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    Visit Bernheim Forest this fall for daytime play or nighttime star watches and h
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    When it's warm and sunny outside, opportunities abound for fun activities with your family. Once the chill sets in, however, planning weekend jaunts becomes a little harder. Earlier this week when my kids were out of school, we drove south down I-65 to one the area's best destinations: Bernheim Forest. Of course enjoying this arboretum and research forest is a no-brainer in the spring and summer months, but I discovered that Bernheim hosts some great events for these late fall days as well.

    When you pull into the Visitor's Center, you'll immediately be struck by the twine and bark entanglement that artist Patrick Dougherty calls Snake Hollow. If you haven't yet seen this whirling masterpiece, mark your calendar to do so as soon as possible. It's that amazing. It's a living, changing work of art, and while I stood awestruck, swiftly snapping pictures as the leaves fell and became stuck in the wooden walls, my children literally bounded from the van, racing to play in the structure. Like snakes in an underground hollow (as the title suggests), or bunnies in their subterranean maze (as I prefer to think of my little critters), your children will happily play and explore their way through this beloved sculpture. 

    We also enjoyed some small hikes, still able to see the remaining fall color in the forest. Canopy Tree Walk's long overlook provided some great views of the stubborn brown and orange leaves and previewed the stark, barren trees that will be ever-present come December. But there's beauty in the quiet and stillness of late fall and early winter, and some upcoming events would provide some great opportunities to experience Bernheim:

    • Saturday, November 10: Fall Star Stories and Sky Watch Night, 6:30-8:30 (members $10, non-members $12)
    • Saturday, November 17: ECO Kids Discovery Day, 9:00-5:00, various activities (FREE)
    • Wednesday, November 28: Full "Frost" Moon Night Hike, 6:00-7:30 pm (members $10, non-members $12)

    My son is interested in stars and constellations. But when I look up, I don't have much new information to give him. I think the night events sound like something he and I would both enjoy, as there's something special about the brilliant night sky on a cool night. And when you're in Bernheim Forest—only 30 miles away from Louisville—you feel a million miles away. That can be a good thing.

    Photos: Anna Frye

    Anna Frye's picture

    About Anna Frye

    After living in Chicago, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Colorado, my husband and I made our (hopefully? probably?) final move back to Louisville, where I was born and raised.'s nice to be home. Now I'm busy making sure my three little ones learn to love the quirks and traditions of their new hometown: Kentucky Derby Festival, no school on Oaks Day, grits and hot browns (not necessarily together), monograms, parks, festivals, and even our seasonal allergies.

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