Thanksgiving is about more than just a turkey dinner; it’s about celebrating the season with family and friends. There are plenty of Thanksgiving activities around Los Angeles to bring you and your loved ones together, from learning about native cultures to doing volunteer work. And once you’ve eaten your feast, you don’t need sit around feeling lethargic. You can bring the whole family out to run off all of that turkey and stuffing at one of the many Turkey Trots around L.A. Here’s a sampling of what’s out there:
Native American Heritage Month Celebration
The Autry Museum in Griffith Park
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462
Take the whole family to honor the culture, contributions, and heritage of Native Americans by learning something about the history and traditions of some of the first Americans. Try your hand at panning for gold; then enjoy story time, music from the Old West, and a Native American craft activity.
11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Free to museum members
Students with ID and seniors (age 60 and up): $6
Children 3-12: $4
Children under 3: Free
Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres Celebration FOR the Turkeys
5200 Escondido Canyon Road
Acton, CA 93510
Turkeys will be honored, not eaten, at this farm animal sanctuary event. Guests will have the chance to visit with the cattle, pigs, goats, sheep and other animals that call Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres home. At the 3:00 PM Feeding of the Turkeys Ceremony, the honored birds will dine on their favorite holiday treats: stuffed squash, pumpkin pie and cranberries.
2:00 to 5:00 PM
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
1855 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA
A free Thanksgiving dinner to all comers is just one facet of this community gathering; the event also includes basic medical consultations and eye exams, clothing distribution, haircuts, and a childrens’ carnival. Last year 1,200 volunteers served 2,500 meals. There are a multitude of volunteer opportunities available, even for kids (accompanied by adults). Donations of money or goods are also being accepted.
11:00 AM to 3:00 PM dinner
Numerous volunteer shifts before and after the event
Aquarium of the Pacific Thanksgiving Buffet
100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802
Take the stress out of Thanksgiving Day and go enjoy it with the fish. Sit down to a Thanksgiving buffet with all the trimmings in the Aquarium’s Café Scuba, and then stroll through the galleries to meet over 11,000 animals. Watch as the Aquarium’s animals gobble up their food during the daily feeding shows at the Sea Otter Habitat, Tropical Reef exhibit, Seal & Sea Lion Habitat, Shark Lagoon, and the Blue Cavern Habitat.
11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Adults: $35 ($25 for Aquarium members)
Child (3-11): $27 ($17 for Aquarium members)
Aquarium admission is included in the price.
World Vegan Day LA Thanksgiving Potluck Picnic
Cheviot Hills Park/Rancho Park
2551 Motor Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Calling itself L.A.’s longest-running single-day vegan tradition, World Vegan Day LA will host a come-one, come-all vegan potluck picnic on Thanksgiving Day. No RSVP necessary; just come with a labeled dish to share and any musical instruments or sports equipment for park play. To find the group, go south on Motor Avenue, make a right into the very first entrance, drive all the way back and park, then walk to the picnic tables across the grass. There will be an “opening circle” at noon, and then the feast will begin.
Turkey Night Grand Prix
Toyota Speedway at Irwindale
500 Speedway Drive
Irwindale, California 91706
Rev up your engines and head over to the Turkey Night Grand Prix to watch USAC Midgets, USAC Sprints and K&N Ford Focus Midgets racing on Toyota Speedway’s half-mile asphalt track. This race, a Southern California tradition since 1934, has been called the “Indy 500 for USAC Midgets.”
4:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Reserved seats: $35
General admission: $20
Santa Monica Gobble Wobble
Emerson Park, at the intersection of Lincoln and Wilshire
1150 Lincoln Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Feeling a little wobbly after all that turkey? Bring the family over to Santa Monica for the Santa Monica Gobble Wobble, a 5k Turkey Trot , and the Widdle Wobble, a 1K dash for kids 10 and under. Events include a costume contest, music and pre- and post-race festivities. Participants are encouraged to bring a can of food to the race to benefit Westside Food Bank. For a list of other Turkey Trot events in the area, click here.
6:30 AM to 11:00 AM
Adults: $35 ($40 on race day)
Children 11-17: $25 ($25 on race day)
Children 10 and under: $15 ($20 on race day)
Jeanne Ponessa Fratello blogs about kids’ nutrition at the Jolly Tomato (http://www.jollytomato.com): and about L.A. South Bay events and attractions at South Bay Sparkle (http://www.southbaysparkle.com).