Places to Get Out And About (Safely) in Rochester this Fall
Your family could really use a fun outing, but you're committed to social distancing. Many popular nature trails and lake beaches seem like a good idea until you realize that many others had the same idea, making some of these destinations too crowded for comfort.. Luckily, there are new and interesting places to explore while staying a safe distance for others. If you can, switch your schedule and do your outings on weekdays to avoid weekend crowds. Here are a few suggestions you may not have considered, and all of them are in the Rochester area.
And don't forget your masks!
If you've never gotten lost in a corn maze, you're missing out! It's a brainy puzzle to solve, a chance to get active outside, and a wonderful family-bonding activity. Social distancing is easy in a corn maze, and the experience is never the same twice! Along with our big list of local corn mazes, we've even got tips to help you navigate: Bet you never knew the one big secret of finding your way out of a maze!
A garden or arboretum is a special change of pace from your usual walk in nature. You'll find careful design, information about plants and how they grow, and a bit more "formal" atmosphere, but there's usually still plenty of space to explore. Visit again and again to notice the change of seasons, bring along a blanket and a book, or pack a picnic if it's allowed.
Pick Your Own
Fall is harvest time, and everything is better fresh-picked. Skip the grocery store and make an adventure out of picking your own! It's a great way to support local businesses while having fun outside! Then head back into the kitchen for the second half of your new family tradition: Cooking and baking together. Your kids will remember fall with all five senses!
These days, farms are so much more than a place to buy produce! Outdoor activities, fun farm animals, and tasty treats make your local farms (and farmers markets) wonderful family-friendly destinations as well as places where your kids can be physically active and get up-close and hands-on with local agri-tourism experiences. Have a blast and feel good about supporting your local farmers!
Zoos and Nature CentersFauna and flora in our corner of the world
While you're staying away from crowds of people, now's a great time for some animal encounters and the peace we find in the natural world. Your local zoos and nature centers offer just what we all need right now: space. Many have created brand-new programs designed to accommodate safety procedures while still giving visitors the opportunity to interact with meaningful parts of our world with room to breathe.
Thinking of taking your kids on a hike nearby? It's great exercise, it lets you connect with nature and each other, and best of all, it's free. Put away the phones (except for cool activities like geocaching, looking up new plants, or making a photo collage or map) and head out to the trail! Click the link below for nearby options, and also check out our article of tips and tricks for making the most of the experience and avoiding whining.
Drive-In Movie Fun
The Vintage Drive-In in Avon has reopened with different movies each week and strict protocols, such as chairs outside the vehicle must be placed directly in front, you can't wander or play on the grounds, you can purchase your food via the phone only, and other COVID-19 provisions that you can read here, They recommended that you reserve your spot in advance, and anecdotal information from customers confirms this! Bill Gray's Iceplex in Henrietta is opening their Flour City Drive-In in their parking lot Friday nights; all tickets must be purchased in advance. Rain or shine, all sales final. Click here for more information and for upcoming movies. Milestone Movies, a new business, has Friday and Saturday movies at their location in Henrietta near the Genesee Regional Market, and also does pop-up movies at local venues with lots of parking.
Our colleague Helena Robin thinks you should definitely take your kids to a drive-in movie theater and provides useful tips for doing so. Be sure to check their websites to review COVID-19 procedures before you go.
Genesee Country Village
Fall is fabulous in the wide open spaces at GCV&M! Visit costumed interpreters in the Historic Village and see how 19th-century farmers, animals, trades people, and villagers prepared for the cold season ahead. Watch leaves turn vibrant colors before your eyes on our miles of walking trails and visit the exhibits in the Wehle Gallery. Stop for a bite to eat at the Depot Restaurant or bring your own picnic and enjoy the peace of the Great Meadow. The Museum is open Thursdays through Sundays until Columbus Day, though closed September 8-16 for maintenance. Thursdays through October 22 are Family Field Trip Days, with special themes and lower pricing. Special events you don't want to miss will be featured through the end of the year--including Halloween and the holidays! Social distancing measures in place. Click here for all upcoming events.
Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures
Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures includes a Zipline Canopy Tour and an Aerial Adventure Park with more than 7 high ropes challenge courses, 2 kids courses, and 125+ elements. Watch your kid gain confidence as he or she navigates, balances, and zips their way through the trees. Both courses are located closer to the ground and use a different harness system that is just as safe but less complicated for younger children to use. If your child has any difficulties there are staff members on the course at all times to help them to work through the elements.
RMSC's Cumming Nature Center - Naples
The Cumming Nature Center, a branch of the Rochester Museum & Science Center, is a 900-acre environmental education facility located near Naples, New York. The nature preserve features over 15 miles of trails and offers outdoor-based educational programs and service-learning opportunities. In spring, summer, and fall, you can enjoy our well-maintained hiking trails and discover some of the many diverse plants and animals from our region.