Most holidays revolve around food or drink in some fashion, and Thanksgiving these days pretty much is food and drink. If you want to expand your holiday horizons rather than your waistline, here are some fun Thanksgiving-related events happening in — and outside of — Austin.
Thanksgiving crafts and competitions
November 25-26 at Hyatt Lost Pines Resort
Make Thanksgiving arts and crafts, including cards and turkey buttons, at 11 am and 2 pm in the Pecan Canopy on Tuesday and get your gobble on at a turkey call competition, same place and times on Wednesday. This 405-acre resort on the Colorado River adjacent to the 1,100-acre McKinney Roughs Nature Park offers a plethora of activities including kayaking, sunset raft trips, horseback riding, archery, trap shooting, birding, hiking, spa, golf, fine dining and live music throughout the week.
2014 Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot
November 27 at the Long Center for the Performing Arts
This will be the 24th year for this Turkey Day fundraiser. The Kids’ 1K starts at 8:45 am, a five-mile run or walk starts at 9:30 am, and a one-mile walk at 9:45 am. There’s no need to run or walk if you want to pitch in — volunteers are needed as well. Last year’s Turkey Trot raised $325,000 for Caritas of Austin. You can register or sign up to volunteer online: Kids’ K is $8, one-mile walk is $20, five-mile run/walk un-timed is $25, timed is $30.
Turkey Trot with a ranger
November 27 at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Join a ranger for a 1-mile round-trip hike to the summit, a 3-mile jog on the lower trails or a 5-mile run on the Loop Trail. Fresh air, beautiful scenery and exercise — now that’s plenty of reasons to give thanks. Reservations are required for the run. Post-trot goodies will be provided by The Friends of Enchanted Rock, and a $10 donation to the Friends is suggested. Bring appropriate footwear and a reusable water bottle. $7 park entry fee.
Pedal off the Pie
November 28 at Inks Lake State Park
At this wooded park on the banks of tranquil Inks Lake, join park rangers at the Pecan Flats trailhead for a bicycle trail ride 2.5 miles to Pecan Flats and back. The pace will be leisurely and appropriate for all ages and experience, with stops along the way to point out natural features of the landscape. Those who want to ride off more pie can make a loop through the park. Program is free, $6 entrance fee for adults (children under age 12 free).
River Place Nature Trail hike
November 28 at River Place Nature Trail
Hike off the Thanksgiving calories on “nature’s stairmaster” with Hill Country Outdoors. The trail includes several segments, some with rough terrain and major elevation changes, offering a stairmaster-like workout with great scenery and views. Hill Country Outdoors is a member organization that offers outdoor, sporting and social events every week. Many activities are aimed at beginners in order to introduce people to new adventures. Most are also members-only, but the club also offers plenty of activities open to anyone. This is one of those, and it's free.
North Pole Flyer
November 28 - December 21
Better than shopping on Black Friday, get in the sprit for the next big holiday by hopping aboard the Austin Steam Train’s North Pole Flyer. Every one of the vintage train cars is decorated and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on board with a gift and Christmas cookie for each child and hot chocolate for everyone. The trip lasts about two hours and all events take place on board the train. The Flyer runs twice each Saturday through December 21. Tickets from $32-$47 each.
Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center tour
The weekend after Thanksgiving is a particularly good time to explore this unique Texas Hill Country nature preserve in southwest Travis County and be glad we have such places. Guides lead visitors from an arid savannah through a limestone crevice into a sheltered canyon of lush plant life and a stunning 40-foot waterfall replenishing the emerald pool below. The tour includes access to the uplands trail system so you can walk off some of that pie. $10 adults, $5 children.
Pedaling tour at Bastrop State Park
Burn off calories, enjoy the scenery and learn some history on this guided bike tour of Bastrop State Park’s historic 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps-built structures, including trails, cabins, dining halls and water fountains. The CCC connection earned Bastrop State Park designation as a National Historic Landmark. Most of the ride is on roads, with an easy, mostly flat, two-mile first half and a more difficult five-mile second half that begins at the original starting location. That makes it easy to leave after the first section if you like. $4 entrance fee.