Fall is such a fun time in Central Ohio! Here are 9 things you can only do during the Fall in Columbus and Central Ohio!
There are so many things that can only be done during the fall season and we love to take advantage of as many as we can! From pumpkin farms, to marching bands to road trips, here are 9 things we enjoy doing as a family during the fall!
What Are Some of the Best Things to do with Kids During the Fall in Columbus?
1. Attend a Skull Session at St. John Arena
My kids love instruments and any kind of band, so we were excited, though a little nervous, about taking them to a Skull Session at The Ohio State University! It’s a great way to get caught up in the football spirit, even if you don’t have tickets to the game!
A Skull Session is basically a pep rally where the marching band plays, the players come out and the coach gives a little speech . . . it’s very high energy and really a lot of fun!
I’d recommend either parking on West Campus (parking is $25!) and taking a shuttle or parking in a neighborhood along the Olentangy bike path and walking up the path to St. John Arena.
The Skull session happens 2 hours and 20 minutes before each game and lasts an hour. When it’s over, you can mull around amongst the tailgaters, pick up some free samples (1/4 of a Sugardale hot dog, anyone?) and enjoy the energy of game day.
We were nervous because we weren’t sure what would happen to our strollers when we got there! We were able to take our strollers (yes, we had two) into the arena, but we left them outside the gymnasium, along the outer wall. It was a risk, but no one decided to walk off with a stroller on game day. Phew! I don’t know where else you could put your stroller, as the seating in the gymnasium is very tight. It worked out for us and we were really glad we did it!
You can see the schedule of OSU games here! Friends recommended arriving 20-25 minutes early to get good seats, and I will pass that advice on to you. We got there around 9:20 AM for the 9:40 AM Skull Session and were able to get good seats facing the band.
2. Visit a Pumpkin Patch
There are so many pumpkin patch options, it’s kind of amazing! Every weekend in October is filled with Fall Festivals – honestly, I had no idea before I started this blog how many there are!
Many local pumpkin patches and farms offer Fall Festival Weekends with tons of activities throughout the month of October! Make sure to visit my post, Central Ohio Pumpkin Patches and Fall Festivals for a complete list!
If you’re looking for a pumpkin farm to visit during the week, weekday options include Circle S Farms, evenings at Lehner’s Pumpkin Farm. Pigeon Roost Farm is also open until 7:00 PM Wednesday through Sunday.
If you want the BIG pumpkin farm experience complete with kettle corn, a zip line, a huge pumpkin trampoline, mazes, corn bins, pedal carts and more, make sure to check out 16 Things to Do at Leeds Farm!
Another place we love to go is Smith’s Farm Market! The picture below is a quite a few years old now, but they always have a large selection of pumpkins and picturesque settings for fun pictures with pumpkins!
Here’s a more recent picture of Smith Farm Market in all of it’s fall glory! Just amazing!
3. Go Apple Picking
I’ve shared about our visit to Orchard and Company, and Branstool Orchards, and here’s a list of more farms where you can pick your own apples! There are still apples to be picked at many farms and a lot of them have farm festival weekends as well! If you’re looking for some options during the week (as opposed to the weekend), a few farms are open on select Fridays: Lynd Fruit Farm, and Cherry Hawk Farm, to name a few.
4. Attend Boo at the Zoo at Columbus Zoo
Boo at the Zoo happens each weekend in October this year (2023)! Hours are: Fridays 5pm to 8pm,
Saturdays 10am to 8pm and Sundays 10am to 5pm.
Dress your kids (or yourself!) in costume and visit a lot of vendors in different areas of the zoo who want to fill your kid’s basket with candy! It’s also totally acceptable to take your baby in a cute pumpkin costume in a stroller and accept candy on his or her behalf! 😉
5. Take a Road Trip
If you’re looking for a day trip that is only about an hour or less from Columbus, I’ve got 11 Easy Day Trips from Columbus for Families that fit the bill!
I also shared 6 Ohio Road Trips to Take This Fall for Columbus Moms Blog, one of them being the Fall Festival at The Farm at Walnut Creek. Even if you can’t make it for the festival, a drive to Amish Country will be beautiful when the leaves (finally!) start to change!
More fun road trip ideas include:
- a visit to The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, which is FREE and only about an hour away! There are a lot of family-friendly things to do in Dayton including the amazing Children’s Discovery Garden at Wegerzyn Gardens.
- Springfield, Ohio which is an easy 45 minute drive from Columbus and has a really cool rock garden your kids will love!
- Butler County Donut Trail – hit up 12 local donut shops, EnterTRAINment Junction, or any of these 6 Super Fun Things to do with Kids in Butler County!
- Lancaster Ohio isn’t far at all and has a great hands, on children’s museum! Read: 13 Fun Things to do in Lancaster Ohio with Kids
- Hocking Hills is beautiful in the fall! A hike in the Old Man’s Cave area is just gorgeous when the leaves are changing!
- Cleveland, Ohio is around 2 hours from Columbus and there are a lot of museums where you can use the NARM reciprocal membership or your COSI Membership to get in for free!
Fall is my favorite time of year for a road trip!
6. Visit a Metro Park
Once the leaves start to change, there are some great options for leaf viewing in our local Metro Parks! A great one is Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park! There are walking paths through the woods and also bison viewing! While you’re there, check out the living stream in the Nature Center!
Inniswood Metro Gardens are also beautiful in the fall. Seriously, check out this picture I took during the fall (below)! It felt like a fairy tale! It was amazing! You can read my blog post of some of the best places to see fall leaves in Columbus for more ideas!
- Related: 2 Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids
- Related: 2 MORE Great Metro Park Nature Centers for Columbus Kids
7. Attend Pumpkins Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory
Pumpkins Aglow is a special engagement exhibit at Franklin Park Conservatory which involves hundreds of illuminated pumpkins! This is such a fun event! The Franklin Park Conservatory’s Children’s Garden is decorated with pumpkins, spooky elements and is home to the incredible pumpkin houses!
Dates for 2023 are: 5-9pm Wednesdays, Thursdays & Sundays and NEW this year: 5-10pm Fridays & Saturdays during October 11–15, 18–22 & 25-29. There is an additional fee for this event and reservations are strongly recommended!
When you’re at the Conservatory, don’t underestimate your local city park for fall beauty. The public area of Franklin Park surrounding Franklin Park Conservatory is particularly beautiful in the fall and free to visit!
There are plenty of other Halloween events in Columbus to choose from, as well! There’s something to choose from every day of the week!
8. See Larger Than Life Bird Sculptures at The Dawes Arboretum
Avian Avatars consists of six natural sculptures created by The Myth Makers, featuring various birds and towering up to 20 feet tall! These sculptures will slowly deteriorate over time and will remain at The Dawes Arboretum over the course of their life.
If you’re going to The Dawes Arboretum, check out my list of things to do with kids in Newark, Ohio and maybe plan for a stop at The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology, a great science museum for all ages!
9. Visit the Huntington Holiday Train at Main Library
This is something I consider a Christmas tradition for our family, but it does usually arrive before Thanksgiving, so technically, it’s a fall activity, right? 😉 In mid November, the train will be installed at the Main Library! It’s really beautiful, and if you have train lovers, like I do, it’s something you have to see!
What else would you add to the list of “can’t miss” fall activities in Columbus?
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