Fall fun for the whole family

Apple picking, football and pumpkin-flavored everything can only mean one thing: Fall has arrived in Minnesota. This special season is short and sweet, so let’s make the most of it, whether that means getting outdoors or participating in some of the fall’s best celebrations, there is no shortage of family fun in Minnesota.

Here is a list of fun activities to add to your weekend schedules this month.

Pick your own adventure

Spend the day outside picking some fresh produce, such as apple or pumpkins.

Minnesota offers a number of local apple orchards where families can pick their own apples, regardless of whether they prefer munch on the crispy fruit or turn it into a baked dessert.

A few of the best orchards in the Twin Cities are:

As for pumpkins, whether you prefer to carve scary faces into them, bake and eat the seeds, or use them as centerpieces, locally grown pumpkins are a must-have this time of year.

A few pumpkin patches include:

An added bonus for families is that many of these orchards and pumpkin patches also have additional attractions ranging from hay rides to mingling with goats, and playgrounds.

Look up all of the “pick-your-own” options by visiting www.pickyourown.org/MN.htm

Visit a museum

On a cold or rainy day, duck into a museum for a day’s worth of fun and learning. Minnesota’s museums showcase world-class art, rare artifacts, local history and hands-on exhibits. This fall, plan a trip to the always fun Spam Museum in Austin or the Bell Museum in St. Paul. And of course, don’t rule out the standards, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Minnesota Children’s Museum and the Walker Art Center.

Go for a ride

What’s a more festive way to explore Minnesota’s beautiful fall foliage. There are a number of different ways to take advantage of the colors of the season, including by car, train, by foot, by bike, and even by hay ride. Below are some ideas to help you plan an afternoon out to see the leaves.

By car

Minnesota’s fall color show progresses from north to south, starting in early September and working its way down the state into mid-October. Sign up for fall color updates to get weekly highlights by email, and explore one of these rainbow routes when the colors are at their peak.

Take a hayride

Bunker Park Stable is a 1600-acre oasis with oak savannahs, grassland and pine forests. Families can also opt to go on a guided tour on horseback through the wilderness. Bunker Park Stable is known for its various wildlife like rabbits, owls, hawks and songbirds.

Ride the rails

Are you ready to experience a Minnesota fall in a brand-new way? It’s time to get yourself to Duluth to ride the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad. With river and lake views, this historic railroad has been a popular way to see fall foliage in Duluth since 1980 – you’ll see why.

Cheer on the home team

The Vikings, Gophers and Minnesota Wild soccer team are among the local teams to root for this fall.

It’s time to celebrate

Pumpkin weigh-offs, scarecrow contests, craft fairs and “booyas” are some of the many ways Minnesota celebrates harvest season. And you can’t forget about Oktoberfest.

Check out some of these festivals and events coming up:

Let’s get spooky

From kid-friendly to frightening, Halloween celebrations of all types can be found in Minnesota. Anoka, the self-proclaimed Halloween Capital of the World, celebrates all month long. Other options include Valleyscare in Shakopee, Zywiec’s Haunting Experience in Cottage Grove, and the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

Drink to your health

Maybe you’re looking for an adults day out with friends, and what better way than to experience the many flavors Minnesota has to offer for beer and wine options.

Cheers to beer

The craft beer scene continues to flourish in Minnesota, and fall is the perfect time to sample the flavors. Many breweries create special Oktoberfest, pumpkin and other seasonal varieties, available in taprooms and growlers to go. Visit the Land of 10,000 Drinks map to plan your fall “brewcation.”

Stomp some grapes

A variety of vineyards in Minnesota host fall harvest and grape stomping festivals during the fall. Many of the events will feature art vendors, live music, and of course wine.

Check out these local vineyards for their schedule of events: