Enjoy the beauty of fall at Bernheim with ColorFest and Fall Break activities

By Whitney Wurzel

Also in October, Bernheim hosts a very special Butterfly Release

Celebrate the fall season at Bernheim with a family favorite annual event, ColorFest. On Saturday, Oct. 19 and Sunday, Oct. 20, visitors can slingshot pumpkins with the Pumpkin Launch, make mudpies, and enjoy a hayride through Bernheim’s colorful fall landscape. ColorFest also features live music, hands-on nature activities, unique local foods, a hay maze, and so much more.

ColorFest runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days. There is no cost to attend, but non-members are asked to pay a $10 per car environmental fee at the gate. Select activities do have a small fee. Forest Hill Drive will be closed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for hayrides both days.

Bernheim Fall Break Events

Fall Nature Concert
Join Bernheim’s very own Mr. Dan on Wednesday, Oct. 2 from 1 to 1:45 p.m. at the Visitor Center for a nature song extravaganza! Come prepared to sing, dance, and rock out to songs that celebrate the plants and animals of Bernheim. This family concert is appropriate for all ages.

Butterfly Dome Experience
This special new experience kicks off at BugFest and allows visitors to interact with butterflies in an onsite Butterfly Dome and (gently) handle them while learning about butterfly habitats. The Butterfly Dome will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28 and will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until Sunday, Oct. 6 when you are invited to select a butterfly and release it back to its natural habitat for the great Butterfly Release starting at 11 a.m. Donations to help protect pollinators and pollinator habitat will be accepted.

The fun doesn’t end there. Bernheim has numerous programs and events to enjoy the crisp autumn season:

Lunch & Learn: Autumn Trees from Top to Bottom
Bernheim Lunch & Learn programs are designed for those who enjoy spending time outdoors in the company of other adults who love learning about nature. On Wednesday, Oct. 2, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. travel into Bernheim’s natural forest to investigate trees as they begin their autumn transformation. Participants will meet at the Visitor Center and set off on a journey along the Canopy Tree Walk and explore trees from a different perspective along Rock Run Trail.

Each program includes group introductions, a short-themed hike and a fabulous lunch from Isaac’s Café. The lunch menu can be found at Bernheim.org.

Registration and payment are due by 4 p.m. on the day prior to the start of the program. Please call (502) 955-8512 or visit bernheim.org to register. The cost is $15 for members and $20 for non-members.

Tree-Eats Along the Trail
Join Bernheim Interpretive Programs Manager Wren Smith at 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 5 for an engaging forest foray. The program focuses on trees that provide food and beverages for humans, and lesser-known uses of trees in our area will also be explored.

The cost is $10 for Bernheim members and $12 for non-members. Registration and payment are due by 4 p.m. the day before the program by calling (502) 955-8512 or visiting bernheim.org. Space is limited, and no pets are allowed. Meet at the Education Center.

ECO Kids Discovery Days
The E-C-O stands for Every Child Outside, and that’s exactly where kids can be found during ECO Kids Discovery Days. Discovery Days take place the first and third Saturday of each month at Bernheim’s Visitor Center and include:
On Your Own Challenge from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Discovery Stations from 1 – 4 p.m.
Hike of the Day led by a Bernheim guide, starts at the Visitor Center at 2 p.m. and runs 45-60 minutes.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, the theme is Autumn Plant Bingo. Children will discover fall beauties across the Bernheim landscape as they work to score bingo on the On Your Own Challenge playing card. The day also includes hands-on Discovery Stations and the Hike of the Day during the afternoon.

On Saturday, Oct. 19, Bernheim will break from the traditional ECO Kids programming for the ColorFest celebration. Bernheim encourages families to participate in as many ColorFest activities as possible.

For details on ECO Kids Discovery Days, call (502) 955-8512 or visit Bernheim.org.

ECO Kids Pollywog Play Party
Pollywogs (infants to five-year-olds) are invited to the Education Center, on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 10:30 a.m. to noon for a morning of discovery. Early learners will participate in Nature’s Wonder of Changing Colors where they will collect leaves, make rubbings, play in fresh leaf piles and more.

Registration is required by 4 p.m. on the day prior to the program by calling (502) 955-8512 or by visiting Bernheim.org. The cost is $10 for Bernheim members and $15 for non-members. There is no fee for children under 18 months. The fee covers one caregiver and one child.

First Sunday Nature Hike
Join a Volunteer Naturalist at the Visitor Center on Sunday, Oct. 6, from 2 to 3 p.m. for an engaging 45 to 60-minute nature walk exploring late summer and fall blooms. Registration is not required for this free event, and all ages are welcome. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes and pets are not allowed.

Wildlife Tracking Certification and Workshop
Come to Bernheim from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, October 12 and 13 to learn about the fascinating world of wildlife tracking. Every time we step outside of our door, there are myriad stories to be told of the comings and goings of animals, and one of the oldest human practices is to read and interpret these stories. Come to Bernheim and join expert wildlife tracker, naturalist, and tracking evaluator, Marcus Reynerson, on an intensive weekend workshop and evaluation in the art and science of wildlife tracking, run through Cybertracker Conservation of North America.

This training will be strictly field-based. Meet at the Education Center and bring whatever is needed to be in the field and comfortable all day, as well as a notebook and a pen or pencil. As always, we will go where the animals are, so participants should be prepared to get muddy, walk up and down steep slopes and go off trail.

This program is intended for ages 18 and up, and the cost is $200 for Bernheim members and $275 for non-members. A boxed lunch is included for each day.

Forest Homeschool Hike: Trees and Leaves
On Wednesday, Oct. 16, from 1 to 2 p.m., Bernheim takes homeschool to the woods! Bernheim is offering opportunities for homeschool families and co-ops to join Bernheim educators for an afternoon of learning, exercising and adventure. Appropriate for grades K-5, each Forest Homeschool Hike will include a short lesson followed by a hike that will bring the lesson to life.

Registration and payment are required by 4 p.m. on the day prior to the program. Call (502) 955-8512 or visit Bernheim.org to register.

The cost for Bernheim members is $5 for each student and $7 for each student for non-members. There is no fee for adults and children must be accompanied by an adult.

Bernheim at Night
Bernheim’s night programs add mystery and magic to make memorable experiences. Exploring Bernheim at night provides opportunities to observe and celebrate seasonal and nocturnal changes in our surroundings.

Quarter Moon Hike
Join Bernheim on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. for a trek through Bernheim’s holly collection, around Olmsted Ponds to the Earth Measure sculpture and into the Big Prairie.

Full “Falling Leaves” Moon Hike
Visitors are invited to Bernheim on Sunday, Oct. 13, from 6:45 to 8:45 p.m. to enjoy a nature hike under the light of a full moon. This Full Moon Hike includes a walk around Lake Nevin Loop, with plenty of stops to observe the night sky, discuss nocturnal happenings, and consider cosmic connections.

Laser Guided Star Tour
Take a Laser Guided Star Tour around Lake Nevin on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Join “Star Captains” Bill Napper and Don Spain as these Volunteer Naturalists use a laser pointer to help you experience celestial happenings in the night sky.

All Bernheim at Night programs are $10 for members and $12 for non-members. Groups meet at the Garden Pavilion unless otherwise noted in the event description. Registration and payment are required by 4 p.m. on the day prior to the program. Call (502) 955-8512 or visit bernheim.org to reserve a spot. Space is limited for events, and pets are not allowed.

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