Falling for Fall: Top Five Ways to Celebrate Fall in the Austin Area

Fall

I may be a little over-eager about fall’s arrival. Who can blame me (and the countless other parents in our area, really) for daydreaming about pumpkin spice lattes, jack-o-lanterns and long sleeves?

Yes, football is here, which offers a nice reprieve from being outside in the too-often muggy, still, hot air. Some new shows are starting on network TV. Families are (mostly) back into the school routine.

The truth is, for many of us Texans, autumn (which, believe it or not, starts on Saturday) is more of a concept than a reality. We are left, pondering Halloween costumes for the kids, knowing that some years it can be 90 degrees and in others years, the holiday is a better marker of cooler temperatures than the beginning of the season between summer and winter.

Without the markers of the season which families experience in other parts of the country (see: apple picking), we count on events to usher in the season. Here are our top five ways to commemorate fall in Central Texas:

barton hills

Barton Hills Farms Fall Festival and Corn Maze-  The activities include a corn maze, pumpkin patch, farm animals, fun activities, delicious food and local vendors. New this year: a Willie Nelson-themed maze! Last year, the was even beer for the grownups! We had a few minutes to share one while the kids played in the wooden ship that is also a sandbox. Hours: Saturdays (10am-10pm) and Sundays (10am- 5pm) starting September 28, 2013 until November 10, 2013. Cost: $7 for ages three to 10 and $10 for ages 11 and up, and includes entry into the corn maze. Children two and under are free but must be accompanied by a paying adult. Purchase your tickets online and save $1 on admission.

elgin

Fall Fun and Pumpkin Festival at Elgin Christmas Tree Farm-  The Pumpkin Festival  takes place on the 2nd and 3rd weekends in October; October 12th & 13th and October 19th & 20th, 2013. Saturday hours are 10-5pm and Sunday from Noon- 5:30pm. Parents can enjoy the live music (and eating great food) while the kids stay busy decorating pumpkins, competing in the duck races and playing on the playground.  Plan to spend the day, there’s so much to do. Admission:  $6 Kids (2 – 12 years of age),  $8 Adults and Older Kids (13 and Older).  The Fall Festival begins on October 5th. They will be open weekdays and the 1st and 4th weekends in October with lots of fun activities for the cost of admission. Hours: Monday – Thursday 10:00am – 2:00pm, Fridays and Saturdays 10:00 am– 5:30pm, Sundays 12:00 – 5:30pm.  Admission: $6 per person (2 years old – senior citizen). Included with admission: Hayride, Animals to Visit, Mazes, Rubber Duck Races, Playgrounds, Picnic Areas, Pumpkin Photos, Hay Jumps. For an extra cost: Christmas Cottage and Barn Store, Great Selection of Pumpkins to Buy, Kiddie Train Ride (Weekends Only), Mini Pumpkin Decorating.

crowes nest

Crowe’s Nest Fall Fest – This 30th anniversary celebration will include hayrides, cow-milking demos, snake shows, and Last Chance Forever will be flying their birds of prey at 2:00 p.m. You also get the chance to visit all the farm’s animals and check out the Butterfly House and Faeriewood. Saturday, October 19th, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Cost: $8 adults, $6 child (ages 3-12), $2 (2 year olds) and free for under 2.

sweet berry

Harvest the Fall Fun at Sweet Berry Farm – Starting on September 28th and running through November 8th (except on Wednesdays), you can enjoy stuff your own scarecrow, hayrides, corn mazes, the barrel train, pick your own flowers, homemade ice cream and visiting the goats, horses and chickens. On weekends you can enjoy horse rides, face painting and food from the Pumpkin Grill. You can also pick up pumpkins, gourds, squash and other decorative items while you are there. No entrance fee, and activities are individually priced. No pets.

ut soccer

Fall sports – Maybe you aren’t the festival-going type. Perhaps fall for you means Hail Marys, hat tricks and digs. If that’s the case, there are plenty of sporting events which are kid-friendly. For you die hard Longhorn fans, this season’s disappointing start can mean it’s easier to find tickets to a football game. Did you realize the UT women’s volleyball team is right now in the top 10 in the nation (knocking on wood over here)? The women’s soccer team games draw a lot of families. The Longhorn Kids Club can get you free admission to many events and a chance to meet coaches and athletes. The Texas Stars Hockey Club starts its games at the Cedar Park Center in late September. Chances are, your kids would be perfectly content checking out a game at your neighborhood middle or high school.

What’s your favorite way to ring in fall? If you are looking for even more fall fun, check out our friend Rebecca’s post here.

A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her newly-minted-7-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau’s words, her mission is to “suck out all the marrow of life”, or in her son’s words, to cultivate in him a love of “advenchers”.

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