fall activities in northeast ohio“Autumn in Ohio is a feast for the senses. With a wide variety of trees, Ohio forests gradually begin to blaze with brilliant hues of red, gold and orange from September to mid-November. There is a crispness in the air that makes the earthy smell of falling leaves all the more pronounced. It’s a perfect time to visit Ohio State Parks, national forests and nature preserves for a hike, a bicycle ride or a late season paddle to take in the color.” (Ohio.org)

Fall is the time of year when you can go on walks with your children, just to enjoy the stunning colors of leaves as they change and drift to the ground. Or you can put a twist on the neighborhood walk and take a family-friendly hike through the Cleveland Metroparks, the Lorain County Metro Parks or somewhere similar. November can be an incredibly beautiful time of year to go for hikes and bike rides, the last of fall before weather transitions into winter.

If you have younger children and are looking for fall activities in Northeast Ohio, you could go on walks and ask them to identify the colors of leaves they see. Pick up two leaves from the ground that aren’t shaped the same way and ask the children to try to figure out what’s different. Is one leaf rounder in shape while another one is pointy? Before — or after — your walk, you could read a book about autumn leaves together.

NortheastOhioParent.com lists places you can go for a bike ride together in the Cleveland area, including the Towpath Trail, the Bike & Hike Trail and the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway — or you can go for an enjoyable bike ride together closer to your own neighborhood.

Here's another idea. The article suggests that you rake leaves, then let your younger children leap into the “fluffy leaf piles.”Older children can stuff leaves into seasonally themed bags to decorate for autumn. Here is an entire article that shares how to make leaf raking as a family a fun experience; ideas include holding a contest to see who can rake the largest pile and who can rake the fastest. You can play leaf tag, too; the article cautions that “this might create more of a mess but the giggles and laughs that you get out of it make this game so worth it!”

You also can go for a drive on a beautiful fall day. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources provides a Fall Color Report so you can plan an organized drive around information provided in the report. You could pack a picnic lunch, weather permitting, using the best of seasonal produce, such as locally grown apples, which are often harvested through the end of October.

Specific Events

Through the month of November, you can explore nature together as a family at the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation in Cuyahoga Falls. The theme? Owls! During the day, you can stop by CanalWay Center so your children can search for and find 20 hidden owls. Depending on the ages of your children, you might also enjoy their free night hikes where you can listen for owl calls. There is no cost for any of the owl activities, and you can prepare your children about the world of owls by reading one or more of these children’s books, recommended by librarians.

On Saturday, Nov. 25 from 1 to 3 p.m., at the same location, your children can explore the wonderful world of turtles. Here are books on that subject that are ideal for youngsters.