October Adventures: 16 Things to do with the Kids This Month

Baystateparent Magazine

Topsfield Fair

Friday Oct. 1 through Monday, Oct. 11 


Topsfield Fair.

This quintessential county fair dates back more than two centuries and offers something for everyone -- from traditional agriculture to big entertainment. The fair features a carnival midway, grand parade, pumpkin weigh-offs, musical acts, demonstrations ranging from beekeeping to miniature trains, and of course, great food. Tickets are $11 weekdays, $15 weekends/holiday, or 3-day ticket $25. Children under 8 with an adult are free. For tickets and schedule visit topsfield.org.

Maynard Fest 

Saturday, Oct. 2 


Maynard Fest.

Thousands flock to downtown Maynard each year for this free family-friendly festival. An old fashioned street fair throughout Maynard's downtown, the event includes sidewalk sales, a farmer’s market, vendors, music galore, and dozens of family-friendly activities, including a trackless train ride. More details at assabetvalleychamber.org.

Douglas Oktoberfest

Saturday, Oct. 2


Douglas Oktoberfest.

Vendors line both sides of Main Street offering crafts, food, games, and unique displays at one of the largest events in the Blackstone Valley. Watch the Weiner Dog race, hop on a train ride, enjoy bouncy houses, a car show, and more. The Beer Garden will feature ultra-local Purgatory Brewing with limited edition craft beers. The event will wrap up with a celebration of Douglas' 275th birthday, complete with a custom artisan cake. More information at douglasoktoberfest.com.

Picture Yourself: A Celebration of Women in STEAM

Saturday, Oct. 2


Picture Yourself: Women in STEAM

Who do you see when you picture a scientist? Do you see a stranger in a lab coat, or perhaps a family member, a friend, or a neighbor down the street? Do you see yourself when you picture a scientist? Discovery Museum’s newest exhibit, Picture Yourself: Women in STEAM, features portraits of local female scientists painted by local female artists, with panels that describe each scientist’s work, hobbies, backgrounds, and childhood interests. Displayed throughout the Museum, together the portraits depict a range of ethnicities, backgrounds, research areas, professions, interests, and childhood memories. On Saturday, Oct. 2, guests can meet the local scientists and artists who are represented in the exhibit or who created these amazing works of art. Learn about their work, research, and interests, and discover why they find science and art cool and exciting. They’ll answer your questions as they share what it’s like to be a scientist or artist. Tickets are $15.50 per person, members and children under 1 free. Advanced reservations are required to visit the Museum and can be made 10 days in advance at discoveryacton.org.

Sensory Friendly Day at Broad Meadow Brook 

Monday, Oct. 4


Sensory Friendly Day at Broad Meadow Brook.

Join a sensory friendly experience from 10 a.m. to noon at Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary. Visitation at this time is typically light, and trails should be quiet. Staff will be available to orient you and answer your nature questions. Scavenger hunts for all ages will be available from staff. Explore the trails on your own and at your own pace. Pre-register if possible, and come anytime during the two hour time block. Details at massaudubon.org

Fruitlands Kite Festival 

Sunday, Oct. 10


Sweet little girl running with a kite in front of his mother and sister. Female part of the family spending time in fun and games outdoor.

Take in the sweeping views from atop the Fruitlands hillside and celebrate fall as kites fill the sky. Make your own simple kite at the craft table, bring your own kite to fly, and see the sky fill with colorful floats. Members of Kites Over New England will be there throughout the afternoon showcasing some high-flying kites. Free for Trustees members, $10 per car for nonmembers. Purchase a parking pass in advance of your visit. Space is limited and pre-registration highly encouraged at thetrustees.org.

AppleFest at Wachusett Mountain 

Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16-17 


Wachusett AppleFest.

This popular fall celebration features over 100 craft exhibitors, a farmers' market, kids entertainment and peak fall foliage viewing from the SkyRide. Music, apple pie baking and eating contests, food trucks, and plenty of family entertainment is in store. Check out live shows featuring everything from axe loggers to circus entertainment. Applefest also features an Oktoberfest Celebration complete with authentic German cuisine, a multitude of tasty beers in the Beer Garden and live music. Advance tickets $13 for adults, $6 for kids 6-12; $14/$9 at the door. More at wachusett.com

Harvest Festival 

Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16-17


Sturbridge Harvest Festival.

This annual tradition on the Sturbridge Town Common and grounds of the Publick House Historic Inn includes local crafters, artisans, live music, entertainment, specialty food vendors, a mini food truck festival, and farm fresh harvests. Be sure to check out perennial favorite, the Scarecrow Contest at the Publick House. Details at cmschamber.com.

