10 Fall Family Activities in Utah
Fall is a magical time of year and we feel blessed to live in a place where we get to experience four distinct seasons and all the traditions we have to celebrate each season. There is always a special feeling about Fall for our family. In a lot of ways, it's about beginnings. School traditionally starts in the Fall, I started my two-year church mission in the Fall, Martina and I met in the September, Boston, and Martina, both have birthdays in Fall months, and it is the start to the holiday season. So while I could go on and on about this great time of year, here are the things our little Clan loves to do in the Fall here in Utah. Let us know if you get a chance to check them out! And make sure to bundle up!!! You just never quite know for sure in Utah's October!
Hike or Drive to Look at Fall Colors
Everyone knows that New England has some of the most impressive vistas of fall oranges, yellows, and reds in the world, but not many are aware that Utah has some pretty great leaf watching spots too. While there are many to choose from, one that is near and dear to us is the Alpine Loop. The 20-mile drive can be started from either end of the "loop", but we feel the best way to go is from American Fork Canyon into Provo Canyon - if you're looking for the most breathtaking views of mountains of changing colors. Also, check out Nebo Loop a little more south into Utah Valley. You'll want to bring a camera so you can prove to your friends back East that Utah is pretty in the Fall, too. Our favorite time to go is in between mid September to mid October. Pack a picnic and go for a hike! Perfect weather and beautiful views ahead for you and the clan!
Let me say, first and foremost, Martina and I are not into scary movies - quite frankly I don't want to know what those people did last summer nor do I care to speak with any clowns hiding in a gutter. If that's your jam then rock on, but for us, we prefer the more family-friendly side of Halloween (which is ironic considering Halloween's origins. Have you been to Salem, MA? Creepy!). You can find a full list of our Favorite Halloween Movies on another blog I've written, so I won't go over them here, but we love to cozy up on the couch with some popcorn and hot cider, under a blanket and enjoy silly witches, pumpkin kings, and goofy ghosts.
While most people start geeking out about the pumpkin spice lattes that hit the market in the Fall, it's all about the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for us! This is something I grew up with and at least for me, it isn't truly Fall without a batch of these in the house. The recipe is simple enough for the children to help out and they absolutely LOVE to help baking. For any bakers out there, here's the official Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from Harmon's (a local grocery store known for really highlighting Utah foodie goodness), and another good recipe from iheartnaptime.net. Enjoy!
It seems like there are new pumpkin patches every year, but we're not complaining! We've been going to pumpkin patches since Boston could walk and the kids love exploring the patches and choosing their pumpkins. It warms our heart to watch the kids debate with themselves as to what will make the best pumpkin - a tough decision for any child. The hunting adventure is what they look forward to the most. Some of the bigger pumpkin patches really go all out and are like little fairs every night: they have petting zoos, rides, hot chocolate, places to take the perfect Instagram Fall picture, and so much more. While it isn't entirely clear how COVID-19 will affect all of these patches this year, what is clear is that we will be there (safely) having as much fun as possible. Maybe we'll see you there with a really dirty wheelchair! Some fun ones we've been to:
Kuwahara Thriller Park and Pumpkin Patch, Draper, UT- Half of the park is a very cute pumpkin patch for kiddos and cool parents alike. There are some cute pumpkin walls there for photo ops, as well as green houses that keep the pumpkins. The other half is more suitable for older children who want a thrill, which we opted out of because of our little ones. Parking was slim on a Friday night, but we were able to find one after playing the waiting game, and the line is pretty massive as well, so please account for that!
Hee Haw Farms, Pleasant Grove, UT- This farm was jam packed with all sorts of fun things for the kiddos to do, from slides coming down blocks of hay bales, to tether balls (who else played this on the elementary black top?), big slides, petting zoo, zipline, and a big crane you can go up off of and toss a pumpkin down below. We saw an old junkyard car dropped from said crane as well. I definitely felt like a country girl after that! And there is a pumpkin patch on the way out that are super cheap as well. Parking kind of stinks, so if you're in a wheelchair, please let them know so you don't have to wheel so much through the bumpy dirt ground to get in.
Jaker's Jack-O-Lantern, Springville, UT- This is a cute little area off of I-15. It is definitely more geared towards the younger crowd with a little truck ride, corn pit, pumpkin patch, hot chocolate. A cute little place to check out.
Cornbelly's, Lehi, UT- This is a pretty mega popular place, and I hear they are looking to expand next year. I like the amount of activities that kids can do like the corn pit, corn maze, playgrounds, rides, etc, but I definitely question the cost of it.
Rowley's Red Barn, Santaquin, UT- We have not been here yet but we hope to go next year! A friend let me know about how cool this place with for the bigger kiddos, with lots of fun activities, like a hay ride, four wheeler rides, big corn maze, corn pit, pumpkin patch, fresh ice cream, etc.
Pumpkin Painting or Carving
You know how to get it done! Just make sure to cover your table or use a baking sheet for the pumpkins, stencils and paint/paint brush ready (Michaels or Joann?), limit the number of sharp objects present, and make sure the kids have on clothes they can get dirty or no clothes at all! Boston who is 7 years old this year got really into carving his own pumpkin and was very proud of his work. It just took a little help from dad to clean out the pumpkin guts because he hates getting super dirty, and that is definitely dirty work. lol
Ghost Stories in the Cemetery
I've loved doing this with friends, but wasn't sure how the kiddos would handle it. This was the first year doing it with them and some family friends at the Cedar City Cemetery, which is pretty historic. Our one friend pulled up a few different life stories of people who have been buried in the cemetery we visited and a map of the cemetery, and he told us their stories. It was spooky, but what topped it off were real life encounter stories. Yikes! Of course, Boston was one of the few listening and he had so many questions! If you can't find stories, you can certainly get creative and make some up! Make sure to bring blankets to sit on and wrap around and a flashlight to show you the way.
This is one of our absolute favorite scenic activities to do as a family. Going up on a ski lift together before the snow hits, so it's still bearably less frigid, and having that time to just enjoy each other's company. As the kiddos are little, we make sure to hold onto each other very carefully with children wrapped in between us parents. We just love being surrounded by the mountains and beautiful changing colors. They were able to stop the lift right in front of me, which allowed me to wheel my chair right up to the lift and transfer, I like to bring my cushion with me to avoid pressure sores, and the ski lift operator just holds onto my chair while I am on the ride.
We've been on this very exciting train ride up the Provo Canyon, where they offer a little story telling, characters in costume, and a lot of energy. The kiddos get a little taste of an old style train, and they love running up and down it as well. There are affordable snacks to purchase at the depot (on another cart) or you may bring in your own goods. Be prepared to take beautiful pictures coming up the bend over the Deer Creek Reservoir. Pumpkin cookies and pumpkins included with ticket purchase. I left my wheelchair at the train station in the care of the personnel and just brought my cushion to sit on. My husband carried me up onto the seat, so yes, my mobility was even more limited on this experience.
There was a smaller group of us and parking was pretty available. We had to wait a bit longer than scheduled to make sure everyone who made reservations had a fair chance at getting on. We loved our experience with personnel at the CLAS ropes course and the cruise experience. They had a little ramp to get my wheelchair onto the cruise boat and I was able to see everything. The guide told us spooky stories and jokes as we went down the Provo River. They had little surprises along the way, which was pretty impressive.
The Hogle Zoo cleverly sets ups Halloween lights and characters throughout the zoo at night while you visit with the animals.
Bonus: Car Wash Halloween Drive-thru
We have seen lines of cars outside the Wiggie Wash and other car washes in the area, however, since we are not a creepy thrill seeking family, I don't think we will be opting into this opportunity. But for those of you who are, definitely check them out. My friends have said they are pretty entertaining.
What are some of your favorite Fall traditions? We'd love to hear about what you and your clan does or if you have suggestions for what we should try this Fall.
Happy Fall, y'all!!
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