Charitable fun

Spread the kindness at the Doing Good Together Festival of Giving. The new community event brings local organizations together for activities focused on "giving back." Participate in hands-on service projects to benefit causes such as caring for animals, supporting new mothers and fostering literacy. Guests are asked to bring a new pair of socks for Simpson Housing Service. Multicultural performances include Kalpulli Ketzal Coatlicue and Duniya Drum & Dance. View a cooperative kindness art installation and enjoy food, plus kid-friendly activities. (Noon-4 p.m. Sept. 30. $5, $20 max per family. Nicollet Island Pavilion, Mpls.

Fall Color Express

Catch a glimpse of autumnal beauty on a cozy train ride. The Minnesota Transportation Museum's fall color train ride meanders through the picturesque St. Croix River Valley on a 90-minute trip. (Sept. 27-Oct. 30 in Osceola, Wis., $12-$20.

Nitro Circus

Travis Pastrana and his company of daredevils offer breathtaking tricks and stunts in a two-hour show featuring X Games medalists and Nitro World Games Champions in BMX, FMX, scooter and in-line skating. (7:30 p.m. Oct. 3, Target Center, Mpls., $43-$103,

Family-friendly frights

The Minnesota Zoo debuts its "Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular," a strolling exhibit. A trail with more than 5,000 carved and illuminated pumpkins of varying sizes with spooky and funny faces will be displayed from ground to treetops. (9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 4-31, Apple Valley, $12-$18,

'Sesame Street Live'

Residents from the happiest block on Earth return to St. Paul for a party. Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and the rest of the "Sesame Street" gang arrive with a pop-infused musical show to get kids and parents on their feet. The gang plans a party and learns the task is difficult when everyone has a different idea of what fun is. With a little help from the audience, the furry friends learn that friendship and teamwork can accomplish any task. (1 & 5 p.m. Oct. 7, $18+, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul,

'The Machine Inside'

The Year of the Engineer continues at the Science Museum of Minnesota with this hands-on exhibit, inviting guests to explore animals and plants as advanced bio-machines built for survival. Use real specimens, video footage and lifelike models to investigate the speed of cheetahs or how a Venus fly trap detects its next meal. The Omnitheater film "Living in the Age of Airplanes" reveals how air travel has changed the world. (Opens Oct. 12 in St. Paul, $12.95-$18.95,

Halloween haunt

Spine-chilling frights and scare-free fun await at the Trail of Terrors. More than a dozen attractions appease all tolerance levels of horror. Take on an infestation of zombies in the woods during a game of zombie paintball. During Phantom's Feast, dine on ghoulish delights and go on a ghost hunt at Bad Manor. (7 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Fri.-Sat.; 7-11 p.m. Sun. Oct. 12-28; $20.95-$23.95; extra charge for some attractions, Minnesota Renaissance Festival Grounds, Shako pee.

Apple Festival

Revel in the harvest of green and red juicy fruits. Take a hayride and participate in children's activities. Bear witness to the vibrant colors of fall along the river valley and learn about the habitats of local animal residents. Visit the apple shack and purchase sweet and crisp apples and apple-infused condiments and treats. (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 13-14, Hastings,

Fall on the farm

Wear your costumes for Boo Bash, a family-friendly outdoor event with crafts, activities and games. Meet the winged wonders from the Minnesota Raptor Center. Go on a wagon ride, sensory scavenger hunt and watch a puppet show. (1-3 p.m. Oct. 27, free, Breuntrup Farm, 2170 County Road D, Maplewood, ­

Cirque Du Soleil

"Corteo," meaning "cortège" in Italian, is a parade imagined by a clown and the newest arena production of the theatrical acrobatic company. The show bops back and forth from the mystical space between heaven and Earth as the clown imagines his own funeral in a carnivallike atmosphere. The show features 51 acrobats, actors and musicians. (7:30 p.m. Nov. 8-9; 3:30 & 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10; 1 & 5 p.m. Nov. 11, $45+, Target Center, Mpls.