The Go-To Guide: Fall Family Fun
Editor’s note: For the most up-to-date version of this list, go to columbusparent.com/fallfun.
Autumn is a fantastic time of year in central Ohio. The days are still warm and sunny, the nights are pleasantly cool and there are loads of fun fall activities for families.
In this month's Go-To Guide, we've assembled some of our seasonal favorites. The list isn't meant to be comprehensive-there are simply too many things going on to include them all. Also, some local mainstays didn't have schedules published yet. The online version of this story does have a few extra listings.
Beyond the events and activities listed here, there's plenty more to do this season, such as trick-or-treating, apple and pumpkin picking or just taking a walk to admire the fall foliage. You'll find additional events in "The Fam Five" column, as well as our Out & About calendar.
If you have an event we should consider adding to our roundup, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Through Oct. 30
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays
Lynd Fruit Farm, 9399 Morse Road SW, Pataskala (corn maze is at 9851 Morse Road SW)
Each year, Lynd Fruit Farm offers a corn maze and a mini maze as well as fall activities such as a barrel train, Fun Zone and wagon rides. This year's maze theme is "Maze of Spies." Prices vary based on activities chosen.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
Hidden Creek Farms, 581 S. Galena Road, Sunbury
Visitors can take part in hayrides, games, slides, a kids' barn and straw maze and see farm animals. Admission is $7, free for ages 2 and younger. Pick-your-own pumpkins and pony rides are available for an extra charge.
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
The Orchard & Co., 7255 U.S. Route 42, Plain City
This relatively new destination offers animals, play areas, a corn box, fishing, apples and pumpkins. Admission is $10, free for ages 2 and younger. Some activities have an extra charge.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 30 (plus Friday, Oct. 14)
Leeds Farm, 8738 State Route 36, Ostrander
This family farm is open weekends during the fall for a lineup of activities including pumpkin picking, hayrides, animals, a fish pond, pig races and play areas. Admission is $10 adults, $12 children ages 3-18, free for ages 2 and younger. Some activities cost extra.
The Maize at Little Darby Creek
5-10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays
The Maize at Little Darby Creek is celebrating its 15th year with a nine-acre corn maze honoring the 50th anniversary of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. In addition to the maze, activities include pumpkin picking, a petting zoo, play areas, duck races and laser tag. Admission varies depending on activities chosen, but ages 2 and younger are free.
Sept. 17-Oct. 31
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
Pigeon Roost Farm, 4413 National Road SW, Hebron
In addition to the chance to visit the pumpkin patch, this annual fall event includes a corn maze, play areas, wagon rides, demonstrations and more. Admission to some areas is free, but there is a charge for some activities.
5 p.m. to midnight Sept. 23, noon to midnight Sept. 24 and noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 25
Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus
Central Ohioans have been turning out for this annual celebration for 50 years. Columbus Oktoberfest has live entertainment, food vendors and plenty of family activities in the Kinderplatz. Parking is $10. Admission is free.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Stratford Ecological Center, 3083 Liberty Road, Delaware
This event, one of Stratford's biggest of the year, turns the farm into a playground. Activities include a "kid's world" with kites, face painting and a toddlers' hay bale area with farm toys. Climb on a tractor, visit the portable sawmill, listen to live music, make apple cider and take a wagon ride. Admission is $5 per person, $15 per family.
Sept. 24-Oct. 30
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays
Freeman's Farm, 6142 Lewis Center Road, Galena
Freemans Farm visitors can participate in hayrides, stop by a farm animals petting area and see scarecrow making and apple butter making demonstrations on select days. Admission is free; food and some activities have a charge.
Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus
Head to the Map Room to see an exhibit of vintage Halloween objects from the 1920s through the 1950s. Free.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Emswiler Farms, 13329 Morse Road SW, Pataskala
The eighth annual Pumpkinpalooza, presented by TWIG of Nationwide Children's Hospital,benefits the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit.The family event includes entertainment, rides, bounce houses, face painting, games, crafts and hayrides. Admission is $7 to $13, free for ages 1 and younger.
Fancyburg Park, 3375 Kioka Ave., Upper Arlington
This family event has activities for all ages, including the Huffman's Market Chili Cook-off, pumpkin carving, scarecrow making, apple cider pressing, caramel apple making, a petting zoo, hippity-hop corral, inflatables, live music, arts and crafts, and food. There is a charge for some activities.
Oct. 14, 15, 21, 22
Haunted Statehouse Tours
Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus
Visitors will follow conductors with lanterns through the darkened hallways and chambers of the Statehouse, meeting visitors from the past.While spooky, this historical tour is appropriate for all ages.Go to the website for tour time and ticket information.
Autumn Community Bonfire
Village Green Park, 47 Hall St., Powell
Listen to live music while roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire, eating doughnuts and drinking hot apple cider.
Golden Bear Scare
6:30-7:30 p.m. for elementary-age children, 7:30-9 p.m. for middle schoolers
Smith Nature Park, 1340 Fishinger Road, Upper Arlington
A Scare Ranger will lead groups through the forest and explain the history of the "haunted" park, where visitors will encounter ghosts, witches and zombies. Free.
Circleville Pumpkin Show
This four-day festival, which started in 1903, is an annual favorite that draws people from all over central Ohio. Events include pumpkin-related contests, pageants, rides and activities. Specific hours and events had not been announced as of press time. Admission is free.
Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road, Dublin
The city hosts this fun, not scary, event that typically includes a treat trail, activities and entertainment. Details had not been announced as of press time. Free.
Oct. 21-23, 28-30
Boo at the Zoo
5-9 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 Powell Road, Powell
The zoo bills this as a "merry-not-scary" event where children can dress in costume and collect candy from treat stations. Special activities include meet-and-greets with Batman and Superman, a straw maze, special Animals on Safari and Village Shows, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle appearances, hayrides and more. Free with zoo admission.
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Clintonville Beechwold Community Resources Center, 14 W. Lakeview Ave., Columbus
This fall event includes pumpkin decorating, face painting, apple-cider making, caramel apples and more.
Creekside District, 117 Mill St., Gahanna
The Gahanna Department of Parks & Recreation hosts this annual event, which includes live music, games, activities, a haunted trail and trick-or-treating. Children are encouraged to wear their costumes. The event is free and appropriate for all ages.
Candy by the Carload
Powell Municipal Building, 47 Hall St., Powell
Children in costume can collect candy from the decorated trunks of cars. Free.
Halloween Pet Parade and Fall Festival
Noon to 3 p.m.
Fenlon Street, Easton Town Center
Visitors are encouraged to dress their pets in costume for this 17th annual event, which offers activities for the whole family. The pet parade steps off at 1:30 p.m. in front of Moochie & Co. Free.
Deer Haven Park, 4183 Liberty Road, Delaware
Children are invited to dress in costume to collect treats from characters along the trail. Participants can decorate pumpkins, take a hayride and vote for their favorite scarecrow. The event is free and appropriate for all ages.
Olde Pickerington Village, corner of Center and Columbus streets
This event offers Halloween fun for all ages, including ghost tours, storytelling, hayrides, trick-or-treating at Olde Village businesses, a haunted museum, haunted house, haunted garden, kids' town and entertainment. Free.
Trick or Treat at the Conservatory
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus
Children can come in costume, visit trick-or-treat stations throughout the facility and decorate a treat bag. Free with conservatory admission.