Top 10 Unique Fall Family Activities in the Dayton Area
The school year has officially made its mark on your family and as the leaves begin to change in the Dayton area, many parents begin to wonder where the time is going. Rushing between dance classes and soccer practices, it is nearing halfway through October and you have yet to have any quality fall bonding time. Sometimes all it takes is a simple nudge in the right direction to make a plan, and get it on the calendar between events, to create those valuable memories you won’t take for granted. We often think of fall as pumpkin patches and football games, but you can get creative with finding that perfect Dayton area activity that fits your family right where you’re at!
The Cedar Bog Nature Preserve is a hidden secret in the Dayton area. Located northeast of Dayton in Urbana, it offers a unique take on nature and wildlife that many families gravitate towards. A huge perk of the preserve is its boardwalk that makes it easy for families of young children to immerse themselves in nature and enjoy a beautiful fall landscape. There is a diversity of plant and wildlife that will keep everyone in the family entertained for a nice fall afternoon. Many people say they don’t even feel like they are in Ohio! Although a 36 minute drive from downtown Dayton, the rewards of escaping the daily chores of life for a few hours are worth it. Let the kids nap on the way home, grab a coffee and make a day out of it.
For those looking for a little more of a hands-on fall activity, they are offering an Ice-Age Exploration Day on Saturday, October 21st that is by reservation only. Keep a look out for more activities that the nature preserve puts on throughout the year.
If your family is looking for a more traditional fall pumpkin patch activity, but maybe with a spin, Young’s Jersey Dairy is the place to go. They have pumpkins, corn mazes, and farm animals to pet to get your fall fix in. But they also have batting cages, putt putt golf and best of all, the most delicious ice cream around! If your kids ever ask how they make ice cream, bring them to Young’s Jersey Dairy between the hours of 4:30pm-6pm to watch them milk the cows. You could spend hours here and it is definitely worth the drive no matter where you are located in Dayton. Although the crowds can sometimes get a little high at a place like this, the venue itself is large enough that there is plenty of room to spread out. The ice cream shop and their employees are experts at serving ice cream quickly, as well, so you shouldn’t experience much negativity surrounding their popularity. Let’s just say they are popular for good reason!
They have several different fall events going on currently, like the pumpkin festival and haunted wagon rides. This is also a great place to go in the winter once the holidays roll around, as they have Christmas Trees and even Valentine’s Day events.
The crowds at some locations might be too much to handle for some, so Peifer Orchards is just the place to go if you are looking for a more quaint and intimate fall activity for your family. Their U-pick pumpkin patch is open every day of the week during the fall in a beautiful, picturesque orchard perfect for those fall family photos. What is unique about Peifer Orchards is their U-pick apples that are as supplies last until the end of October, so hurry! The kids will love picking apples and maybe they will actually eat it too!
Their orchard is a 10 minute walk from their farm store, which really gives you the sense that you are out hunting for your own apples. Pick a beautiful fall day to stroll through this piece of land, pick some apples and then stop at their farm store on your way out. Make sure you check out their website for the current conditions of their apple supply.
It is sometimes difficult to get the kids to want to go on a hike, or to explore nature, but storybook trails are popping up around the state that are really peaking kids’ interests. John Bryan State Park opened their first storybook trail a few years ago and it is a great way to get the kids to interact with their surroundings all while getting a little exercise. The stories at storybook trails, in general, tend to be more interactive and the kids can’t wait to run from one sign of the story to the next.
The trailhead is located by their new playground and while it is only 0.5 miles long, you can take your time meandering through the woods reading the book. Often times, the families will find themselves going through the trail multiple times since the children enjoy the experience so much. Make sure to bring a book if you would like to trade one in at their little library outside the trailhead.
