Midwest Fall Break Getaway Road Trips Worth the Drive

Fall Break is upon us and for many children in central Indiana, that means up to 2 weeks away from school. As a parent, this could be an opportunity to take your child to explore a new-to-you, fun place. As much as we love Indy, the rest of Indiana and our neighboring states are full of fall break opportunities worthy of venturing outside our normal haunts. Here is a list of fun fall and Halloween-themed places beyond Central Indiana to visit during fall break. Make these a day trip or possibly extend your stay to a mini overnight trip.

Indiana

 

Harvest Tyme Pumpkin Glow Trail

17904 Grant St, Lowell, IN 46356

Harvest Tyme, a pumpkin patch in Northwest Indiana, will have a ticketed nighttime Pumpkin Glow, now through October 30. On weekend evenings, Harvest Tyme will have thousands of lights along a half-mile walking trail filled with specialty hand-carved jack-o-lanterns. The Pumpkin Glow Trail will include over 1000 characters and dozens of large festive and colorful light displays. Be mindful that the farm is unpaved and some parts of the ground will be bumpy and uneven.

Holiday World Happy Halloween Weekends

452 E Christmas Blvd, Santa Claus, IN 47579

Now through the end of October, Holiday World will be open on weekends only to celebrate Halloween. Some of the family-friendly special events your will enjoy include the rides you love at Holiday World, Halloween-themed shows, family-friendly SCAREbnb and Holidog’s 3D Halloween Adventure, 12 acres of corn mazes, and hayrides, Kitty’s Dance Spooktacular, trick-or-treating for children 12 and younger, and Carnival Chaos. Please note that this final attraction features loud noises, strobe lighting, a series of mazes, and “startles” most suitable for older children and adults.

Wilstem Wildlife Park

4229 US-150 W, Paoli, IN 47454

Wilstem Wildlife Park is a one-of-a-kind fall light experience. The Fall Festival of Lights operates daily through October 22 and again on October 28 & 29. This drive-thru experience begins at dusk and costs $25 per vehicle. Please note that this event does not include any animal encounters.

If you are looking to view the animals, there are 2 options: the Twilight Drive Thru and Light Show and the Twilight VIP Safari Wagon Tour and Light Show. The Twilight Drive Thru and Light Show allows you to view animals starting at 5:30. The last car enters at 7. Be aware the Roo Barn closes at 8 and the light show will start at dusk. The Twilight VIP Safari Wagon Tour and Light Show includes experiencing the Drive-Thru Safari on a wagon and viewing over 50 different species. The tour allows you to go off the path and get up close and personal with the animals including the elephant habitat.

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

3411 Sherman Blvd Fort Wayne, IN 46808

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is hosting Wild Zoo Halloween, a weekend event where dressing up in costumes is encouraged and your family can enjoy special attractions. Enjoy a mystery maze, treats, and watching animals interact with spooky enrichment activities. The Zoo has special events for each weekend until the end of October. Themes include Truck and Tractors on October 8-9, Superhero and Princesses on October 15-16, Witch and Wizard Day on October 22, Galactic Day on October 23, Monster Mash Dance Party on October 29, and Pumpkin Day on October 30.

Kentucky

 

Louisville Jack O Lantern Spectacular

1080 Amphitheater Road, Louisville, KY 40214

There is nothing that compares to the elaborate craftsmanship of the jack-o-lanterns at the Louisville Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular. Visitors will be amazed by the 5000+ pumpkins, including 100 jack-o-lanterns that are intricately carved by local artists along the ⅓-mile trail. Iroquois Park, a forested park outside of downtown Louisville, serves as the perfect backdrop for this art gallery of pumpkins in the woods, creating an added spooky aesthetic that only enhances the experience of your walk through the trail. The trail does include a grade with a steep slope and is comprised of compacted limestone so be mindful if you need to bring a stroller or wheelchair.

Note that on weekends you should expect longer lines at the entrance to the trail. Once you enter, follow the path at your own pace. Refreshments are offered by various vendors prior to entering the trail and restrooms are located near the amphitheater. It is recommended you purchase tickets prior because the event does sell out and there is timed entry.

Hot Wheels Monster Truck Live Glow Party

Kentucky Yum Center 1 Arena Plz, Louisville, KY 40202

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live Glow Party™ is coming to Louisville for the first time ever! There are Hot Wheels Monster Trucks including Mega Wrex™, Tiger Shark™, Boneshaker™, and Bigfoot®, to name a few and the all-new Gunkster™ will light it up in monster truck competitions and battles. The event will also include a dance party, laser light shows, Hot Wheels toy giveaways, and appearances by the car-eating, fire-breathing, transforming robot MEGASAURUS and from the Freestyle Motocross.

