FALL FAMILY ACTIVITIES

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Fall has finally arrived, and with it, the smell of pumpkin spice and apple cider. Many of us look forward to fall – the cozy sweaters, the hot cups of tea and soup, the decorations, the fresh air and the crisp leaves. The weather is not too hot but not too cold, and many of us want to get out and experience what fall has to offer before being forced indoors by the freezing cold of winter. .

However, with so much to do on top of our normal daily lives, many of us can feel overwhelmed, especially those of us with children. Between working, caring for our kids, and now going back to school (maybe both kids and parents), you might be feeling too tired to try and find something fun to do.

I am here to help you! This article will provide many safe and fun activities for people of all ages. I even took the liberty of bringing my own child to these events to test which ages would be best for certain activities.

Liepold Farms Fall Festival – in Boring, Oregon

Last weekend, Liepold Farms opened for its annual fall festival, which will run until October 31. I took my 2 year old son with me to explore the farm. Hay bales and pumpkins for decoration were a remarkable sight. Upon arrival, we presented our tickets and were told to wear our COVID masks, even outside. Once inside we started with the apple slingshot activity. The slingshot was great fun; however, I would not recommend it for a 2 year old without help. It’s easy to pull

back, but a 2 year old lacks aiming skills, and mine nearly nailed a friend of ours in the head! I would say that from 5 years old it would be better for the slingshot.

The corn maze was a bit muddy; I recommend rain boots and bringing an extra pair of clothes. The hay ride was a favorite for both of us, in the meantime. The pumpkin patch is highly recommended. And the kids pavilion was perfect for toddlers and older kids. Liepold also has a cafe offering food and drinks. I brought our own food and didn’t try the coffee.

Overall I would give Liepold’s Farm a 10/10 for all ages. What you need to know: Tickets are ONLY available online and masks are required for all children 2 years and older. It’s a little muddy, so bring extra boots and clothes. For more information: https://liepoldfarms.com/

Spirit of Halloweentown – in the town of St. Helens, Oregon

Spirit of Halloweentown is a festival celebrating Halloween and the movie “Halloweentown”, which was filmed in St. Helens (about 40 minutes north of Portland via US Highway 30). Ticket sales started on September 18 and the festival continues until October 31. Operators ask you to wear your mask in and out of town and have hand sanitizing stations throughout the city. There is parking available in town on weekends, but you will have to pay for parking. On weekdays, parking is free.

The large pumpkin in the middle of the town square is breathtaking, inspired by the pumpkin from the movie of the same name. It’s definitely a must see, and if you visit in the evening the pumpkin will be lit. We visited the haunted hotel, it was a bit scary for a 2 year old; however, I think it would be perfect for ages 4 and up. We also visited the Museum of Oddities, which was great fun, even for toddlers. We walked through the Pumpkin King Tunnel; I highly recommend it.

We stayed for two days to do all the activities available. This festival was amazing and I highly recommend it as it’s perfect for all ages and lots to do. What you need to know: Tickets are only available

online, weekend parking costs money, accommodation is available for those who want to stay, the festival is small enough to walk around, and it’s cold at times; bring light coats or heavy jackets. Masks are compulsory in the city from 2 years old. More information is available at https://spiritofhalloweentown.com/attractions/

Some other child-friendly attractions:

Mt. View Orchards – located in the hamlet of Mt. Hood (on Oregon Highway 35 near Parkdale, Oregon), open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is a great U-pick orchard. No reservation is necessary. We have fresh apples, flowers, plums and peaches. It was easy for my 2 year old son to do and we both had fun. Dogs are also allowed on the farm, if kept on a leash. There’s also a patio where you can head to try root beer, wine, beer, farm ciders and more. See: https://www.mtvieworchards.com/

Leach Botanical Garden, at 6704 SE 122nd Ave. in Portland, is a beautiful place to see the changes of fall. The garden offers free admission from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday, until spring 2022, and I recommend it for all ages; the trails are suitable for strollers. See: https://leachgarden.org/

Hoyt Arboretum, at 4000 SW Fairview Blvd. in Portland (just north of the Oregon Zoo in the West Hills of Portland) is available with free admission from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. This park, with many hiking trails, is a great place to watch the trees change color. I recommend this hike for all ages; the trails are stroller friendly, although a little rough in places due to tree roots and gravel. I recommend bringing snacks and plenty of water. See: https://www.hoytarboretum.org/

Visit your local library: There are many libraries located in Oregon, and they have started opening their doors to us again. The Multnomah County Library branch in Gresham is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. most days; ditto for the Sandy Public Library; and several Portland-are libraries have also reopened. Hours may vary. See: https://multcolib.org/

Visit your local parks! Many parks allow people to return to play in children’s playgrounds. I highly recommend visiting a local park and playground.

There are many fall activities to do near and far, free and already paid. Whether you choose to venture closer to home or not, you’re bound to find something fun to do with the whole family. Get out and explore – adventure awaits us all.

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