Written by Carol Martin, Insurance Billing, Finance Dept.
Autumn means it is time for raking leaves, football games, bonfires, hayrides and everything pumpkin spiced. It’s also the perfect time to have some fun outside with the family, before the snow flies. Here are some autumn activities, guaranteed to provide your brood with fall family fun.
Century II Concert Hall will present the musical “Wicked,” from Wednesday-Sunday, October 12-23, nightly at 7:30 p.m., or matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets prices vary.
Century II’s Mary Jane Teall theater will hold the Laughing Feet Performers’ Superheroes Variety Show, Friday-Sunday, October 28-30, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday.
Century II Convention & Exhibition Halls will host the 36th Annual Wichita Asian Festival on Saturday, October 29, from 5:30-10 p.m. Stage performances, food, art and Kids Corner, with free admission.
Cowtown’s Hay, Hooves & Halloween is Saturday and Sunday, October 29-30, from 4-8 p.m. There will be games, candy, songs and a zombie gunfight. Admission is $5.00 per person for the whole family.
Exploration Place is hosting Spooky Science, a fun activity with messy experiments and costumes. Event is Saturday and Sunday, October 22-23, with general admission prices.
Home Depot has Kids Workshops on the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m.-noon. This is a free activity, which includes kit, apron, certificate and pin.
Kansas Cosmosphere is hosting Space Out Saturday, on Saturday, October 15, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The event is free, although some attractions will have admission fees. It features STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities and story time.
Museum of World Treasures hosts Family Night every first Thursday from 5-7 p.m. Come see Ivan, the T. Rex, Egyptian mummies, and extensive Hollywood memorabilia. Admission is $5.00 per person.
Sedgwick County Zoo’s Night of the Living Zoo, is Friday-Sunday, October 28-30, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Features games, spooky displays and Candy Land. Tickets are just $7 in advance.
Sedgwick County Zoo’s Spooktacular is on Saturday, October 8, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Non-members fee is $10 for grades K-5, and includes learning, Zoo walk, story time and craft. Part of the Zooper Kids program, this month’s activity will question why some animals get a creepy reputation.
Starlite Drive-In has $13 carload nights each Friday-Sunday, September-October.
Wichita Public Library and others, present Big Read Wichita, from October 1-November 15. The book for this year is the sci-fi classic Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (suitable for kids aged 12-up).
Wichita Toy Train Museum will host the 30th Anniversary of the Wichita Toy Train Club, Saturday-Sunday, October 8-9. Features loads of toy trains, games and prizes. The whole family gets in to the show for $5 (total!).
Arkansas City’s Arkalalah festival: Wednesday-Saturday, October 26-29. Features three parades, pancake breakfast, street games, dodgeball and cornhole tournaments, carnival, fireworks, face painting, kids’ fun run and marching band competition. Festival is free; carnival charges for rides.
Bel Aire Fall Festival: Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Features car show, bounce house, air brush tattoos, petting zoo, food truckers and business fair, face painting and covered wagon train rides. Admission is free.
Columbus Day Festival Hot Air Balloon Regatta: Friday-Sunday, October 7-9. Features scarecrow contest, bean feed, BBQ cook-off, parade, kid’s games and inflatables and a tractor pull, in addition to the balloon regatta. Fee for parking at the regatta.
Haven Fall Festival: Saturday, October 8 from 8 a.m. -11 p.m. Features breakfast, 5K run/walk, inflatables, parade, craft show, tethered hot air balloon rides, and a concert followed by fireworks. Kids’ wristband is $5.00.
Haysville Fall Festival: Friday-Sunday, October 21-23. Features a parade, carnival, food court, games and inflatables. Buttons are $3.
Independence’s Neewollah Festival: Friday, October 21-Saturday, October 29. Features three parades, The Little Mermaid stage presentation, carnival, chili cook-off and medallion hunt. Admission for carnival and special events only.
Maize Fall Festival: Friday and Saturday, October 14-15. Features parade, carnival, Amazing Voice talent show, games and food vendors. Carnival tickets are $20 in advance, but the other activities are free.
Park City Fall Festival: Saturday, October 22. Features pumpkin painting, concert, costume contest and hayrides. Admission is free.
Rose Hill Fall Festival: Friday-Sunday, October 7-9. Features parade, carnival, chili feed, turtle races, petting zoo and free kids plane rides. Kids’ admission is free and a $2 button for adults.