If it is a beautiful fall day and you are looking for something educational, while also enjoying the outdoor weather, Carillon Historical Park is the place to go. You can learn all about Dayton’s history while being mainly outdoors in the 65-acre open-air museum. The adults will find plenty to read and digest, but the kids will also have their fair share of things to keep them busy as well. The museum opened in 1950 to showcase the “region’s industrial innovations, transportation achievements, and Dayton’s contributions to world progress.” What this means for kids is cars, airplanes and trains! A fan favorite is the miniature train rides the park has on most Saturdays until December. Check the website for specific times. There are also steam engines, train displays and more.
What about those fall days that are just not so great? The ones where the wind is howling, the skies are gray and the colorful leaves just don’t make up for it. This is the day you head to the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Toddlers love this museum, since they are immediately surrounded by real airplanes and can even go inside many of them. The older children appreciate reading the names of the airplanes and learning about their history. There is even a Missile Gallery that stands 140 feet tall that is shocking to see in person for all ages. This museum is completely indoors, with free admission and free parking.
On Saturday, October 21st, the museum is putting on their annual event Troops and Treats from 10am-3pm. The children can come dressed in their costumes and can enjoy an abundance of halloween related activities in the museum, again, all for free. At 4pm, they are playing Hocus Pocus in the Air Force Museum Theater to top off a great fall day. You can’t beat this place!
A fall family bike ride is the perfect thing to do when the weather is nice, especially when you have an established kid friendly bike trail in mind. Iron Horse Park has a paved bike trail loop that is about 2 miles in length, perfect for young families just wanting to get out and experience something a little different. There is a top notch playground you can spend an hour at afterwards, with a packed lunch or snack.
Mini Golf seems to get more attention during the summer months, or on a beach vacation, but with that comes extreme heat and sun exposure. Most people don’t consider going during the fall weather, but it actually is much more enjoyable when you can focus on the golf and not the sweating! Your Adventure Golf wants you to “Come Celebrate Fall” Wednesday - Sunday from 4pm - 9 pm. Kids love mini golf, and since it doesn’t happen very often, they will not know what hit them when you tell them you are hitting up putt putt golf on a fall day! The establishment has been met with some challenges and projects over the last several years, but they are finally back to normal and ready for fun.
Kids love their dogs, yet there just doesn’t seem to be enough activities outside of your backyard that a child and their pup can experience together (at least easily)! Well, the Centerville-Washington Park District has come up with a brilliant idea for any child wanting to have some Halloween fun with their dog. The Hound Hike at Bill Yeck Park is on Saturday, October 28th from 11am to 2 pm. Your child can dress their dog up in their best doggie costume and bring them to the Hound Hike to see if they can sniff out all of the treats. There is even a score sheett involved, so get ready for a competition!
In general, the Centerville-Washington Park District has an endless amount of family activities you can attend at all times of year. One of the ones that might peak your interest in the fall is the outdoor story time. They have one scheduled on Monday, November 13th from 10:30am-11:30am at the Washington-Centerville Public Library, among many other times. This is the perfect opportunity to get out of the house in a free, and easy, manner.
A new event they are adding to their long list of activities is the Crunch Munch Hike on Friday, November 3rd from 7-9pm at Grant Park, Kennard Nature Nook located at 6588 McEwen Road. It looks like the kids will be acting like ground hogs! Find out more information on this event, and others, with their News & Events publication.
Turn Your Backyard Into A Fall Outdoor Event
Sometimes the best fall family activity is just staying home in your backyard. With some basic creativity, you can transform a Friday night into an evening your kids will remember for a long time in the future. Kids love outdoor movie nights, but it doesn’t have to be the big projectors on a garage door you may oftentime see others do. It can be as simple as setting your television up on a table outside, making a fire and watching a movie on a regular size screen with popcorn, blankets and candy. You can also do this in the middle of the day for a football game and just hang out tossing the ball and watching the game outdoors. This is not only free, but convenient and easy to replicate every weekend!
Whatever you decide to do with your family, take advantage of the time now while they are young. It is easy to get immersed in the craziness of life with sports, school and music lessons, but you will never regret taking a beautiful fall day and making the most of it with your family. Pick something from this list and get it on your calendar in the next few weeks. You won’t regret it!