Pumpkins at Kentucky Kingdom

937 Phillips Ln, Louisville, KY 40209

My family has enjoyed going to Kentucky Kingdom the last 2 years, where my children just love the little kids’ ride section. During our last visit, we learned of their Pumpkin Event and I am so excited to go. At Kentucky Kingdom, your family can enjoy fall family fun activities that include trick-or-treating and carnival games. At night, enjoy the different glowing pumpkin sculptures and oranges gourds that illuminate the park.

Louisville Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo

1100 Trevilian Way, Louisville, KY 40213

To celebrate Halloween, Louisville Zoo hosts Boo at the Zoo, a family event that includes the “spooktacular” carousel, a free crawling “Not-So-Itsy-Bitsy” spider house, storybook characters, photo ops with princesses and superheroes, The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow Experience, and a safe trick-or-treating experience with 20 treat booths.

Ohio

 

Trick or Treat Fest at Kings Island

6300 Kings Island Dr, Mason, OH 45040

Kings Island hosts 2 Halloween events during weekends in October. Their Trick or Treat Fest daytime event is family-friendly, while Halloween Haunt in the evening is a more scary event meant for adults and older children. The Trick or Treat Fest operates from 11 am to 6 pm on specific days. During the event, you can expect specialty food and craft beers, musical entertainment, trick-or-treating, and other fall-themed games and activities. Halloween Haunt transforms Kings Island from 6 pm until midnight into a haunting experience filled with scare zones, shows, and mazes.

Great Wolf Lodge Howl-o-Ween

2501 Great Wolf Dr, Mason OH 45040

If you have stayed at any of the Great Wolf Lodges, then you know they offer more than just an indoor water park. They really go above and beyond as far as guest service and amenities. Every day at the Great Wolf Lodge, they offer a variety of activities to do throughout your stay to enhance your family’s visit. The indoor waterpark at the Mason, Ohio location is my personal favorite. If you visit during the Howl-O-Ween event you can expect fall décor throughout the resort and “howl-o -ween” themed activities that include a trick-or-treat trail, a fall-themed arts and crafts activity, Boo Bingo, yoga, a Monster Bash dance party, storytime, and much more. Be sure to check online for promo codes before you book.

Cincinnati Zoo HallZOOween

3400 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45220

The Cincinnati Zoo is one of my favorite zoos. HallZOOween is a special event held on weekends, October 15-30, from 12 to 5 pm. Costumes are encouraged and activities include trick-or-treat stations, special animal enrichment, and Phil Dalton’s Theater of Illusion Show at 1 pm & 3 pm. For an additional charge, enjoy the Hogwarts Express Train Ride and the Scare-ousel.

Brick or Treat at Legoland Discovery Center Columbus

157 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219

Now through Halloween, Legoland Discovery Center Columbus will be hosting their Halloween event, “Brick-or-Treat” with themed activities, games and snacks, character visits, and the new 4D Halloween movie “The Great Monster Chase!” Sunday through Friday, kids can trick-or-treat throughout the Center to receive bricks for a special themed build. On Saturdays, come in costume to participate in fun costume contests and compete to win prizes.

Columbus Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo

4850 W Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065

The Columbus Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo begins on Friday, October 14 at 5 pm and will run for the remaining three weekends of October. Boo at the Zoo will showcase four themed musical celebrations: Halloween Hullabaloo, Cali’s Pirate Palooza, Roll Back the Rock, and So Long, Farewell. Other activities include a Character Craze Hay Maze, Jessie’s Jack-O-Lantern Journey, Tommy C. Turtle’s Trick or Treat Trail, Sydnee Koala’s Royal Carousel, and other family fun.

Illinois

 

Bengtson’s Pumpkin Farm

13341 W 151st St, Homer Glen, IL 60491

My family loves Bengtson’s so much, we go every year. Bengtson’s continues to add new attractions to increase the value of the family entertainment they provide. Think of it as a farm fall festival theme park for families. They have one-of-a-kind rides that include a tractor town ride where the kids pretend to steer a tractor through a barn with animated animals along the way, 2 separate spinning rides, a swing, 2 train rides, and a roller coaster. You can also check out a haunted barn for older kids, a corn kernel play pit, a kids’ play area with a playground and playhouses, pig races, a petting zoo, a selfie booth, and many photo ops.

