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Family Weekend

Family Weekend 2023 at SUNY ESFFamily Weekend 2023 at SUNY ESF

October 21 – 22, 2023

We hope to see you at Family Weekend! Join us for a full slate of awesome activities to connect with your student, explore our campus, and experience the beauty of fall!

To make this event a memorable and enjoyable experience for all, please note that every attendee, including students and their families, must purchase a ticket. We offer two ticket options:

Weekend Pass: This pass grants you access to all the exciting events and activities throughout the entire weekend both on the ESF Main Campus and at Heiberg Forest. It’s the perfect choice if you want to fully immerse yourself in the Fall Family Weekend experience.

One-Day Saturday Pass: If you can only join us for a single day, we offer a Saturday-only pass, which allows you to participate in all the ESF Main Campus Saturday festivities and activities.

We will provide a detailed schedule of tour times for our registrants as we get closer to the event. We look forward to welcoming you to our campus and can’t wait to celebrate this wonderful weekend with you!

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Helpful Information

Campus map 
Area lodging
Local dining

Accessibility Accommodations

Please indicate any need for accessibility accommodations by sending an
email to and we will make sure you’re all set. 

Photos from past Family Weekend events.
Photos from past Family Weekend events.

Schedule of Events

Family Weekend Check-In

8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Gateway Welcome Center  |  Check in to receive your ESF Family Weekend T-shirt, wristband, and schedule of events — and snag yourself some ESF swag while supplies last!

President’s Welcome Address

9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. 
Gateway Center  |  In this informative address, President Joanie Mahoney shares updates on the College’s achievements, goals, and vibrant campus community. You’ll also hear about the exciting initiatives underway at ESF and get a glimpse into the future of your student’s educational journey. Don’t miss out!

Enhancing Student Success, Together

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Gateway Center   |  Join us for a session that’s all about family-focused student affairs. Discover how our innovative approach to career services, counseling, and student engagement fosters a supportive and thriving educational environment at ESF and beyond. Learn how you as a student supporter can play a critical role in our collaboration.

Tie-Dye on the Quad

10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. 
ESF Quad Tent  |  Bring your Family Weekend T-shirt to participate in a long-standing ESF tradition of tie-dye!

ESF Student Artisan Market

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
Gateway Concourse  | Come check out hand-crafted goods from our amazingly talented students. Shop local at ESF – from jewelry and plants to posters and science decor too much more!

Family Photos

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Gateway Center/Quad | Grab your family and snap a selfie in front of our backdrop — props available for some fun shots!

Taste of CNY Food Truck Rodeo

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 
Campus Drive/Quad |  Enjoy lunch from these Syracuse-area food trucks: Oompa Loompya, Bowl Boss, Byblos, Via Napoli, Fair Deli, Ashley Lynn, and Calle Tropical. New this year is a beer/wine slushie truck! *Not included in the Family Weekend registration fee.

Special Event: Robert Channing, Mentalist & Hypnotist

3:30 p.m. 
Gateway Center  |  Prepare to be amazed as renowned mentalist Robert Channing showcases his incredible talents that will leave you in awe and make this weekend truly magical!

Birds of Prey  

11 a.m. – noon, 1 – 2 p.m., 2 – 3 p.m. 
Marshall Hall Auditorium  |  Come face-to-face with some exotic birds of prey and learn about the Page Wildlife Center!   

Journey Through Time: The ESF Historic Walk

11 a.m. – noon, 1 – 2 p.m., 2 – 3 p.m. 
Outside of Bray Hall  |  Take an historical walk around campus to learn about the deep roots of ESF, which dates all the way back to 1911. 
Guide: Kevin Reynolds (ESF archives volunteer).
*Rain or shine!      

