As an appetite primer for your Thanksgiving feast, get outside and enjoy the cold, fresh air. This is easy to do, especially with the majestic mountain backdrop of Salt Lake City, Utah so accessible. And since Salt Lake, with its neighboring Wasatch Mountain Range, is a hotspot for recreational activities, adventure-centric families will have many choices. Participate in a turkey trot or hit the nearby ski slopes to make your holiday trip to Salt Lake both inspiring and unforgettable.
Ramp up your metabolism for a big Thanksgiving Day spread by burning a few calories for a good cause (while keeping your waistline in check, too). Utah Food Bank's Utah Human Race encourages people to "run with an attitude of gratitude" on Thanksgiving morning. For a quick jaunt, enter the 5K race; or go big and participate in the 10K. With approximately 5,500 participants, this is the state's largest run. Register online and then head to the Draper Spectrum for an early morning start.
Leave the cook(s) at home and take your kids to Hogle Zoo to watch zookeepers feed the animals a special Thanksgiving meal. Watch the animals stomp, play with, and dine on pumpkins and turkey-shaped piñatas. Then, create free Thanksgiving crafts at the Fresh Market booth and ogle over the giant pumpkins donated by members of the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers Association. Top it off with a brisk walk through the zoo to work out the kinks before festivities begin.
While Thanksgiving Day "turkey trot" races aren't hard to come by in northern Utah, the one at Cottonwood Heights claims to be the longest "running" Thanksgiving event in the metro area. This low-key, 5K race allows both strollers and dogs, has a 2000 entrant cap, and a participant category for kids. Stay after the race to enjoy awards and refreshments and to win prizes in the runner's raffle. And make sure to register by the deadline and pick up your packet the day before the race.
Nationwide, many families enjoy a day on the slopes before sitting down to a Thanksgiving meal. And, if Mother Nature cooperates, most Utah ski resorts will be open with plenty of snow. Take a short day trip to Park City Mountain Resort or enjoy a drive up Big or Little Cottonwood Canyons to ski or snowboard at Solitude Mountain Resort, Snowbird, or Brighton. Most resorts offer dining options, as well, including Thanksgiving dinner at three of the Snowbird's onsite restaurants (perfect for those who don't want to cook). A less-crowded option is Alta, an exclusive place to get freshies (skiers only; no snowboarders).
Mom might need a little "time out" while the turkey is in the oven. Luckily, many yoga studios in and around Salt Lake offer morning Thanksgiving classes themed around gratitude and detoxifying. A little bending, stretching, and breathing sets the stage of calmness before the crazy family vibe ignites. Or, use a yoga class to decompress after a running race or morning ski, then hit the hot tub before the big feed.