If you are looking for a guide to keep you and your family entertained, we have got you covered! We’ve started a monthly events guide to be sure you don’t miss a thing happening around Madison. Here are the September “need to know” activities. Further happenings, such as library events, open play/jump/swim, and ongoing Madison Children’s Museum events can all be found on our calendar.
Feel free to join our various Neighborhood Groups where Mombassadors organize meet-ups for area moms!
This is by no means a comprehensive list. If you know of any fun family activities we have missed, please let us know in the comments!
September 23-October 30: Treinen Fall Festival | See website for event details and pricing.
October 1: Saturday Science: 10 am – 12 pm at the UW Discovery Building |Let your imagination run wild during this free event held on the first Saturday of every month! Create with cardboard, 3-D printing and more; find out how to make your ideas a reality; discover Wisconsin inventors; and learn what the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office does with new ideas and inventions. This event is free and open to the public. It features interactive exploration stations for kids and families.
October 1: Saturday Science Workshop-Strawberry DNA: 10-11 am at UW Space Place | You may have heard of DNA but have you ever seen it? Extract some DNA from a strawberry and find out how the process works.
October 1: LEGO® Star Wars Rogue One Build Event: 4 pm at Barnes & Noble East Towne and West Towne | Kids ages 8 and up are invited to join us for our LEGO® Star Wars Rogue One Build Event. In this open and fun-filled activity, participants and Star Wars fans alike will get to build designs from the exciting new film coming out this year.
October 1: Family Event-Bricks 4 Kidz: 9:30 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | Encourage your little architect to learn, grow and play at DreamBank! Join Bricks 4 Kidz for a hands-on LEGO workshop that is sure to be both fun and educational. Spend the morning sparking curiosity and boosting their confidence to dream with every creation.
October 1: Build a Fire Truck: 9 am – 12 pm at Home Depot | Join our hands-on workshop and you and your child can build a toy fire truck with real wheels so you can race it to the rescue! Once the toy truck is built, your child can decorate it. FREE hands-on workshops; designed for children ages 5 – 12.
October 1: Family Geocaching Adventure: 2-4 pm at Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Black Earth | Join us for a modern day treasure hunt! Geocaches are hidden containers that you track down using GPS units. Learn how to use a GPS unit and spend the afternoon on a geocaching adventure at ALNC’s Black Earth campus to find caches. We’ll also have a crash course in map and compass orienteering, a good skill to have in case technology fails. GPS units will be provided, but feel free to bring your own if you have one. $6/person for Members; $10/person for Non-Members. Ages 3 and under are free.
October 1-2: Funny Farm Fall Festival: 10 am – 5 pm at Critters Corral | We will be hosting a one weekend only fall festival at critters corral on buckeye rd. Just outside the city limits of Madison! The event is very family themed and will have a plethora of activities for everyone! The hours are 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday October 1st and 2nd. Half of all proceeds will be donated back to Critters Corral animal rescue farm! We will also be taking donations for a great cause. See link for activities.
October 1-2: Fall Family Campout: Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Black Earth | Back by popular demand, bring the whole family for an overnight campout at our Black Earth Campus filled with nature activities and stargazing around the campfire on a fall night. Bring something to cook over the campfire for dinner (or heat up in the kitchen on site). ALNC will provide a campfire snack and pancake breakfast. Bring your own sleeping bag, pillow and tent (if you have one). 4 person tents are available for rent for $10 each. Indoor shared bunk bed space is available in the Leopold Lodge if preferred. $10/person for Members; $16/person for Non-Members. Agest 3 and under are free.
October 2 & 15: Pumpkin Picking with Cinderella: 11 am – 3 pm at Waldvogel’s Pumpkin Patch, Beaver Dam | Who better to help you pick out your pumpkin than Cinderella! She will be on hand to assist children in selecting the perfect pumpkin! Who knows it may turn into a carriage! She will also be available for photos & autographs. Pumpkin Carriage backdrop on site for unique photo opportunity. Guests wanting to meet Cinderella will need to purchase activity area admission tickets.
October 2: Blackhawk Bash: 11 am – 3:30 pm | Free and open to all, it’s the annual Blackhawk open house! Bring your bicycle and take the kids for a ride on our expanded trail system. Check out our facilities and upcoming winter programming. Watch our ski jumping team exhibit their locally honed skills on our four jumps (5, 15, 30 & 60 meters) between 11 AM – 12:30 PM. Music, a bouncy house, used gear sale, and food trucks will be at the East Chalet. A kids’ fun run begins at 1:30 PM, followed by a kids’ mountain bike race at 3 PM, and awards for the kids’ events at 3:30 PM.
October 4-9: Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella: Overture Center for the Arts | See website for ticket pricing and show times.
October 5: Free Family Night at the Madison Children’s Museum: 5-8 pm | Enjoy free admission from 5-8 p.m. on the first open Wednesday of each month through the museum’s Access for Everyone program.
October 6: Kids’ Day at the Market: 8 am – 1 pm at Greenway Station, Middleton |The first 200 children to attend the Farmers’ Market that day will receive a free cookie and mini gourd to decorate. Plus, this year the Middleton Public Library will be on-site at the event providing fun activities during the whole market and a special story time at 10am! After story time, children will have the opportunity to meet a princess and sit in the driver’s seat of a real utility vehicle from Olson Toon Landscaping’s active fleet!
October 7: Free Farm Tour: 4 pm at Sassy Cow Creamery | Join us for FREE farm tours and learn about how we care for our cows. Just show up at the creamery!
October 7: Harvest Moon Festival: 6-9 pm at the Lussier Family Heritage Center | Explore torch-lit trails in the moonlight, while discovering the natural world through hands-on activities and interpretive presentations. Enjoy s’mores around the Howlin’ Bonfire, Kids Tree Climb, Smoky the Bear, Maynard G. Mallard and live bluegrass music. Food and refreshments available for purchase. ADMISSION (cash only) $5.00/person (age 5 and under FREE) Military Kids Free with Parent’s Military I.D. Admission includes FREE annual membership!
October 7: Member Monster Mash: 6-8 pm at the Madison Children’s Museum | This event is free for Madison Children’s Museum members to attend. Tickets are open to members only and are limited. See website for full details.
October 7-9: LEGO KidsFest Wisconsin: Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee | LEGO® KidsFest Wisconsin stops at the Wisconsin Center from Oct. 7-9, 2016. The show brings all of the creative hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO building and experiences together in this three-acre activity- and entertainment-packed family event. LEGO KidsFest is for children of all ages and builders of all skills and interests.
October 7-9: Monona Fall Festival | See website for event details.
October 8: Pumpkin Fest: 11 am – 3 pm at The Gathering Place Wedding and Party Venue, Milton | Bring the entire family–friends–neighbors–kids to enjoy our Fall Celebration….Pumpkin Carving & Decorating–Punkin Launch at 1 pm. Costume Parade at 1:30 pm. Face Painting-Games-Prizes-Fun for all ages. Caramel Apple Bar–Sponsored by Hawk’s Orchard-Milton. Music-Fresh Baked Pies served with Ice Cream also for Sale. Steve’s Deli Dog House featuring his famous Chicago Dogs.
October 8: Safety Event with Wilde: 10 am – 4 pm at Wilde East Towne Honda | Wilde East Towne Honda is hosting a community event focusing on different areas of safety. There will be prizes, free food, bouncy houses, face painting, fire and police department staff and more at this family-friendly event! We will also be hosting Operation Kidsafe, which will provide a free and confidential bio-document to families to provide to law enforcement in the event something were to happen to a child. Be sure to stop out and enjoy the free activities and the chance to win some prizes!
October 8: Family Event-Kids Yoga with little om BIG OM: 9:30 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | Bring your little yogis for an imaginative session on the mat! Yoga instructors from little om BIG OM weave stories, games and music together for a fun class that helps kids increase their focus, get active and discover new confidence in their abilities.
October 8-23: Children’s Theater of Madison – The American Girls Revue™: The Playhouse at Overture Center | Take an imaginative musical journey through time with your favorite characters from the treasured collection of American Girl ® books. Recommended ages 6 & up. See website for tickets and show times.
October 9: Children’s Theatre-Juggling Extravaganza: 1 pm at the Waisman Center Auditorium | A humorous, fast-paced, high energy juggling extravaganza for children of all ages. Activities to amuse the whole family. “Doug the Jug” performs a humorous juggling extravaganza that includes a touch of magic woven throughout his program. Whether keeping five colorful rings in the air, manipulating top hats and boxes, or juggling three small children, you never know what amazing feat Doug will attempt next! Portions of his performance are choreographed to classical and theme-related music and audience members are encouraged to participate throughout this fun filled program. $2.00, adults; $1.00, children.
October 14: Family Fun Night: 5:30-8:30 pm at Warner Park Community Recreation Center | Gymnasium Fun – bouncy house, sports, fun games. Family Fitness Classes and Fit2Go Van Classes, movies & themes change monthly. Drop-In Art and Pottery Projects. Game Room Fun – pool, ping pong, foosball, air hockey. Child Care Room – drop off young kids for playtime. $5/per family.
October 14: Wisconsin Dells Fall Festival Weekend: Downtown Wisconsin Dells | See website for event details.
October 14-16: Just Between Friends Resale: Alliant Energy Center | See website for event details.
October 15: Family Event-Science Day: 9:30 am – 12 pm at Dream Bank | Bring your tiny Einsteins down to DreamBank for a hands-on, educational adventure in science! Give your kids the freedom to explore and watch them become more curious, creative and confident with every discovery. We’ll be featuring four different science departments from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, so stop by to join the fun!
October 16: Trick or Trot 5K Walk/Run: 3 pm on the Capitol Square | Join us for our first ever annual Trick or Trot 5K Walk/Run. The run will kickoff at the Capitol Square in Madison at 3 pm. See website for full details and sign up.
October 16: Drop-In-Halloween Treat Bag Decorating: 1-5 pm at Revel | Get ready for trick-or-treating by decorating a canvas tote bag. Costumes optional 🙂 The tote bags are $10 and we will also have our regular Craft Bar menu and beer/cocktails available for adults.
October 18: Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Popp’n Popcorn: 9:30-10:30 am at Whole Foods Market | Join other mini sprouts as we make food fun in this culinary class designed for toddlers and preschoolers. This hands-on and interactive class will give children the confidence to try new foods. We will prepare some fun and healthy recipesusing popcorn and read “Popcorn” by Frank Asch! Parents or caregivers are encouraged to participate or watch (they attend free with student ticket). Includes recipe packet and coloring sheets to take home. Designed for ages 2-6. Tickets are $15.
October 20-23: Wisconsin Science Festival | See website for event details.
October 20-23: Billy Elliot-The Musical: Verona Area High School Performing Arts Center | See website for tickets and show times.
October 21-23: Harry Potter Festival: Edgerton, WI | See website for event details.
October 22: Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Pumpkin Party: 10:30-11:30 am at Whole Foods Market | Join other mini sprouts as we make food fun in this culinary class designed for toddlers and preschoolers. This hands-on and interactive class will give children the confidence to try new foods. We will prepare some fun and healthy recipes using PUMPKIN and read “Pumpkin Soup” by Helen Cooper. Parents or caregivers are encouraged to participate or watch (they attend free with student ticket). Includes recipe packet and coloring sheets to take home. Designed for ages 2-6. Tickets are $15.
October 22: Halloween Mystery Hike: 6-8 pm at Mirror Lake State Park, Baraboo | Join the State Park Staff and the Friends of Mirror Lake for a fun family evening at the park as we locate clues along the easy 1 mile trail lit to help find out who is our Mystery Guest. When you are not out on the trail you can enjoy some time around the bonfires along with some food and beverages that the Friends will have for sale as a fundraiser. Free, but park vehicle sticker required.
October 22: Fall Family Fun with The Aldo Leopold Nature Center: 9:30 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | Celebrate and explore autumn with DreamBank and the Aldo Leopold Nature Center! We’ll be making prairie seed balls, leaf rubbings, and learning about how animals migrate and prepare for winter. Bring your curiosity and love for the great outdoors!
October 22-23: Llama Farm Open House: 4 pm at Stone Crest Llamas, Ft. Atkinson | Stone Crest llamas is a unique place for you and your family to get up close to llamas, goats and other animals. Feed them treats while learning more about the care and fiber they produce. We will be demonstrating spinning, carding and felting. A variety of fiber products including socks, yarn, blankets, dryer balls, hats and much more will be available for purchase.
October 26: Halloween at Overture: Rotunda Lobby | All ages, free. Get your photo taken in costume and grab some Halloween treats in the Rotunda Lobby. While you’re there, make your way down to the Rotunda stage for some magic with a spooky twist! Presented as part of the Downtown Madison Family Halloween.
October 26: Mini Sprouts Culinary Class: Monster Mash: 9:45-10:30 am at DreamBank | Join other mini sprouts as we make food fun in this culinary snack class designed for toddlers and preschoolers. This hands-on and interactive class will give children the confidence to try new foods. We will prepare a fun and healthy MONSTER snack perfect for fall and read “The Monster at the End of This Book” by Jon Stone. This 45 minute class is a great introduction to culinary classes. Parents or caregiver are encouraged to participate or watch (they attend free with student ticket). Includes recipe packet and coloring sheets to take home. Designed for ages 2-6. Tickets are $10.
October 26: Family Halloween: 3-6 pm on the Capitol Square & State Street | Special Kids in the Rotunda magic shows and festive Halloween photos at Overture Center, Madison Parks Hay Rides around the Capitol Square, crafts, spooky stories, art projects, stories and songs, trick or treat at participating businesses, and more.
October 26: Downtown Trick or Treating: 3-6 pm at DreamBank | DreamBank is all decked out and ready for Downtown Madison Family Halloween! Gather the little ones, don your costumes, and get in the spirit of trick-or-treating by designing your very own candy bag at our crafting workshop. Frightening, creepy, crawly, spooky and silly – no matter how you decorate it, these bags are the perfect place to collect your sweets as you tour the haunts of the neighborhood. We’ll provide the supplies – you bring your silly side and get ready to craft!
October 26: Family Halloween!: 3-6 pm at Revel | We will be handing out treats as part of the downtown trick-or-treating. And while supplies last, each kid can decorate a mini pumpkin. Event and craft is FREE.
October 28: Fall Fest: 5:30-7:30 pm at Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Monona | FREE for Members; $50/family for non-members – includes an annual family membership. Join us for a fun-filled evening of indoor and outdoor activities with your family as we celebrate the “Creatures of the Night” in not-so-scary style! Come dressed in costume and join in the costume parade!
October 28-29: Kindred Kids Resale: Comfort Inn & Suites, DeForest | See website for event details.
October 29: BooFest: 10am-2pm at Festival Foods, Madison | FREE; This super fun event offers costumed kids the opportunity to trick-or-treat at stations around the store. Associates across the store just love dressing up in costume and many departments take time to plan out their theme and get really creative. Don’t be surprised if a flamingo waits on you in the deli or a cowgirl checks out your groceries while a clown is bagging them.
Parents can think of Boofest as a warm-up for kids under 8 to the ‘real’ trick-or-treating that comes a few days later. Fest Foods offer activities and treats for kids at stations across our stores. Kids also can pick up snacks, decorate cookies or even get some non-food items. They’ll be offering teal pumpkin stations again this year. These are stations set up especially for kids with food allergies as part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, which offers kids non-food options, such as stickers, whistles, bracelets and pencils!
October 29: Sprouting Chefs: Frights & Bites: 10:30-11:45 am at Whole Foods Market | Join other sprouting chefs as we make healthy food fun and learn kitchen skills in this culinary class designed for kids. This hands-on and interactive class is a perfect chance for kids to express themselves and their creativity through food. We will prepare some frightful and delightful recipes and read What Was I Scared Of by Dr. Seuss. Includes a recipe packet and a treat to take home. Parents or caregivers are encouraged to participate or watch (attend free with student). Designed for ages 4-12. The perfect way to get ready for Halloween! Tickets are $18.
October 29: Family Event-Spook-tacular Halloween Bash: 9:30 am – 12 pm at DreamBank | Get ready to rule trick-or-treating by designing your very own candy bag at DreamBank! Creepy, crawly, spooky or silly — no matter how you decorate it, these bags are the coolest way to collect your sweets. Our spook-tacular party is the perfect place to show off your Halloween costume too, so come dressed to impress! We’ll provide the supplies — you just come ready to craft, create and celebrate.
October 29: 4th Annual Tractors Trunks and Treats: 11 am – 3 pm at Fairgrounds Sauk County, Baraboo | Trick or Treating will be 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Games, rides, food, etc. 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.
October 29-30: Haunted Hustle | See website for event details.
October 29-31: Hilldale-O-Ween: Hilldale Shopping Center | See website for event details.
October 30: Halloween at the Zoo: 9:30 am – 3 pm at Henry Vilas Zoo | Dress up as your favorite goblin, ghoul or witch and head to the Zoo for a safe alternative to trick or treating. Halloween at the Zoo is a celebration for the entire community that includes free trick-or-treating, a fun activity tent, and much more!
October 31: Baby’s First Halloween: 9:30-11 am at the Madison Children’s Museum | Join us for a Halloween party for our youngest visitors! Visit our photo booth to join our costume contest, dance to some live music from 10-10:30 a.m., and then join us for a costume parade through the exhibit galleries at 10:30 a.m.
