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Autumn is here: get out and enjoy these fun, free activities

Poet William Cullen Bryant called autumn “the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

And it is. The crackling leaves, the smoky air – and that’s without mentioning Halloween and all that free candy.

It’s also the last time of the year you can really get outside with the family – at least without needing special gear or having to brave subzero temperatures.

One of my favorite things about fall, especially now that I’m a mom, is that the calendar is always full of fun, free events for the family to do together.

Here’s what’s on our autumn bucket list.

Pumpkinville in Great Valley. Visit the farm, where there are tons of free things to do. Watch them make apple cider, visit the farm animals, watch the singing chicken show and much more. There are paid activities, too, such as a corn maze, train ride, pedal carts, helicopter rides and jumping pillows. Admission and parking are free. It goes from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Oct. 31. It’s 4844 Sugartown Road. Call 699-2205.

Family Walk at Beaver Meadow. Take a guided walk through the preserve with a naturalist. Every Sunday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. through Oct. 30. It’s at 1610 Welch Road, North Java. Call 1-800-377-1520

Autumnfest at the farm. Do you have any horse lovers in the family? This event is for you. Get up close and personal with rescue horses: meet them, pet them, even brush them. There will be more than 40 vendors, crafters and artists, many of them selling horse-related products such as bridle bling and saddle pads. There will also be music, food and a basket raffle. Pony rides will be available for $5.

The best part? All of the proceeds go to the Phoenix Rising rescue horses. It takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 1. It’s at 10333 Keller Road in Clarence. Call 741-2346.

Allentown Fall Festival. This one’s for cool kids only. The children’s celebration takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave. It will have acrobats, a petting zoo, musicians, face painting and pumpkin crafts.

The festival at large takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Allen Street from Delaware to Main Street. There will be live music and artists’ booths.

Western New York Earth Science Day. Ready to get your geek on? Meet real, live rock stars: earth scientists! Watch demonstrations and see exhibits to learn about the earth. See drill rigs, watch rock coring and drilling demonstrations and look through powerful telescopes to see sunspots and solar flares. Fossil collecting is available for $9 adults, $7 for children.

Other cool exhibitors will be there, too, such as the Aquarium of Niagara, the Buffalo Geological Society, the Buffalo Museum of Science and Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.

It takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 8. at the Penn Dixie Paleontological & Outdoor Education Center. Call 627-4560.

Fall Fest at Canalside. There will be a wizard obstacle course, petting zoo, slide bounce houses and monster gourd arts and crafts from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. JumpBunch will have sports-related kids’ activities planned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kids can go “trunk or treating” from noon to 4 p.m. Two favorite Halloween movies will be shown, “Monsters Inc.” at 5 p.m. and “Hocus Pocus” at 7 p.m.

It takes place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 8 at Canalside’s central wharf, 44 Prime St.

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