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Countdown to your most fall KC weekend ever

Fall may be the most beautiful time to get out and explore Kansas City.
Fall may be the most beautiful time to get out and explore Kansas City. Kansas City Star

Foliage, pumpkins and the wafting smell of cider … the season we’ve been waiting for finally arrives this month. After slipping into your favorite sweater and rain boots, you might be wondering, what next? There’s something cozy and nostalgic about fall, so we’re capturing those feels with a countdown of the season’s best activities, KC style.

5. Get pumped about pumpkins

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Pumpkin farms like Carolyn’s Country Cousins Pumpkin Patch, 17607 N.E. 52nd St. in Liberty, are miniature entertainment complexes come fall, featuring hayrides, kiddie trains, petting zoos and, of course, pumpkins. Allison Long along@kcstar.com

 

Is it really fall if you don’t carve a jack-o’-lantern? Pick your perfect pumpkin at Carolyn’s Country Cousins Pumpkin Patch in Liberty, Fun Farm Pumpkin Patch in Kearney or Faulkner’s Ranch in Raytown. These fall destinations are also home to petting zoos, pony rides, pig races (!) and more.

4. Craft your way to cooler weather

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The Makery KC offers crafting workshops in the West Bottoms. Rich Sugg rsugg@kcstar.com

Put your own spin on burlap and pine cones with help from the DIY experts at Restoration Emporium in the West Bottoms. Fall craft classes include everything from wreath-making to distressing furniture. The Makery KC, also in the West Bottoms, breaks it down to specific projects, like floral monogram and leather wineholder tutorials.

If you’re not so artsy, browse works by local makers at Strawberry Swing’s Fall Swing, Sept. 30 through Oct. 1 at KC Pumpkin Patch in Olathe.

3. Stay natural

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Fall is a great time to catch wildflowers at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Strong City, Kan., in the Flint Hills. Beth J. Harpaz AP

Sometimes, the best part of fall is the view. Keep it simple by hiking or picnicking at gorgeous sites like the Flint Hills in Kansas, Mushroom Rock State Park in Marquette, Kan., or Kansas City’s very own park system.

Get the full Midwestern experience at Glacial Hills Scenic Byway, which overlooks rolling hills and valleys. Here, at the intersection of Kansas 7 and Kansas 92, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa converge. The result? A perfect landscape for relaxed gazing.

2. Eat and drink

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Tammy Ljungblad tljungblad@kcstar.com

Enjoy cider-inspired products to your heart’s content at Louisburg Cider Mill, Cider Hill Family Orchard, Dunn’s Cider Mill and Sibley Orchard & Cider Mill. (Side note: This may be the most times the word “cider” has been used in a single paragraph.)

Those aiming for a boozy option can find autumn-inspired wine at Basehor’s Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery. The countryside haven hosts an Oktoberfest on Oct. 14 and harvest picking days on Sundays through October. Farther east, Independence’s Ophelia’s Restaurant & Inn brings you a seasonal dinner with wine pairings on Oct. 19.

Nothing says fall like enormous turkey legs and domestic beer served by a wench. The Kansas City Renaissance Festival runs Saturday through Oct. 15.

Channel the intimacy of fall with a fireplace-side table at Trezo Mare or Californos.

Let the fresh-baked cookie aroma be your guide on a stroll to Decadent, a coffee and dessert bar with daily menu features in Overland Park’s luminous Prairiefire shopping district.

1. Take a ride

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Get up close and personal with fall foliage at Go Ape Treetop Adventure in Kansas City’s Swope Park. Allison Long along@kcstar.com

For a group activity, climb aboard the scenic hayrides at Shawnee Mission Park, Heritage Park and Timber Trails, a Kearney nature spot dedicated to the fall tradition. These hourlong outings promise woods, streams and a campfire waiting at the end. Similarly, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm offers a horse-drawn tour, reminiscent of rustic, 1800s farm life.

Up for something a little more adventurous? Amp it up with Go Ape Treetop Adventure in Swope Park. This zip line course sends you through the trees and over built-in obstacles — talk about a unique way to appreciate fall’s changing colors. The facility closes for the winter, so get your thrill-seeking in while you can.

If a road trip is more your speed, cruise to Weston, where charming storefronts, tobacco barns and a distillery deliver small town sophistication. The Weston Applefest Celebration and Weston Irish Festival add to the fun in October.

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