(Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

By Heather Wampler

For many families Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness and reflection. Of course if you’re the one hosting dinner, having a house full of relatives can be nerve wracking. There’s nothing worse than having your mom telling you how to roast your turkey as your cousin’s three kids all under the age of six run around your kitchen. That’s usually when the host begins racking their brains for something to keep everyone occupied or something to get them all out of the house until dinner is ready. That’s where we come in.

(Photo credit: Thinkstock.com)

21st annual PNC YMCA Turkey Trot

PNC Park
115 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA
(412) 227-6428
Hours: Begins at 8:30 a.m.
Price: $15 to $35
Website: www.active.com/running

If you think ahead, before anyone even steps foot in your kitchen, you can ship them off to the 21st annual PNC YMCA Turkey Trot. They have three different races this year to choose from and remember it goes to a good cause! You can wake your slumbering household bright and early and boot them out for the day to do-good in the Steel City. Even if they don’t want to participate in the Turkey Trot they can always go and spectate. There’s nothing more fun than cheering on those cheery runners who use their athletic ability to help others. The 1-Mile begins at 8:30 am, 5K and 5-Mile at 9:00 AM. The registration deadline for this year’s Turkey Trot is Sunday, November 20, 2011 @ 8:59 PM PST. Fee: $15-$30 through November 4th, $15-$35 after.

(Photo credit: KDKA)

The Rink At PPG Place

4 PPG Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 394-3641 (in-season)
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. & 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun – Noon to 8 p.m.
Price: Adults $7, Children and seniors $6, Skate Rentals $3
Reviews, Directions & More Info
Website: www.ppgplace.com/rink

Whether you’re 4 or 40 the Rink at PPG Place is a blast and a great way to work off all that turkey and taters you ate. I’m not a huge fan of skating, but when I see the tree lit up, the cold air nipping at your nose and the hot cocoa stand is going, I can’t help but get in the mood to lace up some skates and take a few laps around Pittsburgh’s Christmas tree.

(Photo credit: KDKA)

Downtown Pittsburgh Celebration Parade

Pittsburgh, PA
November 26, 9:00 a.m.
Website: www.pittsburgh-downtown.com

Probably the most fun thing a family can do in November is see Pittsburgh’s Holiday Celebration Parade. It will be held on Saturday, November 26, 2011 starting at 9:00 am. Pack up the kids and head downtown to enjoy the festivities. There will be High School Marching Bands, fabulous holiday floats, our own local celebrities and then the center piece. No, not Tom Turkey, but the jolliest man ever, Santa Claus. It’s the perfect way for families to bond and kick off the beginning of the Holiday season. The parade begins at Mellon Arena traveling down Fifth Avenue, and ending at Point State Park.

Phipps Conservatory

One Schenley Park
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 622-6914
Hours: Daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays until 10 p.m. Close on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
Price: Members are Free, Adults $12, Seniors $11, Students $11, Children 2 to 18 years old $9
Website: http://phipps.conservatory.org/

Phipps Conservatory is the beautiful botanical garden located in Schenley Park by Pitt’s Oakland campus. It has been welcoming guests through its doors since 1893. They do a remarkable holiday exhibit that includes evergreens that are lit with tens of thousands of LED lights, almost 2,000 poinsettias in different varieties. This year is a Nutcracker theme, winter wonderland snow scene, a land of sweets and a miniature garden railroad. This is one of those Holiday activities that the entire family can enjoy. It gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling inside when everything holiday comes out to play.

Heather is a mom and blogger living in Pittsburgh with her husband and twin boys. You can find more of her writing at www.thepittsburghhousewife.wordpress.com..

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