Bay Area Activities for Preschoolers: Harvest Season!

 Ah, autumn. A time of harvest in the Bay Area, and the season to enjoy some quality time out of the house before weather changes and the holidays tuck us inside to hibernate. Whatever your child’s interests, there’s probably a fall festival out there for it!

We’ve culled the best of the best of the web to bring you these great family activities coming up in the next few weeks. We chose events that seemed perfect for preschoolers and enjoyable for parents:

Apple Picking
Fall seasonal
Red Tricycle has compiled an awesome list of five local apple growers offering ‘u-pick’ activities. Choose your favorite variety, put your child on your shoulders and show him or her the joys of picking fruit ripe from the tree. Many of these farms offer other varieties of fresh produce and meats, a bonus for foodie parents — think of it as an extended trip to the farmer’s market your kid won’t want to forget.
“5 Bay Area Orchards for Apple Picking” – Red Tricycle

Randall Museum “Meet the Animals”
Saturdays 11am
199 Museum Way San Francisco, CA
This museum of once-injured or former ‘pet’ wild animals offers a beautiful variety of California wildlife. On Saturday mornings, children and their families can meet the animals, who are taken out of their cages or perches for interaction and education.
Event details >

Western Railway Museum- Pumpkin Festival
Sat & Sun, October 13-28
For the train lovers out there, the Western Railway Museum is running special ‘Pumpkin Festival’ trains from 9:30am – 5pm. Visitors can ride on a historic electric train on a scenic 5 mile trip to Gum Grove Station, enjoy a pumpkin patch or go on a picnic.
Admission: $12 for adults, $11 for seniors (65 and up), $9 for children (ages 2 –14).
“Prices include admission to the Museum and to the Pumpkin Patch, unlimited train rides, use of the Museum’s spacious and shaded picnic grounds, and free parking. Please note that there are no advanced reservations.”
Event details >

Tolay Fall Festival
Oct 17-21
Tolay Lake Regional Park (east of Petaluma), Sonoma County
Spit pumpkin seeds and find your way through this big festival’s straw maze in this scenic parkland: “In its seventh year, the Tolay Fall Festival has become a seasonal must-do that attracts people from around the region. The festival features a “creatures” barn full of creepy critters, a straw maze, a petting zoo, lawn games, food stands, a Native American village, old-fashioned crafts for kids, and a pumpkin seed spitting contest. The highlight of the festival is a hayride to a huge pumpkin patch, where families can find the perfect gourds for Halloween.”
Event details >

Floating Pumpkin Patch
Sat Oct 20, 2pm-6pm
Ridgeway Swim Center, Santa Rosa

Allergic to hay but itching to celebrate? No problem! A community pool in Santa Rosa offers this splashy alternative to the traditional pumpkin picking field: “Hunt for your perfect pumpkin in the pool and then deck it out at our decorating station with all sorts of fun crafts! Plus, the pool will be open for pumpkin-splashing fun and we’ll be playing games and handing out prizes all afternoon! This is a family event suitable for participants of all ages — so bring your buddies too!”
Ridgway Swim Center
Fee: $5 entry; $10 entry + one pumpkin
Event details >

Naturalist Program and Harvest at Ardenwood Farm
Throughout October
34600 Ardenwood Blvd, Fremont, CA
Ardenwood is a unique historical farm run by the East Bay Parks Department. Located in Fremont, Ardenwood cultivates its lands using historical farming techniques and machines from the 1870s through to the present. It is a valuable and fun educational experience to see how farmers used to thresh wheat, tend to animals or process corn. A colorful place with livestock and many varieties of produce. 
About Harvest at Ardenwood: “Its harvest time on the farm! Bring your family and join your friends for some down home country fun. Harvest the Indian corn and popcorn and help fill our corncribs. Take home a share of our colorful corn for your holiday table. Enjoy magic shows, cider pressing, old-time music and crafts. Visit the blacksmith, ride the train and tour the beautifully restored Patterson House. Please bring your own bags to take home your harvest.”
Tickets: $8 adults, $6 seniors, $5 children. Ages 3 and under free. Parking is free.
About Ardenwood Farm >
For complete October Events, download the Ardenwood Farm Events for October in PDF.

Community Celebration for the Days of the Dead at OCMA
Sunday, October 21, 12pm – 4:30 pm
Oakland Museum of California Gardens, Oak Street Plaza, Gallery of California Art
Join us as the whole Museum comes alive for the 18th annual Community Celebration for the Days of the Dead. Craft activities, food, dance and music performances and ceremonia bring the community together for this sacred tradition with the purposes of honoring the dead.  Watch demonstrations of traditional Meso-American arts and foods, and buy local Days of the Dead merchandise for your home altar from our mercado. Featured performance by Los Cenzontles. Event included with Museum admission.
Event details >

Bay Area Science Festival
October 27th – November 3rd
Locations throughout San Francisco, FREE
Presented by the University of California San Francisco, this festival offers a wide variety of presentations and interactive exhibits aimed at elevating interest in science for young people. A few highlighted events: Stargazing; Hands-on science at the Farmer’s Market; Flash Mob Science exploring gravity, light and motion; Build your own pumpkin catapult for “Creepy Halloween”; “Haunted Hallows” at the Chabot Space & Science Center. More details can be found on the Festival Calendar.
Event Details >