Northern Nevada is the perfect place to enjoy brisk weather; falling leaves of red, orange and yellow; pumpkin patches and fall festivals; train rides; and more. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights of family-friendly fall events in October:
Sparktoberfest Harvest Jamboree
Experience an infusion of Germanic cultural expressions from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at Victorian Square in Sparks. Celebrate and learn about music, art, foods, games and activities, language and traditions. The cultural fair will feature crafts, activities and attractions for families of all ages, including local craft beers. Details: 775-771-1828.
37th annual Pumpkin Patch & Fall Festival
This year's Pumpkin Patch and Fall Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 15 at Preston Field, 700 Tahoe Blvd., Incline Village. It will feature live music with Mojo Green; food from the Crystal Bay Club, Azzara's and Bibo Freddo Gelato; pony rides; face painting; glitter tattoos; bounce houses; bungee trampoline; carnival games; obstacle course; pumpkin sales; pumpkin decorating and more. The 37th annual Pumpkin Patch is a fundraiser for Incline Village Nursery School, a nonprofit preschool. Details: 775-831-4040.
Animal Ark Harvest Festival
Watch the fun as predators discover the delicious goodies awaiting them in their pumpkins. Come early, bring a picnic lunch and your camera. It runs from 10:15 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at Animal Ark, 1265 Deerlodge Road, Reno. Cost: $15 adults, $13.50 seniors (62+), $12 children (3-12 years). Details: Info@AnimalArk.org or 1-775-970-3111.
Historic Virginia and Truckee Railroad
Pumpkin patch trains, Halloween-themed rides and a Day Out With Thomas add to the already destination-worthy Virginia and Truckee Railroad. A Day Out With Thomas runs Oct. 21-23 and Oct. 28-30 for a 25-minute ride and temporary tattoos, face painting, storytelling, videos, train play tables, mini golf, coloring caboose and a meet-and-greet with Sir Topham Hatt. Board from the original 1870 V & T passenger depot and museum in downtown Virginia City and enjoy a 35-minute round-tip featuring Comstock mines, Gold Hill and the story of the area’s boom and bust. The V &T offers seven departures daily through Oct. 31. The depot and museum are located at 165 F. St. in Virginia City. Call 775-847-0380 or click here.
Head to Pumpkin Palooza on Oct. 23 at Victorian Square in Sparks to build and race a pumpkin in the Pumpkin Derby; participate in the children’s costume parade; listen to storytelling in the Haunted School House; play carnival-style games; compete in pie-eating, pumpkin-seed spitting, marshmallow shooting or mummy-wrapping contests; enter a pumpkin in the beauty contest; and enjoy live music and food truck fare. Details: 775-353-5555.
Discovery Trick or Treat
The Discovery Museum is a such a fun place to take kids. Celebrate the season of ghosts and goblins with a spooktacular visit to the museum for The Discovery’s annual Trick or Treat. Come in costume and trick or treat through the museum on Oct. 29 at The Discovery, 490 S. Center St. Members-only from 3 to 5 p.m.; general admission from 5 to 8 p.m. Members cost $2 per person; nonmembers $3.
Riverwalk Merchants Halloween Hollow
Scare up some fun in downtown Reno’s from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 29 during the eighth annual Riverwalk Merchants Halloween Hollow event. Costumed youths can get a treasure map, where they’ll find sweet treats at participating Riverwalk District merchant shops and run into ghouls in spooky costumes along the way. Live music and entertainment will be located in the city plaza, as well as a Virginia Street Bridge Pumpkin Carving Contest.
For more details or to download the treasure map, click here. Maps will be available at the main Riverwalk booth the day of the event and available online by Oct. 27.
Pumpkin fun and beyond at the patch
Of course, there also are plenty of pumpkin patches in the Reno area and beyond to visit and explore. Activities vary from patch to patch, but picking out a pumpkin and taking a ride of some sort is usually a guarantee.
- Andelin Family Farm: Whether its picking out your own pumpkins from the patch, going through a corn maze, seeing animals and riding the hay ride, there are a variety of activities available at this pumpkin patch in Spanish Springs at 8100 Pyramid Highway, about half a mile north of the Spanish Springs Library. Hours and costs of activities vary. Details: 775-530-8032.
- Corley Ranch: Located at 859 U.S. 395 South in Gardnerville, an admission covers activities such as pig races, seeing farm animals, a hay slide, hay wagon rides and more. Additional fees are charged for pumpkins, train rides, miniature golf and other activities. Call for hours. Details: 775-265-6506.
- Ferrari Farms Pumpkin Patch: Whether its picking out that perfect pumpkin, going through a corn maze or bouncing in a bounce house, this farm, at 4701 Mill St., offers plenty to do. This year, check out the Paintball Zombie Hunt and Haunted Hayride/Corn Field. Hours and prices vary. Details: 775-856-4962.
- Lattin Farms: Check out the Peanuts corn maze, hay rides, pedal cars, a cow train, petting zoo and a produce stand. The 2016 festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays during October. The Peanuts Corn Maze is open from 5-8 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, and the produce stand is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The farm is located at 1955 McLean Road in Fallon. Visit Lattin Farms or call 775-864-3750 for hours and information.
- Lovig Farms: Shoot a corn cannon, bead a horseshoe or pick a pumpkin from among five different varieties. Hay rides and pony rides also are available at this pumpkin patch, which is located at 15055 N. Virginia St., accessible from Red Rock exit 78 off of U.S. 395. A corn maze and general store also are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Details: 775-240-2005.
- Toll House Pumpkin Patch: Kids can pick a pumpkin, ride a pony, or get a photo taken at this pumpkin patch, located across from the south Wal-Mart at 12185 S. Virginia St. The cost for activities varies, and groups of eight or more may want to make reservations. Hours also vary during the week. Details: 503-551-0397.