Fall Fun with the Grandchildren
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Enjoy sunny days with your grandchildren before snow flies. Consider trying these outdoorsy adventures with your young ones.
• Bristol Mountain in Canandaigua offers high-flying fun for children starting at age 4 through adults. With double locking “smart” belays attached to the harnesses, at least one belay is locked onto a safety wire at all times while you traverse the high ropes challenges and zoom along zip lines in the treetops. Think of it as a mash-up of leaf peeping and theme park riding. It’s open weekends in September and October. A limited snack shop selection is available; however, outside food is permitted.
• Clubhouse Fun Center in Greece and Henrietta is a good bet if the weather forecast is iffy. Outside, play a few rounds of miniature golf. But if the weather turns on you, the extensive arcade will keep the kids entertained for quite a while. At the Greece location, there’s also an indoor ropes course, indoor ball pit and outdoor batting cages. At the Henrietta location, visitors can enjoy go-karts three ways: a slow track for beginners, tandem for very young riders (the passenger has a dummy steering wheel) and the fast track for older children through adults. Each clubhouse has a snack shop.
• From mid-August through October, Wickham Farms in Penfield offers guests plenty to do with a jumping pillow, jumping pad, train rides, corn mazes, miniature golf, rubber duck races, and combine slide. On weekends, there’s also apple cannons and hayrides. Food is available for purchase.
• Starting in mid-September through October, weekends at Stokoe Farms in Scottsville are all about family fun during its Harvest Fest, which features farm animals, straw fort, pumpkin launcher, barrel train, apple cannon, nature trail, plus a snack shop.
• Beginning Sept. 15, Halloween and Fall Foliage Trolley Rides at the New York Museum of Transportation in Henrietta can provide a fun way to get to a pumpkin patch for crafts and a doughnut with cider, plus trick-or-treating in Halloween-decorated trolley cars. Rides leave every half hour. Open Sundays only, except for Sat., Oct. 19.
• Throughout September and October weekends, Long Acre Farms in Macedon offers its Fall Festival Weekends. Get lost in a giant corn maze — one of the best rated corn mazes in the state — or the mini maze, play with the kids in the large farm-themed play area, ride the mini train and peruse the farm market for autumn goodies and vended food, including wood-fired pizza. If you’re game, the farm also offers Moonlight Mazes on certain weekends.
• For another farm adventure, Fun on the Farm in Seneca Castle is held every odd year at a different Ontario County farm. This year the event will take place at J. Minns Farms and Sons, located at 3379 Seneca Castle Road, Seneca Castle. As always, this is hosted by a working farm that doesn’t ordinarily open for guests, but does so for the hundreds of visitors who come for just a day (Sept. 21) to tour the barns on a hayride, visit with animals, sample local foods, play games like cabbage bowling and explore a petting zoo and vendor area. Food is available for sale, along with many tastings and samples of local foods.
• Finger Lakes Live Steamers: Fall Public Open House in Clyde will thrill any train enthusiast, young or old. The club opens its 12-acre grounds on Sept. 28 to welcome the public to ride its three different gauge railroads: 7¼-inch, 4¾-inch and Gauge One with more than 800 feet of track. The trains accommodate both children and adults, so you can ride along. Snacks are available for sale. This is a one-day event.
• Get in the fall spirit with Pumpkin Palooza in Lyons. The rural village goes full-on Halloween on Oct. 12 with costume parade, fall-themed games, trunk-or-treat for the children, casket racing, screaming contest, pumpkin roll, zombie walk, Thriller dance-off and more. Food trucks will be present.
As most of these venues and events are weather-permitting, check their websites before heading out for house and any cancellation notices. Also make sure that your footwear and clothing is appropriate for where you’re headed.
Photo: Clubhouse Fun Center in Henrietta offers go-karts three ways: a slow track for beginners, tandem for very young riders and the fast track for older children and adults. Photo by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant.