The Best Chicago Must-Do Fall Family Activities for Your Bucket List

The kids are back in school and stores are beginning to put up their Christmas displays, so this can mean only one thing: fall is upon us. Fall has officially started and its time to get into the harvest spirit. These fun Chicago activities will help you prepare for Halloween 2013 while enjoying the beautiful fall weather and foliage. These top Chicago Halloween events can't be missed and deserve a spot on your fall bucket list.

Chicago Fall 2013 Must-Dos:

1. Pumpkin Farms: The Chicago area has a ton of pumpkin farms to choose from, and each has its own unique offerings. Typical activities include corn mazes, petting zoos, haunted houses, pig races and picking pumpkins. To take your pumpkin farm experience to the next level, check out Goebbart’s Garden Center in South Barrington. They offer the typical pumpkin cannons, pig races and other activities but also feature an exotic animal petting zoo, which allows you to feed giraffes, zebras and other exotic animals. They also offer pictures with lion and tiger cubs for an additional fee. For more information check out www.goebbertsgardencenter.com

2. Starved Rock Leaf Viewing: With the cool air setting in, the leaves are beginning to change colors. One of the best places for leaf viewing near Chicago is Starved Rock. While the colors probably won’t be fully ablaze until the end of September, any weekend is a great time to visit. Also, take some extra time and enjoy other nearby parks like Buffalo Rock, and enjoy the scenic bluffs surrounding the Illinois River as they come alive with color this fall. Until the end of September, you can enjoy boat tours on the canal and trolley tours. You can also enjoy the “Art in the Park” exhibits.  For more info, visit www.starvedrockstatepark.org

3. The Harvest Pow Wow: This annual traditional will take place on September 21 and 22nd this year at the Naper Settlement in Naperville. It features Native America dancing, storytelling, music, exhibits and demonstrations. It also includes a show by S.O.A.R. Eagles and Birds and Prey. Advanced tickets can be purchased online and are $8.50 for adults and $5.50 for kids ages 3-12. More information can be found at www.midwestsoarring.org/eventinfo.html

4. Apple Picking: For those of you who like to trick your children into doing manual labor under the guise of “family fun,” there is the long-standing tradition of fall apple picking at an apple orchard.  There are many orchards within a couple hour drive of Chicago, but one of the best is the All Season Orchard in Woodstock, IL. They offer all the apple-picking your family can stomach, along with a corn maze and pumpkin patch. For more information, check out their website at: www.allseasonorchard.com

5. Fright Fest: This yearly tradition at Six Flags Great America has something for everyone. For younger families, visit during the daytime and enjoy the themed rides and stop by the ride “graveyard” that features cars and other memorabilia from long-gone classic rides. For older kids, teens and adults stay after dark and venture into the marked “Scare Zones” to encounter costumed characters out for a scare. If you have younger kids, steer clear of the scare zones and haunted houses, but still take time to stop in and check out this year’s edition of “Love at First Fright.” This musical is a yearly traditional and is one of the best shows put on by the Six Flags chain. Fright Fest kicks off on September 28th and you can find more information atwww.sixflags.com/greatamerica

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