The Thanksgiving holiday weekend encompasses more than just turkey and football games on TV. Kids will be getting restless and want some outside time. Parents are looking for ways to keep brains stimulated. With a little planning, the whole family can enjoy some exercise to work off the extra slice of pumpkin pie and also keep the kids thinking about local history.
Here are some activities for these purposes in the capital region this weekend:
• Thanksgiving at the Farm at the Farmers Museum in Cooperstown. Experience Thanksgiving traditions of the past during a special two-day event. Discover how rural New Yorkers typically celebrated Thanksgiving in the 1840s. See traditional Thanksgiving foods prepared over the open hearth at the rustic Lippitt Farmhouse. Look in on the heritage-breed turkeys of all ages: poults, teenagers, hens and toms. See their unusual turkey house and its historic wattle design. Learn about unusual 19th century digestive medicines as they are created at Dr. Thrall’s Pharmacy. See the blacksmith create kitchen utensils used in the 1840s. Ride the Empire State Carousel, or just enjoy a peaceful walk around the museum’s historic village. Beautiful holiday items and greeting cards are in stock at The Farmers’ Museum Store. Original and reproduction 19th-century products such as ceramics, glassware, band boxes, tinware, brooms, candles, soaps, candies, toys and games can all be found in Todd’s General Store in the museum’s Historic Village. Stop by the Crossroads Café, located next to Bump Tavern, for fresh homemade soups and chili, hot drinks, and freshly baked goodies.
• Free ice skating at the rink at Empire State Plaza. Skating is free. There is no fee for skate rental on Friday (sponsored by Hannaford). Skates can be rented for a very reasonable fee other days. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. All ages are welcome. Enjoy ice skating throughout the winter months in downtown Albany. Free rentals continue on Fridays and there will be free skate clinics selected Saturdays.
• Cut your own Christmas tree. It’s not too early to start looking for the perfect tree. November & December are times of contrast: The gray days outside herald the coming of the holidays, so and thoughts turn to making homes warm and cozy inside. The greater capital region has many tree farms to check out. Even if you aren’t thinking of cutting a tree just yet, visit one or two and start searching. Many locations offer additional holiday decorations, wreaths, and other delights.
• The New York State Museum in Albany has several educational exhibits in place about the history and culture of upstate New York. Seneca Ray Stoddard: Capturing the Adirondacks is one of them. Appreciation of the Adirondacks is derived from the area’s obvious natural beauty. That perception has also been influenced by the descriptions and practices of the many 19th-century tourists who came to visit the landscape. Seneca Ray Stoddard was a leading figure in inspiring people, through his photographs and writings, to visit the Adirondacks in the post-Civil War era. His work captured how people came and what they did to make the Adirondacks a sought-after destination.
• Focus on Nature XII is also on exhibit at the New York State Museum. Focus on Nature XII is a juried exhibition of natural and cultural history illustration that features artwork from around the world. Artists depict biological, geological, and archeological subjects using a wide range of media, from traditional watercolor to recently developed digital techniques. The basis for selection of these works is scientific accuracy, technical skill, aesthetic qualities, and originality. The 12th biennial exhibition highlights illustration as a means of communicating scientific and artistic observation. Focus on Nature XII includes the work of 72 artists from 15 countries.
• Capital Holiday Lights. The 15th Annual Celebration welcomes visitors to drive-thru November 25, 2011-January, 2, 2011 in Washington Park, Albany, NY. At the end of your drive through the Lights, join your favorite reindeer and friends at the Lake House for crafts and refreshments. Santa will be there through Dec. 23 to hear the holiday wishes of the little ones. Hours are Sundays through Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 10 p.m. Admission prices are $15.00 per car; $25.00 per limousine or 15-passenger van, and $75.00 per bus, with all proceeds benefiting the youth programming of Albany PAL. Discount coupons for $5.00 off admission on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings are available exclusively at Hannaford stores in the Capital Region.
• Quick Response Restoration in Clifton Park, NY. Lights are on November 24, 2011-January 4, 2012. The 11th Annual Santa’s Play Land Open House will take place on Friday, December 9th and Saturday, December 10th from 5:30- 9pm with a cancellation date of Saturday Dec, 17th. Free and fun event for the whole family. The location is on Route 9 just north of Exit 10 on Interstate 87.
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