Heading into fall we can look forward to earlier sunsets and an occasional cooler day. After the August heat and humidity, it’s finally pleasant to spend time outdoors. And while after-school events often involve parents cheering their kids on from the sidelines, here are a few activities that promise fun for the whole family. They can take a hayride, volunteer at a pet rescue shelter, or creep through a Halloween haunted house together.
Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market Fall Festival
10066 Lee Rd.
Boynton Beach, FL 33473
Farming is bigger in Florida than most folks realize, and Bedner’s eighty-acre farm invites everyone to experience it first hand at a Fall Festival. Open every weekend from Sept. 24 through Oct. 30, the farm has plenty of things for families to do. Of course there’ll be lots of traditional festival activities (e.g. face painting, balloon artists, and a bounce house). But you can also get lost in a corn maze, pick pumpkins right out of the patch, and take an old fashioned hay ride. In addition, you can shop at craft booths and purchase fresh produce for the table.
The Enigma Haunt
21069 S. Military Trail
Boca Raton, FL 33486
South Florida has a deservedly spooky past. And folk lore abounds with stories of curses and unexplained terrors experienced by adventurers and settlers who visited here centuries ago. According to the hosts of this haunted house, such evil happenings are said to originate from “a realm that appears to have crossed the boundaries into reality and are considered an Enigma in the universe.” They invite the innocent into their blood-curdling scream arenas aptly named the Pandemic, Into Oblivion, and Realms of Terror. The spooking begins Saturday, Oct. 1, and pricing allows for the choice of entering one, two, or all three areas.
10057-D Sunset Strip
Sunrise, FL 33322
The family that dances together has a lot of fun, and Dance FX offers classes for kids, teens and adults. In its family-oriented professional atmosphere, expert instructors teach everything from Ballet to Hip Hop, and Contemporary to Jazz. Many students are just looking to dance, while others want to enter dance competitions. Children’s classes are geared toward age-appropriate improvement of certain skill sets. But for an after-school family activity, take advantage of the studios one-week of free lessons offer.
Light Up Lauderdale At Riverwalk
305 S. Andrews Ave.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Light Up Lauderdale is a huge display of holiday lights located along Fort Lauderdale’s famed Riverwalk. The ten-week celebration begins with a free kick-off event in November. In the past, entertainment has included holiday singing by the Girls Choir of South Florida, and horse-drawn sleigh rides around the park. An abundance of free refreshments, as well as Santa, will be on hand. The organizers encourage people to bring an unwrapped toy for distribution to less fortunate children in the community.
Pet Adoption And Protection Center
3599 N.W. 79th Ave.
Doral, FL 33166
Many pets are abandoned to fend on their own, and Pet Adoption and Protection Center is looking for volunteers to give them the love and care they need. The whole family can work together as Cat Socializers. This position involves helping with abandoned kittens that require continuous care and feeding in the first few weeks after birth. Or become a Pet Detective, a task that reunites pets with their owners and is a very rewarding experience. Volunteers search for pet matches in lost and found ads, or escort people to a restricted area where they can examine the animals to see if someone has turned in their pet.
Dylyce P. Clarke is author of The Royalty Principle: a Guide to Reigning in the Kingdom of Heaven. Her personal testimony includes events which she refers to as “close encounters of the God kind.” She is President of Space Coast Word Weavers, a writer’s critique group, and has published short fiction stories in magazines.