Roosevelt Wild Life Collections

11 – 11:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. – noon, noon– 12:30 p.m., 1 – 1:30 p.m., 
1:30 – 2 p.m., 2 – 2:30 p.m.
Lower Level, Gateway Center |  Explore ESF’s modern working museum. Our fascinating specimens and their associated data help address scientific questions such as how species’ geographic ranges, physiology, and even diets have changed in response to habitat disturbance, disease, and climate change, helping us to better conserve species and their habitats.
 Host: Rebecca Rundell, Associate Professor/Head Curator, Roosevelt Wildlife Collections
*Limited to 10 people/time slot.

The Art and Science of Paper Making

Hourly, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Corner of the Quad near the stairs and walk to 102 Walters Hall  |  Paper has been handmade for thousands of years. Come try this ancient technique and make your own sheet of paper! Also, perform some destructive tests to see how much force it takes to crush, punch a hole into, and pull apart different kinds of paper. 
*Limited to 25 people.

Walking Tour of the Historic Oakwood Cemetery  

Noon – 1 p.m., 1 – 2 p.m.
Corner of the Quad between Bray Hall and Marshall Bridge  |  Visit the oldest sections of Oakwood Cemetery, which was established in 1859 and covers more than 160 acres with over 60,000 burials. Located directly behind ESF, Oakwood and serves as an unofficial living laboratory learning. 

Guide: Historian Sue Greenhagen of the Historic Oakwood Cemetery Preservation Association

Self-Guided ESF Tour  

10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Pick up a self-guided ESF tour map and visit some of the hidden gems of ESF. Visit our Illick Hall greenhouses, take a tour of the green roof in Gateway, and visit the newly renovated Marshall Hall.

ESF Pancake Breakfast

9:00 – 11:30 a.m.  Heiberg Forest (7393 Maple Ridge Rd, Tully, NY 13159)  |  Start your day with a warm and fluffy pancake breakfast featuring ESF’s very own maple syrup! Stack your plate with pancakes, sausage, juice, and coffee. Stick around to decorate a pumpkin or take a walking tour of the beautiful property just as the leaves are beginning to display their amazing fall colors.

Heiberg Forest: Return of the American Chestnut

11 a.m. – noon, noon – 1 p.m. A little over a century ago, the American chestnut tree, once one of the most abundant trees in the eastern forests of the United States, was devastated by the chestnut blight. After 25 years of research at ESF, American chestnut trees with enhanced blight resistance have been developed using the tools of biotechnology. See some of our trees and learn about the exciting journey of the American chestnut. 
*Space is limited 50 people per tour.  

Take a Hike

There are many beautiful hikes around Heiberg Forest. Once you have had your fill of our delicious pancakes, take in the sights and sounds of the forest on one of the three available walking trails

Feeling a bit more adventurous?

Check out some of the amazing hiking trails near Tully and take in the beautiful fall colors! Submit your family hiking photo to for a chance to be featured on the ESF Instagram page!


Want To Do More While You’re Here?

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ESF logo

Visit the ESF College Bookstore for the latest Mighty Oak gear.

We’re giving our families 10% off their purchase! Shop for all things ESF: sweatshirts, T-shirts, mugs, maple syrup, books, and so much more.

Open 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday.


Salt City Market logo

Indulge in the culinary diversity of Syracuse at the Salt City Market.

Try foods from different cultures at downtown Syracuse’s hottest food market. Experience regional and international cuisines that represent the diversity of the city. 


Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards logo

Pick apples and sample cider at America’s Best Orchard, Beak & Skiff.

Join us as we head over to Beak & Skiff, located about 30 minutes south of campus near Heiberg Forest.

Last Pick Your Own wagon goes out at 5 p.m. 


Syracuse Stage logo

Experience the soulful music of Billie Holiday at the Syracuse Stage.

Take in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” at the city’s theater to hear the story of the jazz-blues legend through her songs.


Fright Nights logo

Get your spook on at Fright Nights at the Fair.

If you’re brave enough, check out this one-of-a-kind haunted experience at the New York State Fairgrounds. 


Get Tickets Today!

Register Now