Fall is the perfect time to engage in activities and the change of colors and temperatures make it appropriate to explore the wonders and environment of the Pittsburgh region. There are a host of free opportunities to involve the entire family in educational, historical and cultural venues. Families may take pleasure in investigating the natural beauty of the forests, gardens, rivers and ecological entities that the surrounding communities of Pittsburgh have to offer. There are inside activities and educational possibilities for a favorable learning experience.
Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve
Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania
614 Dorseyville Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
The Nature Reserve at Beechwood Farms is a free, educational and ecological masterpiece for all family members. There are five trails that are appropriate for all levels of walking experience, but are also a recreational pursuit for experienced walkers in all terrains. There are a plethora of flowers, plants and occasional appearances by wildlife, insects and birds. There is an abundance of trees, bushes and habitats that will provide an interest in gardening and ideas for landscaping. The Nature Reserve is open throughout the year and autumn will come alive with the sights, sounds and smells of Beechwood Farms.
159 Riverview Ave.
Fall is a change of seasons and colors, but a trip to the Allegheny Observatory may be a perfect fit for all stargazers interested in astronomy. There are tours available free of charge and reservations must be made in advance to ensure tour placement. A slide show presentation is included with the Friday walking tour. Participants may view the telescopes and examine the cosmos for an educational experience under the auspices of the University of Pittsburgh. An excursion to the North Side of Pittsburgh and Riverview Park may be a memorable educational adventure for the family, and there is a lecture series available to garner more information and stimulate more interest in cosmology.
Shenot Farm & Market
3754 Wexford Run Road
Wexford, PA 15090
For families who want the feel of a good old country farm, an excursion to Shenot Farm is in order. Children may romp in the Straw Barn and slide into the bales of hay. Families can jump aboard for a hay ride up the hill to the pumpkin patch and corn maze. The market may be a great time to look for the perfect pumpkin for Halloween or peruse the home-grown fruits, vegetables, breads and delectable treats. Shenot Farm is the perfect place to purchase decorations to perk up the fall season in style, and the cordial staff will help with all of the necessary details to make for an eventful autumn day.
Soergel’s Family Farm & Country Store
2573 Brandt School Road
Wexford, PA 15090
Take a trek to I-79 at the Wexford exit and you will find Soergel’s Farm Market & Country Store to be a welcoming family-owned business for a fall festival (now through October 27) that may be enjoyed by all family members. Admission is free and the children are able to participate in play areas and frolic in the straw, visit a small town, embark on a pirate adventure and pet animals in the farm area. Families may pick out their favorite pumpkins and enjoy the healthy fruits, vegetables, delectable treats and festival food offered at the farm market. The family atmosphere at Soergel’s is a wonderful retreat to enjoy during the fall season and the availability of products make for a perfect harvest adventure. Tickets may be purchased for other events and activities that include games, hayrides and pony rides.
Fort Pitt Blockhouse & Point State Park
601 Commonwealth Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Celebrate the fall season with an excursion through history and join the thousands of others that have enjoyed the educational and cultural lessons of the past centuries. The blockhouse is an historical gem and the staff and workers have preserved the integrity of this landmark. Guided tours have provided an integral learning experience of the Pittsburgh region. Point State Park offers a variety of options and events for families to participate in the aura of the three rivers, trails and ecology of the area, and a brief respite at the fountain makes for a comfortable and rewarding day. There are hiking, walking, recreational and history tours available. Make sure to check for reservations. Families may have a rewarding experience and the fall season is an opportune time to take advantage of the change of seasons and exquisite foliage.
Gerry Cernicky is a retired health and physical education teacher with 36 years of experience. He is a former teacher of the year and a sports writer for the Vandergrift News. He delivers podcasts, and maintains a website and blog. He currently resides in Pittsburgh. His work can be found at Examiner.com.