One of the things many families love most about living in Northeast Ohio is the changing of the seasons. Sure, winter might get old when we’re still sheltering from single-digit temperatures at the end of February…but it’s the year-round variety of temperatures — and the activities that go with them — that allows for family fun no matter the season.
Fall months are particularly family-friendly, with gorgeous foliage, warm days and crisp nights. It’s the last chance to enjoy being outdoors unencumbered by snowsuits, and the perfect time to enjoy nature’s bounty at area farms.
From activities and adventure to food and learning something new, check out all there is to do at farms in the region this fall.
Focus on Animals
To see how farmers prepare animals for the upcoming winter and how fall crops are harvested, visit Lake Metroparks Farmpark (lakemetroparks.com), a working farm and education center located in Kirtland. The Farmpark features dairy cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, rabbits, horses, alpacas, goats, a plant science center, farm machinery exhibits, playground and horse or tractor-drawn wagon rides.
While the Farmpark’s daily activities include demonstrations and educational programs related to farming and gardening, special Fall Harvest Weekends focus on seasonal fun. During Apple Harvest Weekend in September, witness traditional harvest activities and discover how apple butter and cider are made, take a tour of the “Johnny Appleseed Trail,” and enjoy harvest activities including an apple-themed craft. During Corn & Pumpkin Weekend in October, families can play pumpkin bowling, make handmade corn husk dolls and paint pumpkins to take home. All visits to the Farmpark during the fall include admission to its three-acre corn maze.
For an extra educational twist on fall farm life, bring your family to Hale Farm & Village (wrhs.org), a living history museum operated by the Western Reserve Historical Society. Located in Bath within the boundaries of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Hale Farm & Village lets visitors explore 19th century life in the Western Reserve and includes 32 historic structures, craft and trade demonstrations, farm animals and gardens. Costumed interpreters help provide a look into daily life on the farm at that time.
In October, Hale Farm & Village’s Harvest Festival weekends include opportunities to see foods prepared and preserved for winter, use antique farm equipment to press apple cider, grind and shell corn, make and taste apple butter and sauerkraut, and enjoy old fashioned popcorn. The Hale Farm barnyards also feature harvest activities and animals, including chickens, oxen, hogs and sheep.
For fresh-picked fun on the farm, head to a local apple orchard with your family. Whether you pick a handful of apples or enough to fill a bushel, the experience is well worth the trip for even the youngest children. Once you’re finished at the orchard, extend the fun at home by working together to create a seasonal recipe that features apples.
Several orchards in Northeast Ohio offer pick-your-own apples, as well as other family-friendly activities during the fall months.
Facts About Fall
You know what they say: you learn something new every day. Share these autumn facts with your kids, so they can impress their teachers and friends.
In the Fall, there is less sunlight, which makes the days feel shorter.
The migration of monarch butterflies from the U.S. to Mexico occurs every Fall.
Deciduous trees are those that shed their leaves in autumn.
The heaviest pumpkin ever recorded in the U.S. was a 2,560-pound gourd in Anoka, Minnesota.
The average ear of corn has 800 kernels in 16 rows.
Fall Funnies: Get your children grinning with these seasonal jokes.
Q: What do you use to repair a jack-o-lantern?
A: A pumpkin patch.
Q: What did the oak tree say when autumn came around?
A: Leaf me alone.
Q: Why do birds fly south in the fall?
A: Because it’s too far to walk.
Q: What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple?
A: Finding half a worm.
Q: What did one autumn leaf say to the other?
A: I’m falling for you.