For the Family Man, it can be tricky to find activities that are age-appropriate for his brood yet still actually enjoyable for a man of his ilk. You can’t (in good conscience) take the kids along to the pub/horse track/shooting range, and you don’t want to spend another weekend at the pony ride/playground/playdate.
So what’s to be done? Just dump the kids at grandma’s house and head off for some adult activity sans youngsters? Well, yes, every once in a while that’s a fine idea. But the true gentleman knows spending time with his family is indeed manly and can indeed be enjoyable for all, it just takes some proper planning; spontaneous plans and young children mix like toothpaste and orange juice: not… well.
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You’ll have to do some research about events and outings in your area, but if you’re looking for ways to have family-friendly fun this fall, here are a few ideas to get your thinking started.
Highland Games – Kilts Optional
There are Highland Games (AKA Scottish Games, Celtic Festivals, etc.) held all year around all around the country, but autumn tends to be the peak season for these family-friendly and also manly events. A good Highland Games (such as Ventura’s Seaside Highland Games, October 9th – 11th) features everything from whisky tasting to Celtic dancing to caber tossing (that’s essentially throwing a telephone pole in the air – not kidding) to face painting. They also tend to take place during the day, so don’t worry about sleepy kids missing bedtime.
Oktoberfest For All!
Most Oktoberfest (AKA Octoberfest) celebrations are for those aged 21 years and older, but there are plenty that welcome families to come as a gang, such as the annual Oaktoberfest held in Oakland, CA (October 3rd this year). Sure, there’s lots of beer, but there’s also arts and crafts, family-friendly music and performance, and even a Root Biergarten, which is pretty much self-explanatory (and deliciously refreshing).
Take a Hike
The fall is the best season for hiking: it’s cool and crisp but not yet cold and the changing foliage adds to the grace and beauty of nature. If you’ve got the kids in tow (or strapped to your back), chances are you’re not going to head for the summit of Mt. Rainier. But there are bountiful fun and easy hikes all across America, many of which are quite close to urban centers. Bear Mountain State Park, for example, is only about 40 miles from downtown Manhattan, and is replete with easy hiking trails, swimming in the summer, ice skating when it’s cold, and dining options. Bonus Point: the lowest point on the Appalachian Trail passes through the park! Mazel tov!
Nobody Doesn’t Love LEGOs
The annual BrickCon convention kicks off in Seattle in early October, and it’s a sight to see no matter what your age. Your family, along with thousands of other LEGO lovers, will descend on the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall to behold the work of hundreds of skilled “builders,” the term of art for the serious LEGO master. And this is just one such event: LEGO conventions and exhibitions take place all around America (and the rest of the world) and are always worth checking out. Especially if you and your kids like LEGOs. Which… you do.
Disney FTW, Especially During Halloween
A trip to Disneyland or Disney World is never cheap, but it’s always awesome. So kiss your cash and your cares away and head to the happiest place on earth, because especially during the month of October (actually, it’s 9/15 – 11/1), Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is going strong. There’s more fun than your kids will know what to do with, and the rides and tasty treats are enjoyable at any age. The biggest drawback? No beer. Or wine or Scotch. Or grog, for the record.