Fall has officially arrived in McKinney, Texas … and with that comes the promise of many fun family activities. Many business owners on the downtown square are already decking-out their shops with fall colors and some of the windows are so festive with autumn and Halloween themes. (The main picture is but a sampling of the color that awaits you on the square. More decorations will be appearing around downtown in the coming weeks.)
The month of October gets a roaring kick off with the Oct. 1 opening of the annual Dinosaurs Live! exhibit at the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. We grabbed the camera and ran out to The Heard to snap a few pictures of the dinosaurs last week as they made their grand entrance via18-wheeler flat-bed. They’ve spent the past week finding the right spot to settle in along the nature trails for their four-month stay among the trees, grasslands and wildlife. They roar, they move, and a couple even spit. (It’s easy to find these, as groups of kids often gather in front of them, waiting to be sprayed by the ferocious beasts!)
Also at The Heard this month:
- Night Hike (Oct. 15) – Grab a flashlight and venture out on the nature trails at night. You’ll hear and see, if you’re lucky, some of the nocturnal wildlife that calls The Heard home. Reservations are required. Also on Oct. 15: Free Visitor Day, National Fossil Day celebration & the opening of “Animal Superheroes” Exhibit.
- Halloween at the Heard (Oct. 22) – The kids will love trick-or-treating by flashlight on the nature trails, stopping at the dinos to collect candy. Also scheduled: a costume contest, refreshments, Haunted Forest, and an outdoor movie! Reservations are required and it sells out FAST every year.
The City of McKinney presents some fall events as well, some for families and others more adult-oriented, including:
- Family Fall Festival (Oct. 23, 6-10 p.m.) – This event at the Community Center on Central Expressway just south of Towne Lake features games and activities for families as well as an outdoor movie (“How to Train Your Dragon”) from 8-10 p.m. Registration is required. $5 per person. 972-547-2690.
- Scare on the Square (Oct. 31, 4-6 p.m.) – The downtown square is closed off to allow children to trick-or-treat at the downtown shops, participate in a costume contest, visit with the McKinney Fire Department McTown Klownz (who perform at 6:30 p.m. in a free show at MPAC after this event), and more.
- Rocky Horror Picture Show (Oct. 29, 11 p.m) – The adults can enjoy some kid-free Halloween fun, too, as they rock along with this cult-classic. Bring your water guns, newspapers, toast, rice and more, or buy your Rocky Horror Kit when you buy your movie ticket. At the McKinney Performing Arts Center, 111 N. Tennessee. 214-544-4630.
- Also at MPAC in October: Daddy’s Dying, Who’s Got the Will? (McKinney Repertory Theater, Oct. 1, 7-9); Girl Talk: A Girls Night Musical (Oct. 15); Stars Go Dim Concert (Oct. 23); The Murderous Mansion of Dr. Uno (MRT Young Actor’s Guild, Oct. 21-23); and McTown Klownz (Oct. 31)
Over at Chestnut Square Historic Village, enjoy the following family-friendly events:
- Farmers Market: October is the last month of the weekly Farmers Market (Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon through Oct. 29), with the final market featuring a pumpkin patch and more fun, including adorable Collin and McKinney, two baby goats currently living at Chestnut Square.
- Legends of McKinney Ghost Walk (Oct. 22 & 29): Learn about McKinney’s ghostly legends on a self-guided tour through McKinney’s purported haunted locales, including this year’s addition of a haunted trolley ride to Pecan Grove Cemetery (additional fee applies). Also see findings from TEXPART (Texas Paranormal Research) at MPAC, and hear ghost stories told by Civil War re-enactors.
- 4th Annual Ghouls on the Lawn (Oct. 23): While this event isn’t actually at MPAC, it is presented by the McKinney Performing Arts Center at McKinney’s Tucker Hill and features trick-or-treating (5-7 p.m. only), haunted graveyard, ghost stories, pumpkin painting, magic show, hayride, petting zoo, and a live performance of Harry Potter’s “Dance of the Dementors”!
Music fills the air in October, too, and not only in the music and downtown wineries every weekend and on Second Saturday:
- Music Under the Stars (Oct. 22): Wales Manor Vineyard and Winery again welcomes Jon Christopher Davis and friends for the filming of an episiode of the new TV show, “Troubadour Texas.” (Details to come on the Wales Manor website.)
- Music In Motion (Oct. 28-29): This two-day festival will feature a wide range of musical groups as well as promoting all the live-music venues now entertaining visitors and residents. While the musicians make their music, a slew of McKinney artists will also be on-hand to demonstrate and who their art. (This event is the first venture of the newly-established Arts & Music Guild of McKinney.) Details to come on their website.
This event list may look extensive, but our website calendar is full of many others, including art classes, FFA shows, garden workshops, and more! As always, check VisitMcKinney.com and the Destination McKinney Texas Facebook page for more event information.
And if you don’t have our Smartphone app yet (for iPhone, iPad or Android) by all means, go HERE now and get it! You’ll be glad you did.