Owl Prowl at Fruitlands

Wednesday, Oct. 27 


Big yellow eyes of a owl close-up. Great owl eyes looking at camera. Strigiformes nocturnal birds of prey, binocular vision

Take to the trails of Fruitlands Museum to see who-who-who might be out and about in the dark winter woods. Join local naturalist and educator, Laurie Nehring, on this family friendly guided Owl Prowl. Start with a short presentation about winter-time nocturnal animals and how to call in the owls, thenl venture out to see if you can call any owls. This program involves night-time hiking on a moderate hiking trail with some uphill climbs and uneven terrain. Recommended for ages 7 and up. Members $15, nonmembers $25. Pre-registration is required at thetrustees.org.

Hay Rides at Appleton Farms

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in October 


Hayrides at Appleton Farms.

Experience the beautiful scenery, crisp air and changing and vibrant colors of Appleton Farms in the fall with a hay ride across the idyllic property. Rides depart every twenty minutes from 4-7 p.m. Space is limited, pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Member adults $8, member child $4; nonmembers $10/$5. More at thetrustees.org

Hike with Goats at Chestnut Hill Farm

Saturdays in October 


Hike with Goats at Chestnut Hill Farm.

Take a leisurely hike through Chestnut Hill Farm’s beautiful grounds and trails, accompanied by one or more of its friendly goats! Goats are naturally playful and curious creatures. They love to follow the leader and stick together, which makes them perfect hiking companions. Your reservation gets you and your group an hour-long experience with a friendly goat on its own harness and leash. You will first learn how to walk with the goat, and then you’ll be accompanied by a farm staff member as you and your new goat friend make your way around the farm and its trails. Bring your patience and sense of adventure; goats are friendly but they can sometimes be stubborn or want to wander off-path, so they may need to be lured with treats (don’t worry, they’ll supply plenty!). Member family $76; nonmember family $95. Pre-registration is required at thetrustees.org

Fall Fun at Powisset Farm 

Saturdays and Sundays in October 


Fall Fun at Powisset Farm.

Enjoy a classic New England fall day at this historic farm. The weekend event features apple cider, hayrides, a climbing haystack, live music, scenic walking trails, a Storywalk, fall scavenger hunt and a visit to see the barnyard animals. Indulge in farm fresh, wood-fired pizza with an array of toppings, hot and cold cider, wine and craft beer, and other seasonal treats available for purchase. The farm store will be open and full of autumn produce and local products to take home. Member adult $12, member child $9; nonmembers $20/$15. Pre-registration is required. Children under 2 are free and do not need a ticket. More at thetrustees.org

Fall Fun at Chestnut Hill 

Sundays in October 


Fall Fun at Chestnut Hill Farm.

Celebrate all things autumn at picturesque Chestnut Hill Farm. Have an apple cider, hop on a hayride, climb the haystack and listen to live music. Explore walking trails and a Storywalk, and visit goats, chickens and sheep. Indulge in yummy food from The Grub Guru, wine and craft beer, and other seasonal treats available for purchase. Stop in the farm store for seasonal products. Member adult $12, member child $9; nonmembers $20/$15. Pre-registration is required. Children under 2 are free and do not need a ticket. More at thetrustees.org

West End Fall Festival 

Friday nights and weekends through Oct. 31


West End Creamery corn maze.

Unplug at this 28-acre farm just down the road from Purgatory Chasm. For one general admission price, $15.95 per person (kids under 36” free)  you’ll get access to all the fall festival fun, including wagon rides, pedal karts, barnyard jump, tractor tire pile, and of course, the corn maze. This year’s maze celebrates the inaugural Worcester Red Sox baseball season. Bring your flashlight to navigate the corn maze after dark on Friday nights. Mini golf, pony rides, and pumpkins are also offered for additional charge. For more info, go to westendcreamery.com/fallfestival.

Davis Mega Maze, BBQ & Brews

Weekends in October


Davis Mega Maze, BBQ and Brews.

Making your way through a corn maze with miles of pathways. Enjoy family activities in the courtyard, where you can shoot corn cannons, zoom down giant tube slides, soar along a zipline, and more. Join in games like adventure laser tag, human foosball or giant farm volleyball. A petting farm and jump pad are perfect for little ones. All the fun is set to live music, with a rotating lineup of local talent appearing every weekend. Close out the day warming up by a campfire (you can even rent a private firepit for your family!). Details are at davismegamaze.com.

Festival of Illumination at Southwick’s Zoo 



Lantern Experience at Southwick Zoo.

Southwick’s Zoo is illuminated by breathtaking custom-built exhibits consisting of hundreds of Chinese lanterns meticulously handcrafted from silk, steel, and environmentally friendly LED lights through January. Travel the globe through these handcrafted Chinese Lanterns, from the African Savannahs to the Amazon rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef and fascinating regions in between. Advance ticket purchase is recommended. More information is at www.festivalofillumination.com.