Kids in the Rotunda – Free shows for kids and families at the Overture Center. See website for times and schedule.
ZOOvies – 7 pm at the Henry Vilas Zoo | Grab some popcorn, set up a blanket on the lawn, and enjoy a movie on the big screen! Gates open at 7 pm and the movie will start between 7:15 and 7:30. See website for schedule.
Badger Bash Tailgate Party: September 12, 19, 26, October 3, 17, 31, November 21 at Union South – Just steps from Camp Randall at Union South. This is a free and family-friendly event that features live entertainment, appearances by the UW Band and Bucky Badger, activities for kids and more. You can also tailgate prior to the games at the Engineering Mall (1415 Engineering Drive) on campus. See website for full details. You can also tailgate prior to the games at the Engineering Mall (1415 Engineering Drive) on campus. This is also family friendly and features live entertainment, appearances by the UW Band and Bucky Badger, activities for kids and more.
Monday Night Kid Music with David Landau – 5:30- 6:15 at the Harmony Bar and Grill | Fun for kids 2 to 8 and totally tolerable for parents of any age! Cover – $3.
The Lunchtime Show with David Landau – 11:30 am – 12 pm at McFarland House Cafe | There is a cover charge of $5.00 per kid for this show. Adults, babies, and babysitters are free of charge.
Public Skate – Public Skates offered at both Madison Ice Arena (MIA) and Hartmeyer Ice Arena (HIA). Adults: $5 Children/Students/Seniors: $3 Skate Rental: $3. See website for schedules.
Eugster’s Fall Festival/Fall Weekends – Saturday and Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm. $10 per person (Age 1 & under are free). Last ticked sold at 3:30 pm. Admission includes Eugster’s Petting Farm, U-Pick Apple Orchard, Corn Mazes, Haunted House, Wagon Rides, Pumpkin Patch, Milk House Cafe, Puppet Shows, and Magic Shows. (Click here for information on fall weekdays.)
UW-Arboretum Family Walks – See website for dates and details.
Car Seat Checks – The goal of the Safe Kids Injury Prevention Program is to help educate families on safety and injury prevention. A large component of our work is providing safety information and services to our Dane County communities. Car seat checks are available throughout the Madison area, see website for dates and locations. Appointments are required for car seat checks. You can make an appointment by calling (608) 890-8999 or e-mail [email protected].
Toddler Story & Stroll – Learn and play with your youngster in this fun, hands-on series that focuses on nature and the seasonal changes of spring. Classes include a story, a stroll through the outdoor gardens, and theme-related activities designed for you and your preschooler to spend quality time together. Sign up for one class or the entire series. Ages 2-4 with an adult. Limited space; register early!
Bird and Nature Walks – 1:30-3 pm at various Madison parks – Free, family-friendly Bird and Nature Walks are offered year-round on Sunday afternoons 1:30-3:00 pm by Madison Parks and FUN: Friends of Urban Nature partner groups. Join the FUN!
Kids & Pets Storytime – Animart Pet Store – 10:30 am – 11 am weekly on Tuesdays. Read with the Story Time Pet of the Week. A fun event for parents and children. Admission is $1.89 + tax per child.
Museum Storytime – UW Madison Geology Museum – 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month at 10:30 am. Museum storytime is geared toward preschool-aged children and each week features a book, museum specimens and a craft to take home. No reservations required, except for groups larger than 10. Free.
Open Art Studio – Use the Monroe Street Arts Center studio as your own! Work on a self-directed project under the guidance of an experienced art teacher. We will provide all of the art materials and one planned project per class to get you started. This is a drop-in class, but please call ahead to hold a spot, 608.232.1510. Cost is $12 per class or $48 for 5 classes with an Open Art Studio Pass.
The Crafty Project – The Crafty Project does monthly Kiddo Crafty Events at their creative studio. Additionally, The Crafty Project studio is a fabulous location for mom’s to get together and have a night out and create. They have a fun schedule of classes and offer private events.
Mommy & Me Hour – 10 am Tuesdays at Nicki’s Diapers. Join us for the NEW Mommy & Me Hour at the Nicki’s Diapers Madison Retail Store! Each week we will have a topic to discuss in an informal, friendly environment.
Mother Baby Hour – Located at the Meriter Business Center-See website for various days/times. Mother Baby Hour is a time for moms and their babies to get together to ask questions, express concerns, learn about resources and share stories. A Registered Nurse/Community Educator facilitates the groups and offers a weekly topic. Join us as early as the first week after your baby is born!