Autumn has officially arrived: the air is chilly, the leaves are turning, and fall-themed activities abound. Of course, this fall is a little different than usual, with social distancing regulations still in place due to COVID-19. Many traditional fall activities have been cancelled due to safety concerns, but that doesn’t mean all the fun is lost. Cincinnatians are inventing new—or reshaping old—ways to celebrate autumn in the face of this global crisis. These six family friendly activities let you enjoy the crisp fall weather while staying safe and healthy.
Warren County Pumpkin Express
Enjoy the beautiful fall foliage during a socially distanced ride along the historic Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad! Passengers are escorted to and from the railcars by scarecrow hosts, who will also be handing out pumpkin balloons during the 45-minute ride. At the end of the ride, scarecrows will escort guests to the harvest car, where they can enjoy photos and fall-themed sweet treats. The train will run two weekends in October (17–18 and 24–25), with departure times of 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $15 for children and seniors, and $5 for infants. Tickets are currently sold out, but the organizers are working to expand the event’s capacity.
Kinman Farm Fall Fest
Pre-order tickets online and enjoy all the best autumn has to offer at Kinman Farms. Although this event is operating at limited capacity for the sake of social distancing, guests can still enjoy hayrides, picnics, bonfires, a corn maze, laser tag, and other games! Hot dogs, sandwiches, funnel cakes, caramel apple slices, s’mores kits, and more are available at the grill, too.
Queen City Clay Bisque Pumpkin Patch
Queen City Clay, located near Hyde Park Plaza, is hosting a pottery activity that is perfect for families with children of all ages. Participants can choose a piece of Halloween-themed bisque pottery that are shaped like pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, and cauldrons. Pick a piece online, and choose your paint colors when you go to pick it up (along with a “take-home” kit). Bonus: Queen City Clay is also hosting its annual Holiday Bazaar, in which staff, students, and artists showcase and sell their artwork. Purchase pottery, jewelry, ornaments, sculpture, and gift items. The Bazaar takes places on November 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Plum Gorgeous at the Krohn Conservatory
Monochrome is in style right now, for clothes, furniture, and, as it turns out, gardens as well. This fall floral show is all about the color purple. Check out plum trees and purple violets, asters, kale, and cabbage, plus lavender and other plants in colors ranging from fuchsia to indigo. Krohn Conservatory is also committed to following safety regulations, requiring masks and social distancing, and enforcing a one-way flow of traffic through the plants.
Haunted Heritage Village
Sharonville’s Heritage Village Museum is hosting a Haunted Village event throughout October. Guests can purchase tickets online in advance to ensure a timed entry slot. Facemasks are required, and a “Ghost Host” will lead guests through the village. Along the way, you will meet ghosts, witches, a fortuneteller, a mortician, pirates, and a cursed archaeologist! Tour a spooky hiking trail and ghostly cemetery, watch a classic movie while cozied up in the barn, and enjoy pre-packaged snacks. This event takes place during the weekends of October 9–10, 16–17, and 23–24 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Cincinnati Dessert Festival: Drive-Thru Edition
On Sunday, November 15, sample desserts from Cincinnati’s best “treat makers,” such as Donna’s Cookies, SugarSnap Sweet Treats, and more. This drive-thru event will take place at Liberty Center in Liberty Township from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and tickets are sold in timed entry slots at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. Each ticket is good for 20-plus dessert samples.