Skip to Content

9 Things to Do with Your Kids This Fall in Columbus

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?

Pumpkins at Leeds Farm near Columbus, Ohio.
Pumpkins at Leeds Farm

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!

Skull Session at the Ohio State University.
Skull Session at The Ohio State University

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!

Fall Fun at Lehner’s Pumpkin Farm

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.

Pumpkins at Freeman’s Farm

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!

Family sitting on a bench amidst pumpkins at Smith Farm Market in Columbus, Ohio.
Fall fun at Smith Farm Market

Here’s a more recent picture of Smith Farm Market in all of it’s fall glory! Just amazing!

Pumpkins Galore at Smith Farm Market

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.

Apples at Orchard and Company in Plain City, Ohio.
Apple Orchard at Orchard & Company in Plain City

4. Attend Boo at the Zoo at Columbus Zoo

Boy at Boo at the Zoo at the Columbus Zoo.
Boo at the 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!

The Farm at Walnut Creek.
The Farm at Walnut Creek

More fun road trip ideas include:

Fall is my favorite time of year for a road trip!

Mother and son at the Dayton Inspires sign.
The Dayton Inspires Mural in The Oregon District

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!

Family walking on a path at a metro park in columbus, Ohio with fall foliage.
Fall Foliage at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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!

Boy walking down a path at Inniswood Metro Gardens during the fall.
Fall Foliage at Inniswood Metro Gardens

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!

Two boys inside a pumpkin house at Franklin Park Cons
A Pumpkin House at Franklin Park Conservatory

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!

The Cascades at Franklin Park in Columbus, Ohio.
The Cascades at Franklin Park in the Fall

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.

Avian Avatars at Dawes Arboretum in Newark, Ohio.
Avian Avatars at The Dawes Arboretum

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!

Huntington Train at the Main Library in Columbus, Ohio.
The Huntington Train at the Main Library in Columbus

What else would you add to the list of “can’t miss” fall activities in Columbus?


Use the share buttons to share this post with your friends!

ICYMI: Fun for the Whole Family at EnterTRAINment Junction

Save this post on Pinterest!

9 things to do with your kids this fall in Columbus, Ohio.


Monday 17th of September 2018

You can add Worthington Halloween train trip in this.. its so nice and kids enjoyed a lot.. my elder one got scared too ..

26 thing you can do in Columbus, Thanksgiving Weekend | Z 107.9

Thursday 24th of November 2016

[…] if you could!) about the OSU/Michigan game taking place at noon on Saturday! Take the family to a Skull Session at St. John […]

26 Things to Do Thanksgiving Weekend in Columbus | What Should We Do Today?

Monday 21st of November 2016

[…] if you could!) about the OSU/Michigan game taking place at noon on Saturday! Take the family to a Skull Session at St. John […]

3 Can’t Miss Pumpkin Patches near Columbus | What Should We Do Today?

Monday 17th of October 2016

[…] more ideas for fall? Check out 9 Things to Do with Your Kids This Fall in Columbus! Happy Pumpkin […]