It’s time to fall into some serious Colorado family fun, with campfires, festivals, harvest feasts and bugs galore! Some of these events are only for the weekend, but others run well into October...so get out your calendar.
Fall Fest at YMCA of the Rockies – Snow Mountain Ranch
September 29 to October 1
1101 Colorado Road 53, Granby
At Snow Mountain Ranch, you and your clan can experience all the fall fixings: Hayrides at Sombrero Stables, campfires with s’mores, scarecrow building, a special screening of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and a carnival with doughnut bobbing, a pumpkin seed-spitting contest, and a fortune-telling goat. (Yes, it’s a goat, and it’s super-clairvoyant.) Other on-site activities include hiking, mountain biking, swimming, zip lining, archery and summer tubing. Minus the hayride, all Fall Fest activities are free with lodging. Lodge rooms start at $109 in September, cabins are available for $209, and the site’s new yurts, which sleep six, are $99 nightly. For details, visit the Snow Mountain Ranch website.
Elitch Gardens Fright Fest
September 29 through October 29
2000 Elitch Circle
If your family prefers a spooky good time, Elitch Gardens Fright Fest begins at 6 p.m. Friday, September 29, with a terrifying month-long Halloween celebration. During the day, families can enter costume contests and stock up on free candy on the Trick or Treat Trail; when night falls, it’s time for Fright by Night, which includes the terrifying show Séance, a creepy clown graveyard and more horrific antics. If you prefer the scream-inducing pleasures of a normal day at Elitch's to goblins and ghouls, fear not: Roller coasters will still be operating. Fright Fest runs through October 29; entry is covered in general admission to the park, but some of the fun costs extra.
Castle Rock Oktoberfest
Wilcox Square and the surrounding area
Prost! Enjoy local beer, good food and German music from 1 to 9 p.m., at the city of Castle Rock’s annual Oktoberfest. This giant, free street fair is totally family-friendly and includes live entertainment, a variety of bounce houses, demonstrations, and other activities for kids of all ages. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or picnic blankets. For more information, visit Downtown Castle Rock’s website.
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Bugtober at Butterfly Pavilion
6252 West 104th Avenue, Westminster
October 2 through October 31
All month long, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Butterfly Pavilion celebrates its creepy crawly Invertebrates With Spider Pavilion, a new exhibit inside of Wings of the Tropics. You won’t believe all of the cool things nature’s ultimate engineers do! Enter (if you dare) a totally new enclosure that’ll have you and your kids experiencing arachnids and their creations up close while getting tangled in a web of excitement. For more information, visit the Butterfly Pavilion website.
The Cowboy Poetry Train
279 Main Avenue, Durango
The folks at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad want you to saddle up with your favorite cowboys and girls and enjoy Western poets, entertainment, and food while riding a special train to Cascade Canyon. Entertainers will be performing music, stories, poems and tall tales in each coach during the ride, and also at a BBQ lunch stop along the Animas River. Get more details and make reservations in advance on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad website.
For more things to do this Fall, head to the Westword calendar.