Autumn Adventures: A festival of fall fun at the Museum!

Last week the calendar turned from summer to fall officially, and this week it turns from September to October. October means cooler days, longer nights, falling leaves, and the end of harvest. At the Museum, that means it’s time for Autumn Adventures! All month long, guests can look forward to an immersive fall experience. Musical guests, pumpkin patch, photo opportunities, scarecrows, yard games, a barn dance, and a petting zoo to name a few!

Autumn Adventures fall festival for kids in Mankato

The Museum’s autumn events are unlike any other; in fact, there are so many of them, it’s really more of a theme for the entire month than an event itself. Every program and experience will have an autumn spin during October. While a list of fall activities might be long for families, a stop (or two or eight or twelve!) at the Museum this month should be at the top of your list. 


1. Lots of outdoor time! 

It’s no secret we love nature play at the Museum, and there will be no shortage of it during Autumn Adventures month. Our planned expansion will multiply our outdoor space many times over and we couldn’t be more excited about it. To prepare, we’re not planning on stopping with our outdoor adventures this year, just because there’s a chill. We’re in Minnesota, after all! Bring your coats and your boots when necessary, because you’ll find us outside all the time. 

2. Fun yard games! 

In the Dotson Back 40, we plan to have fun fall-themed yard games set up that all ages will enjoy. 

3. Music and musical instruments!

Multiple musical guests will be visiting the Museum during Autumn Adventures. The Mankato Symphony Orchestra is coming…and they’re going to let you look at–and even touch–their instruments! How cool is that? Also visiting are the Mankato Riverblenders, and more! While you’re at the Museum, it’s also a great time to try our new marimba in the courtyard if you haven’t yet!

4. Dancing!

What do you like to do when you hear music? If you said dance, then you’re in for a treat! We’re hosting a Barn Dance! Grab your partner and come on down. Or grab several! Dancing for all ages and abilities. You can go right ahead and dance any time you hear music, too. 

5. Animals make everything better

When music and games and dancing and nice weather aren’t enough, add animals! We’re excited to welcome the Hasse Petting Zoo to the Museum during Autumn Adventures. Some folks have noticed we don’t have our barn animals like we have had in past years and have missed them. We found our resources are better spent in other areas, since we have so many amazing opportunities to bring guest animals in instead. Don’t miss this one with lots of interaction! 

6. Autumn Adventures is a unique, month-long theme experience

You can’t swing a gourd without hitting a fall festival of some kind in Southern Minnesota. What the Museum has to offer, however, is unlike any other. The Autumn Adventure theme is woven into every program and project we’ll be offering all month long. New activities and experiences will be introduced at different events throughout the month. 

Pumpkin Patch Autumn Adventures at the Childrens Museum of Southern Minnesota

7. No hidden costs

If you’re a member, you’re in! If you’re not a member, now is a great time to join, as you could plan to visit several times this month with all the excitement happening. For all Autumn Adventure events, no additional fees apply. No kids will be begging you to buy snacks or toys or various fall vegetables on your way out the door! 

8. Witness the ultimate transformation: butterflies to pumpkins!

Okay, so the butterflies aren’t actually turning into pumpkins, that would be a particular kind of magic we don’t have. BUT, the amazing space that was the butterfly garden this summer is being transformed into a walk-through pumpkin patch that will be a wonder to behold! You won’t want to miss it. 

Scarecrows in the Butterfly house autumn adventures Childrens Museum of Southern Minnesota

9. Non-school days’ Activities

The Museum staff keeps a keen eye on the local school calendars. When the kids are let out early or don’t have school at all, we’ll add special programming! So make sure to include the Museum in your no-school days with your kids. On October 20th and 21st, we’ll have coding classes, outdoor games, and more! 

10. Apples, sunflowers, and squash: oh, my! 

The Museum’s garden is offering up its harvest and events will be planned around the items that are ready to be picked and used. Turn apples into applesauce? Maybe! Turn sunflower seeds into snacks? Could be! Our facilitators will be creative and mindful of what’s ready, when to use it, and what to do with it. We can’t wait to be a part of it with you! 

11. Bonus: To thank our sponsor! 

Autumn Adventures Sponsored by Scheels

Autumn Adventures 2022 is sponsored by local sporting goods store Scheels. The Museum is lucky to have many amazing sponsors and partners for lots of our exhibits, events, and missions. The best way to thank them is to show up and have fun! See you there! 

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