Believe it or not, these are just the beginning! It is best to visit Bengtson’s during the week for cheaper rates and to avoid large crowds that develop on the weekends when Bengtson’s will reach capacity early in the day. Also note that most of the pathways are paved for wheelchairs, wagons, and strollers and you can leave and come back on the day you visit with a handstamp and a copy of your receipt.

Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Fest

2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

Lincoln Park Zoo is a free public zoo in downtown Chicago. This fall they are hosting a fall festival event that includes ticketed attractions throughout the zoo. There is a Ferris wheel, harvest maze, pumpkin walk, super-sized slide, racecar ride, and more. Guests can also enjoy free musical entertainment, a pumpkin patch, professional pumpkin carvers, and fall-themed enrichment for the animals.

Navy Pier Pier Pumpkin Lights

600 E. Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Now through October 31, Navy Pier Chicago’s famous lakefront attraction will host a pumpkin pop-up featuring 1000 pumpkins. These pumpkin displays are great photo opportunities, and they are best viewed when they start glowing at dusk.

Legoland Discovery Center Chicago “Brick or Treat”

601 N Martingale Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60173

Now through Halloween, Legoland Discovery Center Chicago will be hosting their Halloween event, “Brick-or-Treat” where children are invited to enjoy special activities including a glow building zone, a haunted miniland scavenger hunt, and a new 4D Halloween movie, “The Great Monster Chase!” Costumes are encouraged.

Brookfield Zoo

3300 Golf Rd, Brookfield, IL 60513

Brookfield Zoo will be hosting Boo at the Zoo on Saturdays and Sundays beginning October 8 and running until the 30. The Zoo will be decorated with large inflatables including a witch and a spider, and event activities include a Crazed Maize Corn Maze and a creepy carousel. The animals will receive pumpkins at 10:30 a.m.

Six Flags Great America

1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee, IL 60031

Before the nighttime, scary Fright Fest event, Six Flags Great America offers a more family-friendly opportunity during the day from 11 am to 5 pm. Kids Boo Fest includes kid-friendly rides, a trick-or-treat trail and Camp Boo filled with fall festival activities. Fright Fest begins at 6 pm and is for a mature audience with events that features haunted houses, scare zones, and going on rides at night.

The Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee

1700 Nations Drive, Gurnee IL 60031

Last fall break, my family went to the Gurnee Great Wolf Lodge for Howl-O-Ween. We just loved the festivities including elaborate large balloon designs of a ghost, bat, and spider in the lobby, the Halloween-themed art and crafts, the trick-or-treat trail, and the dance party to name a few. Back again this year, the Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee will also have Boo Bingo, yoga, a Monster Bash dance party, storytime, and much more. Check online for promo codes when you book!

Missouri

 

The City Museum

750 N 16th St, St. Louis, MO 63103

If you want a one-of-a-kind experience to do something active with your family, the City Museum is your answer. There is no best way to describe this converted warehouse in downtown St. Louis. It is filled with so many areas to explore and climb and is appropriate for all ages. Their Misfit Halloween event runs every Friday-Sunday in October and offers five unique experiences varying from all ages entertainment to parental guidance suggested. Choose from Séance At The Museum, The Lady Beast, The Donniker Brothers, Beauty To Beast, and Mademoiselle Allura: The Headless Woman. Most of the five events are included in general admission tickets which are $20 for ages 3+, and kids 2 and under are free.

Six Flags St Louis

4900 Six Flags Rd, Eureka, MO 63025

Like Six Flags Great America, Six Flags St Louis offers 2 separate Halloween Events. Kids Boo Fest, a family-friendly event during the day, includes kid-friendly rides, a trick-or-treat trail, and a pirate trail. Fright Fest begins in the early evening and is for a mature audience with events that features haunted houses, scare zones, and experiencing thrill rides at night.

St. Louis Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo

1 Government Drove, St. Louis, MO 63110

The St. Louis Zoo offers Boo at the Zoo – Forest Park Forever from October 14-30. While it doesn’t have a trick-or-treat event, the Zoo will have Halloween-themed decorations like Haunted Harvest, Fragile Forest, and a giant cauldron, as well as returning favorites like the Monster Mash, Skeleton Soiree, and Pirate Pointe. Ticket prices range from $9-11 for ages 2+ depending on what day you attend. Anyone under the age of 2 is free.

Planning to spend fall break a little closer to home? Our calendar is packed full of events your family will love!

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