FARM FUN (not all activities are handicapped accessible; long pants & sturdy shoes recommended)
Applejack Pumpkin Patch (Augusta) boasts zip line, hayrack rides, petting zoo, wooden train and milo and corn mazes. Bathrooms are handicapped accessible. Admission is $8, with a few activities that have an extra fee. Cash, credit or debit payments only. Open now through October 31.
Bergmann’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch (Haysville) owns the largest (15-acre) corn maze in Kansas, with pony rides, carnival games, tractor tire swing and inflatables. Admission is $14 for adults; $12 for kids aged 5-12 (cash or check only).Carnival games and sling shot are extra. Bathrooms are NOT handicapped accessible. Open now through November 5.
Cox Farms (south Wichita) is open now through October 29, with corn maze, pumpkin patch, petting zoo, produce store, playground and hay rides. Admission is $8. Concessions on site.
The Kansas Maze at Gaeddert Farms (located in Buhler) was the first corn maze in Kansas and is still going strong. The farm is open now until October 29, and features a 5-acre corn maze, pumpkin patch, playland and concession stands, all in a family-oriented, non-scary atmosphere. General admission is $2, but the playland and corn maze cost extra. Credit cards are accepted for admission only; food and pumpkins are cash or check.
Louisburg Cider Mill (near Kansas City) is open year-round, but the corn maze and pumpkin patch only last until November 1. They have a country store, play area, tricycle track, concessions and live music on select dates. Their apple cider is legendary, and you can watch them make it. Admission is $9 (credit cards accepted), with produce, jump pillow and concessions extra.
Meadowlark Farm (Rose Hill) is open through October 31 and has a pumpkin patch, corn maze, produce store, pick-your-own apple orchard, petting zoo and hayrack rides. Admission is $8 per person, with produce at an extra cost. Restrooms are NOT handicapped accessible, but they strive to accommodate everyone on their farm.
Steffan Apple Orchard (Conway Springs) has pick-your-own fruit on over 20 acres of trees. Available late August through October. Pay with cash or check. Most apples were damaged by hail this year, but are great tasting for applesauce or pies.
Walter’s Pumpkin Patch (Burns) is ADA compliant in most areas, except for a few small gravel-paved play areas. It features a 30-acre pumpkin patch, corn maze, train rides, Cinderella’s Carriage, zip line, duck races, country store, concessions, games and play area. Admission is $9, while some activities are extra.
COOL FALL CRAFTS
Concoct your own slime, or make googly-eyed spiders. There are many cool, multi-sensory crafts for all at A Day in our Shoes (awesome special needs family blog).
ALTERNATIVES TO TRICK-OR-TREATING/COSTUMES
Not every child is into the whole costumes and candy thing, and that’s okay; especially when there are so many activities to do together at home. How about a family board game or movie night? A campfire on the backyard grill with hot dogs and s’mores is delicious fun, or stock up on flour and sugar and bake up some tasty treats. It’s great to get everyone in the kitchen, working on a project. Passing out candy to the trick-or-treaters that come by is always a good time. A spooky scavenger hunt in the yard, or house, with lights on, or off, is a creative way to work off some of those candy calories. Give everyone a flashlight and work in teams. Many area churches and nursing homes host Trunk or Treat events. These are welcoming to all and non-scary.
A family movie or reading night is cuddly fun at home. Grab blankets and pillows, popcorn or other favorite snacks, and watch a fall-themed movie on TV or read aloud a funny or spooky book. According to Parenting magazine, the best movies are The Nightmare before Christmas, Coraline, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie, Gremlins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
“The changing seasons offer a great opportunity to enjoy nature as a family. Getting in touch with nature is especially rewarding in fall, when there are many activities you might try. Leaf collecting, bug and bird identification, and weather spotting just to name a few! Let these books give you inspiration for your next outdoor adventure.” –Erin Downey Howerton, youth services librarian, Wichita Public Library
Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids by Rebecca Cohen
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
Let’s go outside! : Outdoor Activities and Projects to Get You and Your Kids Closer to Nature by Jennifer Ward
Nature in Your Backyard by Susan Lang
Nature Crafts for Kids by Gwen Diehn and Terry Krautwurst
The Little Hands Nature Book by Nancy Fusco Castaldo
Special thanks to Carolyn @ Wichitaonthecheap.com, Erin Downey Howerton @ Wichita Public Library, Lisa Lightner @ Adayinourshoes.com, Elina Bolokhova @Parenting magazine, www.wichita.com/events, Becky Walter @ Walter’s Pumpkin Patch.