5 to Try: Post readers pick best family-friendly fall things to do in JoCo 🍁

There are a lot of fall things to do in Johnson County, including apple picking at Cider Hill.

Post readers had some great suggestions for their favorite fall activities in Johnson County, including apple picking at Cider Hill Family Orchard in nearby KCK. Image via Cider Hill Family Orchard website.

The weather is getting colder and the nights are getting longer, which can only mean we have hit the official start of fall, and there plenty of seasonal activities to do in and around Johnson County.

For this week’s “5 to Try,” we asked Post readers to give us their top recommendations for the best fall things to do in Johnson County, and they delivered.

Let’s get into their suggestions for the best fall things to do this season in and around Johnson County.

Overland Park Fall Festival

Residents visiting the booths at the Overland Park Fall Festival as a fun fall activity in Johnson County.
Photo courtesy city of Overland Park.

A popular suggestion for fall activities in Johnson County brought to our attention by readers is the annual Overland Park Fall Festival.

It’s a timely pick because this year’s event is taking place this weekend.

The festival will occur on Friday, Sept. 23, from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 24, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Overland Park.

The extravaganza is packed with kid-friendly activities, including educational demonstrations, acrobatic artists, princess visits, live music and more.

For food, attendees will have a variety of options to choose from, including well-known Overland Park Farmers’Market vendors, food trucks and more than a dozen downtown Overland Park restaurants.

More than 75 artisans and creators are going to set up booths at the event as well, giving residents the opportunity to shop for products made by local and regional artists and crafters.

Lenexa Chili Challenge

Residents visiting the booths at the Lenexa Chili Challenge.
Photo courtesy city of Lenexa.

As far as fall activities in Johnson County go, another suggestion is Lenexa’s annual Chili Challenge.

Starting Friday, Oct. 7, in Old Town Lenexa, this free food festival is set to heat up that night with live music by Stolen Winnebagos and a fireworks show.

Then, on Saturday, Oct. 8, attendees can grab a spoon at the gate to feast on their fill of chili, hot wings and salsa samples.

About 200 teams typically compete in the chili, hot wings and salsa contests in hopes of taking home the Grand Champion prize.

Teams host private parties on Friday night and give out samples to everyone on Saturday.

Shawnee Scarecrow Festival

Kids decorate pumpkins at the Shawnee Scarecrow Festival.
Photo courtesy city of Shawnee.

Our next pick for a fun Johnson County fall activity is the Shawnee Scarecrow Festival, a free kid-focused, craft-making event hosted in the parking lot of Shawnee City Hall in downtown Shawnee.

With the event, children are able to decorate pumpkins and complete other fall-related crafts starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1.

While their kids are crafting, parents can also enjoy the Shawnee Farmers’ Market and season displays.

If you attend, make sure to also explore other areas of downtown Shawnee to see any of the businesses decorated and themed scarecrows for the annual competition.

Boo at the Zoo

Kids trick-or-treat at the Kansas City Zoo.
Photo courtesy KC Parent Magazine.

For our fourth fall activity suggestion, we have Boo at the Zoo, a way to celebrate Halloween with a not-so-scary, safe trick-or-treating experience at the Kansas City Zoo.

From 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, and Sunday, Oct. 30, people can bring the kiddos in their family-friendly costumes and join in on the fun.

In addition to trick-or-treating, other fun fall activities will be provided for the whole family, including a pumpkin toss, photo ops and more.

Trick-or-treat bags will be provided to every kid who attends the event.

Boo at the Zoo is free after the regular price of admission, which runs $17-20 per ticket for non-Jackson County, Mo., residents.

Apple picking at Cider Hill

Cider Hill Family Orchard in KCK offers apple picking, a family-friendly fall activity near Johnson County.
Image via Cider Hill Family Orchard Facebook page.

The final suggestion we received from our readers for a great fall activity is the classic apple picking at Cider Hill Family Orchard, which is a short drive away from Johnson County in Kansas City, Kan.

Located at 3341 N. 139th St. in KCK, this orchard allows families to come out for the day to pick their own apples, sip some cider and sample some truly amazing apple cinnamon donuts.

Cider Hills is 38 acres and covered with 6,000 apple trees. A total of 18 different kinds of apples are grown in the orchard.

Guests can pick their own apples and are welcome to spend as much time as they would like exploring among the apple trees.

Cider Hill is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The orchard is closed on Mondays.