The air is turning brisk, the leaves are transitioning to beautiful shades of red and gold, the scents of bonfires and pumpkin pie fill the air and fall festivals are plentiful. It’s my absolute favorite time of year.
It is a wonderful time for fall fun in Springfield. It is also a great time to draw closer together and enjoy time with family and friends. I’ve found that as the weather turns just a little cooler, it’s easier to get my family of five outside to enjoy all the great trails that this region has to offer. With more than 50 miles in the Ozark Greenways trail system, they are easily accessible to run, walk, bike, or in my case, push a stroller. I have a four-year-old boy and 8-month twin girls so we enjoy spending time outside as much as we can.
One of our family’s favorite fall traditions is going to the Halloween Spooktacular at the Dickerson Park Zoo. 2013 marks the 30th year for this event and they are celebrating with several themed areas including: Angry Birds Zoo, Prehistoric Forest, Vintage Carnival, Musical Pumpkin Mansion and more. The Spooktacular is open nightly Oct. 19-31.
Another our family’s favorite new fall traditions is going to the Rutledge Wilson Farm Park. The park offers free admission and charges a nominal fee for a few of the special activities. My son loves the farm-themed playground, riding on the tricycle tractors and seeing the pigs, goats and miniature horses. On weekends through the end of October, the farm has special events and activities such as a corn maze with more than 250,000 stalks of corn, a pumpkin patch, hayrides, inflatables and even a corn cannon. In December they will kick off “Christmas at the Farm” with a horse-drawn hayride, hot cocoa, face painting, a Christmas tree farm and photos with Santa, so we’ll be sure to make it back for those events, too.
We also enjoy going to the Bass Pro Fitness Festival. The Bass Pro Shops in Springfield is the original and largest store and they know how to put on great events! The marathon weekend festivities begin Nov. 1-3 and will include a marathon, half marathon, 5k and even a camoflauge run/walk! This year we’re participating in the camo event and I can’t wait to see the little girls in their pink camo tutus!
Beginning in November, we’ll get in the holiday spirit by attending the kick-off of the annual Festival of Lights celebration. The six-week event features a tree lighting, free ice skating, live performances and wraps up with a great family-friendly New Year’s celebration complete with downtown fireworks. Organizers keep adding more events to the list of offerings so I’ll be sure to check back often to make sure we don’t miss anything.
As you can tell, fall is full of fun in Springfield and I hope you make plans to join us. To learn more about this and other things to do in Springfield, call the Convention & Visitors Bureau at 417-881-5300 or 800-678-8767 or visit www.SpringfieldMO.org. The CVB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to boosting the local economy by promoting travel and tourism to Springfield.
Written by Laura Whisler, marketing director for the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. Photos courtesy of Springfield CVB.