It's fall. For kids, the bad news is school's back in session. The good news is it's time to roll out the costumes, pumpkins and harvest-themed fun. From ankle biters to teens, there's fun for everyone.
For itty bitty kiddies on up:
When you need pumpkin-centric fun and you need it now, nothing beats Gro-Moore Farms. Conveniently located at 2811 East Henrietta Road, this place has it down to a science. Face painting, pumpkin decorating, goat feeding...it's all here. Innovative owners travel the country offering advice on how to keep fall family activities fresh, year after year. Check out the giant tractors made of hay.
Activities offered Saturdays and Sundays through October 29 (and Columbus Day) 10 a.m.5 p.m. Free admission to mazes, pumpkin slide, petting zoo and haunted barn. For $9, kids can enjoy all fee activities including rubber duckie races and hayrides, or pay $1 to $2 for individual activities. Visit www.gromoorefarms.com or call 359-3310.
For an idyllic experience the kids can one day mention in your eulogy, check out Springdale Farm at 700 Colby Street in Spencerport. In a picturesque rural setting with free admission, visit a veritable Noah's Ark of farm animals and enjoy nature trails, a duck pond, playground, greenhouse, visitor center and more. A state-of-the-art dairy barn with a herd of 60 cows and a nominal admission fee keeps things real.
Springdale's Harvest Festival takes place Saturday, October 21, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and features miniature horse-drawn carriage rides, bluegrass music, fishing, crafts and more. Food available; pumpkins, too. Admission is $3 for ages 12 and up, $2 for ages 3 to 11, free for kids 2 and under. Info at www.springdalefarm.org or call 340-2090.
Who doesn't love cool stuff made out of balloons? Return to Balloon Manor, a friendly haunted mansion constructed by an international team of balloon artists, will appear Brigadoon-style at Medley Centre for nine short days. Animatronics will allow balloon creatures to move. Proceeds from the 100,000-balloon exhibit will benefit cancer patients.
Open October 20, 3-9:30 p.m.; October 21, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; October 22, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; October 25-27, 3-9:30 p.m.; October 28, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; October 29, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Ages 12 and up pay $10, kids under 12, $6. Discounted tickets available at Wegmans. Visit www.balloonmanor.com.
For older kids
Preteens are people, too. And they deserve an event designed with them and their teenage buddies in mind. Fear at Frontier picks up where Return to Balloon Manor leaves off, with a "boo" type scare designed for ages 8 and up. Nobody gets grabbed, but the robotics, animatronics and actors in the 20,000-"scare feet" attraction pop out and give kids a fright. Curse of DarkCastle, Pirates of the Genesee 3-D, Insanity, Black Hole and Ghostly Manor are the five all-new attractions.
Open Thursday through Sunday, September 28-October 29 (except October 1). Hours: Thursday and Sunday, 7-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7-11 p.m. (first two weekends), 7 p.m.-midnight (remaining three weekends). $15 at the door, discount coupons at Hess stations, Applebees and Blockbuster. Family Fun Day, October 29, 2-5 p.m. features kid-friendly thrills minus the chills for $5. Go to www.FearAtFrontier.com or call 262-3829 ext. 3411.
For the whole family
There are corn mazes, and then there's the corn maze. "Pirates of the Green Phantom" is the theme of this year's Amazing Maize Maze at Long Acre Farms, 1342 Eddy Road in Macedon. Feel like Captain Jack Sparrow himself as you roam the maze searching for 12 pieces of a treasure map that will help you solve the maze and win your freedom. If you think you're pirate enough, visit the maze at night for an extra challenge.
The Amazing Maize Maze is open Saturdays and Sundays through October 29, plus Columbus Day, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Moonlight Maze dates are October 6, 7, 13, 20, 27 and 28 5-9 p.m. (bring a flashlight). Admission is $8 for ages 12 and up, $6 for ages 5 to 11, under 4 free. Combo tickets available including admission to the Back 40 play area. Visit www.longacrefarms.com or call 315-986-9821.
Thomas the Tank Engine fans, history buffs and trainspotters rejoice! The Arcade and Attica Railroad, well worth the 75-mile drive from Rochester, offers 90-minute excursions stopping briefly at the historic Curriers Station. A World War II-era diesel locomotive pulls circa 1915 coaches, including an open observation car for unobstructed views of spectacular fall foliage.
The Arcade and Attica Railroad departs from a 100-year-old train station located in Arcade at 278 Main Street. Dates for Fall Foliage runs are October 6-8, 13-15, and 20-22. Departs Saturday and Sunday at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.; Friday 2 p.m. only. Wear your costume for Halloween Haunted House excursions on October 28 and 29 at noon and 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for ages 12 and up, $7 ages 3 to 11, free for 2 and under. Reservations recommended. Food available.Info at www.anarr.com or call 492-3100.