Man hitting a baseball in vintage baseball at Ohio Village in Columbus (photo courtesy of Ohio History Connection)

10 Spots for Fall Family Fun in Ohio

From 1860s-style baseball matchups in Columbus to Halloween happenings at zoos across the state, these events and destinations are a fit for all ages. 

Vintage Baseball at Ohio Village
Since 1981, the Muffins, one of the oldest vintage baseball teams in the United States, have donned their striped wool caps at Columbus’ Ohio Village to compete in games of 1860s-style baseball (underhand pitching was just one of the rule variations). You can catch the Muffins and the Diamonds (the women’s team), Labor Day weekend at Ohio Village during the 31st Ohio Cup Vintage Base Ball Festival where 30 teams will gather to entertain and educate. Both teams also play at Put-in-Bay on Sept. 10, and the Muffins face off against a squad of Ohio legislators on the Ohio Statehouse lawn on Sept. 28. Various dates at Ohio Village in Columbus and other locations;


Maize Valley’s Pumpkin Cannon | Hartville
For over 20 years, the boom of a cannon has accompanied autumn at this Hartville winery, brewery, restaurant, deli, market and farm. The projectile of choice? A pumpkin, which travels nearly a half mile. Enjoy this demonstration and other activities on select days from Sept. 23 through Oct. 29. Visit website for schedule.

Valley Gem sternwheeler in fall (photo by Nate Knobel)
Valley Gem Fall Tours | Marietta
Hop aboard the Valley Gem Sternwheeler in Marietta, and experience a fun-filled, narrated, morning or afternoon tour on the waterways that the Northwest Territory’s settlers once navigated. Enjoy a 90-minute cruise on the Ohio and Muskingum rivers during a trip that’s entertaining and interesting to young and old alike.

Exterior of Dayton’s Aullwood Audubon farm building (photo courtesy of Aullwood Audubon)
The Farm at Aullwood Audubon
This Dayton destination teaches kids and adults about the importance and impact of farming and cares for rare heritage breeds that our forefathers raised. 

In 1957, Marie Aull donated 70 acres of land to the National Audubon Society with the hopes that it would be used to create a nature center where children and adults could learn about plants, animals and ecology. Today, Aullwood Audubon in Dayton is home to not only a nature center but also a sanctuary dedicated to the preservation of vital ecological landscapes and a farm that teaches visitors about the importance of agriculture.

Exploring the farm makes for a day of educational fun for the whole family. The farmland is populated by heritage breeds, animals that would have been kept by our farming predecessors, and modern-day farmers work daily to care for them. Visitors can look forward to seeing herds of shaggy Belted Galloway cattle, adorable Nigerian Dwarf goats, mild-mannered American Tunis sheep or the snow-white Royal Palm turkey.

Julia Smith, center and farm assistant at Aullwood, explains that visitors can observe the farmers to learn about food production and the impact that farming can have on natural environments.

“It’s really cool to see the kids come out and learn …,” she says. “They leave with a perspective of conserving and appreciating nature.”

The prairie land, woods and wetlands that exist within the sanctuary are transformed by the changing seasons, making Aullwood a beautiful location to visit in the fall. 1000 Aullwood Rd., Dayton 45414, 937/890-7360, 

Manatee playing with a pumpkin in the water the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Boo at the Zoo (photo by Grahm S. Jones)
Boo Safari
Here’s how to have fall fun among the animals this season.

Akron Zoo
The Akron Zoo invites visitors of all ages to dress up in costume and explore the various trick-or-treat stations on Saturdays and Sundays from Oct. 14 through Oct. 29 during this family-friendly event. Bonus: Kona Ice will be selling shaved ice on select dates.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Fun activities are in abundance at Cincinnati’s Hallzooween event, held from noon to 5 p.m. select Saturdays and Sundays in October. Children are encouraged to come dressed up in costume as they trick-or-treat, enjoy free daily illusionist shows and try to spot the Fiona statues hidden throughout the zoo.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
A family-friendly Halloween celebration happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October at Columbus’ Boo at the Zoo event. Enjoy walk-through attractions like a trick-or-treat trail, the hair-raising vertebrae village (complete with animal skeletons and habitats) and a jack-o’-lantern walk featuring more than 100 pumpkins.

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium
The Toledo Zoo’s October Harvest Fest decks out its grounds with animal-shaped pumpkin displays and an array of fall flowers. Events scheduled during the month include kids trick-or-treat, pumpkin-carving demonstrations, magic shows and musical entertainment. Evening admission offers the opportunity to see the zoo illuminated with festive lights.

Lit jack-o-lanterns in front of Palm House at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus (photo courtesy of Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens)
Pumpkins Aglow | Columbus
Stroll down an illuminated pumpkin path that winds through the grounds of Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens during Pumpkins Aglow (open at 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday from Oct. 11 to 29). The enchanting attraction features over 600 hard-carved pumpkins lighting the way as hundreds more serve as decorations in the elaborate horticulture displays and charming vignettes. Make yourself at home in the pumpkin house, or pose with the gardening skeletons, who are busy at work raking leaves. This year, keep an eye out for an extraterrestrial display featuring a flying saucer and friendly aliens. Oct. 11–29; 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus 43203, 614/715-8000,

A girl plays at Pigeon Roost Farm in Hebron (photo courtesy of Pigeon Roost Farm)
Pigeon Roost Farm
This Licking County favorite draws families with its variety of fun for kids, adorable farm animals and a plentiful selection of pumpkins.

Pigeon Roost Farm in Hebron has been family-owned-and-operated since owner Amy Jutte’s parents set up a roadside farm stand to help pay for her and her siblings’ college education. Today, it is a staple of Licking County’s fall festivities and adds a new attraction for families to enjoy each year. A giant corn box for kids debuted inside the barn in 2022, while this year brings a 50-foot, double-barrel slide. 

Classic fall fun abounds outside with a 5-acre corn maze, wagon rides, a kettle corn stand and a petting zoo chock full of goats, chickens, rabbits and turkeys. Parents and kids also love the wildflower patch, and the whole family can head to the woods for the Critter Trail, giving little ones a change to spot native woodland creatures.

“The most fun part is knowing that we have become a destination for multigenerational families to visit,” says Jutte, whose two young daughters help around the farm now.  

The selection of pumpkins and goods for sale is always a draw, and the towering pumpkin tree invites visitors to select their favorite from the display. The farm also sells fall decor, candles, soap, and pumpkin butter as well as that is honey made on-site. Season opens Sept. 16; 4413 National Rd. SW, Hebron 43025, 740/233-1233,  

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