Mask up, Philly families. Without one, you won’t get to experience any of the five outdoor attractions here — a bucolic new meadow, pet a farm animal, pick up a pumpkin, make a hole-in-one, meet several dozen scarecrows, or learn to play croquet. (Children 2 and under can go mask-less.)
Think of it as a lesson for your kids: Just like when you go to a friend’s house, onto a baseball field, or into a Zoom, you gotta follow the house rules. This week’s sixth activity is virtual.
South Philly Woodlands
6 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, free, details on Facebook @fdrpark (all ages)
FDR Park — aka “the Lakes,” the Olmstead-designed gem across from the stadiums — keeps getting better and better. Where there used to be a golf course is now pure meadow (except for a putting green and a driving range near the entrance) newly dubbed the South Philly Woodlands. Nature lovers, swallows, hawks, owls, and even a deer or two have noticed. Take the path that runs between the first tee and the lovely manor house to find pop-up crafts, tree swings, sweeping scenery, and enough milkweed to keep lantern flies at bay. On weekend days, go further into the park to sample kabobs, sugarcane juice, and fried plantains at the open-air Cambodian market, a hidden gem within a gem.
9 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 31, $7 (ages 2 and under free), reservations at snipesfarm.org, walk-up permitted (all ages)
For every county, there seems to be at least one farm with pumpkins for picking, hay bales for climbing, goats for petting, and homemade apple cider for drinking. Snipes, one of a handful in Bucks, has scaled down fall operations this year: no apple picking, no corn maze, no bonfires. But, with 150 acres, the Morrisville plot still has plenty to offer on weekends, including a wooded half-mile nature trail, a scarecrow land for littles, and doughnuts, which go great with that apple cider. Fruits and veggies, too.
Spooky Mini Golf
6 p.m.–9 p.m. daily through Oct. 31, $10 adults, $8 ages 3–12, tickets available in advance at historicphiladelphia.org/franklin-square (preschool and up)
Franklin Square’s spooky mini golf isn’t all that spooky. And that’s a good thing. Just before dark, Center City’s only 18 holes — each one with a Philly theme — turns on the fog machine and turns up “ooo-ooo” music to get putters in the Halloween mood. Still, golfers would be wise not to let decorations distract them from putting a little oomph behind the ball at Philadelphia Museum of Art steps or taking careful aim at the crack in the Liberty Bell.
Morris Arboretum Scarecrow Walk
10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily through Nov. 1 (weather permitting), $10–$20 (ages 2 and under free), reservations required at experience.morrisarboretum.org (all ages, weekends book up quickly)
Snow White, Jack & the Beanstalk, Maleficent, the Gruffalo, Shrek, Tinkerbell, and more storybook-theme scarecrows join a more reality-based version or two — the COVID Queen and the Tooth Fairy, for example — at Morris Arboretum’s 13th annual Halloween walkabout. With the assistance of a map, visitors can wander among the historic garden’s fall plantings and changing leaves to find 50 such stuffed characters, each made by a Girl Scout troop, family, church group, friend group, or local business. Through Tuesday, they can also vote for their favorite.
Da Vinci Fest
Livestream 6:30 p.m. Wednesday kicking off in-person and virtual exhibits through Oct. 29, free, details at davincifest.org (ages 3 and up)
This year’s Da Vinci Fest starts with a livestream toy car derby (6:30 p.m. Wednesday) that isn’t just fun (sportscaster Leslie Gudel does the play-by-play), it’s smart. The science-meets-art excitement then continues in the Bella Vista organization’s various activities — in person and online. Happening online and of particular interest to kids: building a parachute from markers and coffee filters, virtually touring the Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, cutting out a paper lantern, and learning how Daniel Belquer creates music for people with low-hearing or deafness.
5–7 p.m. Thursday, free, reservations not required (ages 7 and up)
Show up at Germantown’s historic Cliveden this Thursday, and you’ll be treated to the expansive lawn’s very last croquet lesson of the year. The genteel pastime may just be the perfect social-distancing sport that doesn’t require a country club membership. Arrive by 5 p.m. for a free half-hour lesson. They’ll loan you a mallet, ball, and wickets.