Feel the tickle of a cooler breeze. Stare — mesmerized — at swirling bronze and golden leaves. Pull on your sweatshirts and capture outdoor time with family and friends.
Fontenelle Forest is the ideal place to witness the changing season as you zip and climb at TreeRush Adventures or kick up fallen leaves while walking wooded pathways.
This autumn, plan adrenaline-boosting fun at TreeRush Adventures, where you can balance on swinging bridges, pass through netted tunnels or glide on zip lines through the trees. Celebrate a birthday at KidRush, for ages 4 to 8, or in the main climbing area for ages 7 to adult. Group rates provide an affordable way to recharge a youth group after a summer break, bring together a newly formed team, or mark the end of a sports season well-played.
If playing Tarzan on treetop trails isn’t for you, no worries. Fontenelle Forest offers additional options for enjoying sweater weather, many of which are included with daily admission or offered free to members. Here is a sampling of autumn treats.
1. Riverview Boardwalk, daily. This easy mile-long loop made Prevention magazine’s 2019 list of “50 Best Walks in America That Every Traveler Must Explore.” Though the walk is open throughout the day, the best time to be on the boardwalk is at dawn or dusk when deer, raccoons, owls, foxes and coyotes are active. In winter, keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles. The path is stroller- and wheelchair-friendly and has benches for resting or simply taking in the beauty of the wild. You also can hike and snowshoe some 2,000 acres of oak savannas, bluffs and wetlands.
2. Vinyasa-style yoga classes, 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Dec. 18 and 9 a.m. Sundays through Dec. 29. All levels of yogis are welcome. After class, take a meditative walk followed by tea.
3. Stroller Stride, Oct. 19 and Nov. 16, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. This functional, total-body conditioning workout is aimed at parents and caregivers with children up to age 3 in tow. Each workout is comprised of strength training, cardio and core restoration, all while entertaining little ones with songs, activities and fun. The class finishes with a 15-minute walk in the forest.
4. Hiking for Seniors, the 4th Wednesday of every month, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Each hike is 1 to 2 miles with some hills, and at a pace that accommodates all participants. Dress for the weather and bring water, sunscreen and insect repellent.
5. Autumn Constellation Viewing at neighboring Neale Woods, Oct. 25, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Spy Andromeda, Aquarius, Capricornus, Pegasus and Pisces in the sky. Bring water, insect repellent and binoculars. Preregistration required.
6. Dirt Time: An Animal Tracking Family Adventure, Oct. 26, Nov. 30 and Dec. 28; 9 to 11:30 a.m. Join a naturalist and learn how to identify animal tracks and scat. Bring gloves and wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
7 . Fall in the Forest Walk, Oct. 26, 10 to 11:30 a.m. A naturalist-guided walk centered on the flora and fauna of the forest in autumn. Dress for the weather and bring water, sunscreen and insect repellent.
8. A Night at the Forbidden Forest (ages 21+), Nov. 1, 6 to 9 p.m. Journey into our forbidden forest to hunt for Horcruxes or take your O.W.L.s via a pub quiz that will challenge even the most knowledgeable witch or wizard. Dress as your favorite Hogwarts character and compete for prizes. $35 for general admission; $25 for Fontenelle Forest members. Includes drink ticket.
9. A Holiday at Hogwarts (all ages), Nov. 2, noon to 3 p.m. Witches, wizards, and muggles alike are invited to experience the magic of Fontenelle Forest after dark. Visit owls and other raptors, enjoy Potter-themed crafts, and head out on our boardwalk for a Horcrux Hunt! $20 for general admission; $10 for Fontenelle Forest members.