, 2014 Paralympic Medalist and Dancing with the Stars finalist. 

Adventure Around the World

The 2016 NatGeo Live! series promises to be no less exciting with feature artist Brian Skerry recounting his adventures from the glacial waters in the North Atlantic to the balmy waters of the Pacific in “Ocean Soul” in February, to Bob Poole’s epic African-wildlife journey in “Gorongosa Reborn” in March, and Ami Vitale’s look at conflict and wildlife in “Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions – My Search for Truth” coming in April. The passion and beauty and talent of these artists will inspire the adventurer in every member of your family. 

For more on the NatGEo Live! series, visit For more on Five Rivers MetroParks winter adventures, visit To share your photos with the parks, visit