The BIG Cbus Kids FALL List

Happy almost-Fall! I know you've seen the ceramic pumpkins taunting you in front of Kroger, and the thought of baking apple pies may be less than tempting when all you want is another iced coffee on the sunny deck. But, like it or not, September is here and there is LOTS to do. Get out your calendars...

Farmers markets (list courtesy of Experience Columbus)
The produce and the feel of the markets changes in September, but farmers markets are always a hit and a good way to source dinner for the night while supporting local growers and makers. Our favorite is Worthington, but it is also convenient to stop at the weekday afternoon markets, such as Dublin, UA, or Hilliard.

Franklin Park Conservatory
(Downtown) Zoo visits, maple leaf tessellations, reptiles, Trick or Treating, and lots of paper will you choose?! Also, there are many hands-on classes that involve cooking and art (you must register for those).  Don't forget, their cafe has delicious food and the lighting for pictures is perfect.

Metro Parks
The link above will take you to the Parkscope, listing their scheduled activities this fall. Darby Creek Day (10/2) sounds amazing for little nature-lovers! Many parks do butterfly programs in September when the monarchs hatch, I see Bison Day on 11/5Fall Fun on 10/30, campfires, dog hikes, and so much more. Of course, any day is the perfect day to go play, hike, and picnic on your own in our Metro Parks.

Stratford Ecological Center
(Delaware)  There are many opportunities this fall to go visit Stratford, including farm chores, story times, campfires, The Harvest Festival, and just visiting on your own for a self-guided tour. This is the best time of year to see the colorful farm and hike the easy trails!

Whetstone Park of Roses 
(Clintonville) Surprise! Roses peak again in September. The park is gorgeous through the fall months for family photos, and the playground and pond are a fun bonus.

Special Events, by date

Although it is tempting to list every event in Cbus this Fall, I wanted to devote this to true festival atmospheres and FALL family fun. Subscribe to our email list for everything.

Greek Festival 9/2-9/5
(Downtown)  I have never been, but have always wanted to go simply because the Cathedral is GORGEOUS!  During the festival, you can take a Cathedral tour, see live music and dancing, learn how to cook Greek food during cooking demonstrations, and visits many street vendors. There is a kids' area as well.

Canal Winchester Labor Day Festival  9/3-9/5
(Canal Winchester)  This festival has a kids parade, rides, festival food of course, and a focus on music performances. There is a car show and canal boat races during this 3-day event.

UA Labor Day Arts Festival 9/5
(Northam Park, UA) This is one of my family favorites, as the artisans are of the highest quality. You will see some beautiful items, and I suggest bringing a second adult who isn't interested so they can take the kids to the kids' area while you have time to browse the artist booths. For the kids, there are arts and crafts, demonstrations, hands-on areas, and food trucks!

Old Hilliardfest  9/10
(Hilliard)  This has been a hit with my kids in the past. There is a children's area (with games, inflatables, arts and crafts) in addition to a car show, music, and food trucks.

Jack Hanna's Fall Fest  9/17, 18
(Powell)  Meet Jack Hanna, watch the animals bob for apples, and many more special activities and exhibits on this special day at the zoo.

Columbus Oktoberfest  9/23-25
(Ohio Expo Center, Fairgrounds)  Whether you are German or not, this is a great excuse to enjoy some of the best of Columbus' food scene all in one place (Schmidt's, Mozart's, Juergen's and DK Diner to name a few). Watch the stone throw, visit the merchant market, and check out the kids area (Kinderplatz). Did you know admission is free? (parking is not)

Stratford Ecological Center Harvest Fair  9/24
(Delaware)  We hope to make it back to one of our favorites activities from last fall to see the animals, hike the trails, make cider, take wagon rides, and all sorts of other farm activities geared toward children.

Oakland Nurseries Fall Festival 10/8 and 10/9
(all locations) If driving out to a farm does not fit your schedule, drive to your nearest Oakland's Nursery for some fun. I don't know how you will pick which location, though! Each store has different features, like a pancake breakfast, fairy forest, hay rides, the OSU Marching Band, the Turtle Lady, live music, and many sale items. Grab your mums and pumpkins and stay for the fun.

Upper Arlington Fall Fest  10/9
(Fancyburg Park, UA) We loved the corn box area, inflatables, ride-on toys, face-painting, arts and crafts, and just running around in a safe grassy area to let off steam.  Also, a chili cook off and fantastic kettle corn. Insider tip: If you know someone in the neighborhood, park at their place and walk together...parking can be tricky!

Boo at the Zoo 10/21-23 and 10/28-30
(Powell)  Another great excuse to put on the costume and head to the zoo for some Halloween fun. My kids love seeing the pumpkins hanging all around the zoo, the creepy fog machine around the train ride, and the candy stops here and there along the way. Please check the website for hours of the activities, as they are different times on different days.

