By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Enjoy sunny days with your grandchildren before snow flies. Consider trying these outdoorsy adventures with your young ones.
Take a walk at Enchanted Beaver Lake hosted by Beaver Lake Nature Center Oct. 17 through 20. The park showcases hundreds of different carved jack-o-lanterns and luminaries that light two trails. Suitable for younger children, the event includes face painting, fortune telling and snacks. Reservations required. Purchase tickets in advance in person or by phone.
In addition to its tasting room, Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards in Lafayette hosts a number of child-friendly fall activities each weekend. They include apple picking all season, the Kids’ Treehouse play area and pony rides. It also features a very large gift shop, cider mill and a bakery with fresh doughnuts. It’s self-described “apple campus” isn’t an exaggeration — it’s a large facility that in 2015 won USA Today’s readers designation as the top orchard nationwide.
Beginning weekends in October, plus Columbus Day, Our Farm in Manlius offers traditional family fun with a corn maze, pumpkin trebuchet, hay ride and petting zoo. The mix of activities can entertain a wide age range of children, so bring along all the grandchildren.
Weekends, plus Columbus Day through the end of October, Abbott Farms in Baldwinsville hosts a fall festival with you-pick apples, gift shop, corn maze wagon rides, play areas, farm animals, cider press, fish pond and an apple cannon. Check the website for group discounts.
Critz Farms in Cazenovia hosts weekend activities through October, featuring live music, gift shop, you-pick apples and pumpkins, corn maze, cow train, farm animal area, playground and giant hay bale climbing tower.
If straight-up apple picking is what you want, go to Burrell’s Navarino Orchard in Syracuse. The orchard welcomes guests to pick their own each weekend through the end of October. The farm also has a market featuring New York products.
Ontario Orchards Farm in Oswego also sells a wide variety of New York goods at the market. Through mid-October, you can pick your own apples and pumpkins at the farm in Sterling.
Go leaf peeping aboard the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in Utica. A big hit for your little train buffs, this outing also gives you a chance to enjoy the season’s foliage without hiking or risking driving while distracted. Some of the round-trip rides include stops at restaurants and points of interest in the destination town before heading back to Utica. Review the various packages available on the railroad’s website, including the Family Halloween Train.
If you and your older grandchildren (maybe 7 or 8 and older) love a good scare, consider Frightmare Farms Haunted Scream Park in the Oswego County town of Palermo Fridays and Saturdays all October. Its spooky features include a haunted house, labyrinth, and trail, all populated by creepy costumed actors in various scary scenarios. You can also host a party by reserving a private pad with shelter and your own campfire for groups of eight or more.
As most of these venues and events are weather permitting, before heading out check their websites for hours and any cancellation notices. Some venues may include more up-to-date information on their social media pages. Also make sure that your footwear and clothing are appropriate for where you’re headed.
Photo: Adirondack Scenic Railroad gives you a chance to enjoy the season’s foliage. Round-trip rides include stops at restaurants and points of interest.