All Hallows Eve at Ohio Village  10/15 and 10/22
Bonfires, storytelling, characters, and pumpkin carving are all a part of these fun visits to Ohio Village at night (5:30-9:30)

Easton Town Center Pet Parade and Fall Festival   10/23
(Easton) Dress up the pooch for a costume contest and parade. More details to be announced soon, but family activities including carriage rides are offered.

Circleville Pumpkin Show  10/19-22
(Circleville)  I have never made the drive down for the famous festival but have wanted to every year!  There are performers, demonstrations, a Little Miss Pumpkin pageant, and food GALORE.

Ohio Wildlife Center Howl-O-Ween Hike  10/28
(Powell)  Come see "creepy" animal friends like bats, owls, and snakes. Snacks, stories and crafts are all part of the event for this organization who does such good things for our wildlife. Costumes and flashlights are welcome!

Ongoing Farm Activities

Apple Picking at Lynd Fruit Farm  weekends beginning 8/26-10/30
We have been to Lynd's every year to get apples we use for many weeks. Pay attention to the picking schedule on the link and note that traffic to get to the orchards can be very heavy if you go on Honeycrisp weekend. We pick whatever varieties are available in the orchards and buy Honeycrisp in the market.

Apple Picking at Cherry Hawk Farms (starting 8/27)
(Marysville) I love the description on their site: "A simple apple picking experience like your grandparents might have enjoyed". No frills, fewer crowds, sounds nice!

Pumpkin Picking at Lynd Fruit Farm  weekends beginning 9/30

Corn Maze at Lynd Fruit Farm  weekends 9/9-10/30

Freeman's Farm Fall Festival  weekends 9/24-10/30
(Galena) Includes unique finds like kettle corn cooked over the fire, scarecrow making, and farm animals to pet.

The MAiZE at Little Darby weekends 9/19-11/1
(Milford Center)  Check out the aerial shot of that maze-whoa! Little Darby boasts a 9-acre maze, petting zoo, inflatables, corn cannons, hayrides, laser tag, and too many other attractions to list. They also have fall home decor items and mums for sale.

Hidden Creek Farm Fall Festival  Saturdays/Sundays 9/19-10/25
(Galena)  We absolutely love this event every year!  The farm is easily accessed from 71 in Galena, and there is plenty of grass parking. For $6, activities include a hay ride out to the pumpkin patch, playground, farm animals, corn pit (my kids are obsessed), and a hay maze. They have a delicious BBQ food truck that comes as well as their own market for specialty food items.

Leeds Farm    Saturday/Sunday 9/17-10/30
(Ostrander)  Come to feed the animals, pick out a pumpkin, examine exotic pumpkins, enjoy a barrel train and inflatables. This sounds like an active place, with a zipline and hayride!  Leeds has plenty of lunch options and features pies, kettle corn, and baked goods.

Fall Field Days at Jacquemin Farms   Daily in October
(Plain City)  We have been to the farm for strawberry picking, and love its convenience right outside of Dublin. There is a pumpkin patch, hay rides, a market, inflatables, grain boxes, and even raspberry picking!

Fall Fun Days at Circle S Farm Daily in October
(Canal Winchester) If you grew up in Columbus, you went to Circle S. And it was awesome. Come relive those days with the big slide, goats, hayrides, the pumpkin patch, and fall decor items. Stop in the bakery for treats to take home.

Youngs Jersey Dairy Fall Festival  10/1-10/2
We made the trip out last fall and it was a fun day! Be ready for crowds and to maybe skip the ice cream on this particular trip. Opt for the wagon ride first to get your pumpkins, then hit up the pumpkin donuts and lunch items before you go see the cows, goats, and Kiddie Corral.

The Orchard and Company Fall Festival (weekends 9/10-10/30)
(Plain City) For those of you on the West sids, this looks amazing!  Everything from a little train to a fishing pond, bakery, and gem mining! On top of this, they also have an apple orchard for U-pick (pumpkins are available at the Pumpkin Castle, but are not U-Pick).

Pigeon Roost Farm Pumpkinfest (Daily 9/17-10/31, some activities only on weekends)
There is so much to do on this road trip East that they even warn you will need over an hour to do it all!  I have seen many photos of the famous Pumpkin Tower, as well as the Great Pumpkin Fun Center. There is a corn maze and even exotic animals.

Lehner's Pumpkin Farm
More people have personally suggested this one to me more than any other!  Their listing includes suitable activities for toddlers (a whole play barn with simpler activities and an infant area), which can be difficult to find. But of course, there are the wagon rides and barrel trains, etc. to add excitement for all ages.

As always, I will continue to add more ideas as they appear on calendars. If you'd like to see your event on the list, let me know. Enjoy the most beautiful time to be an Ohioan!

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