Thanksgiving 1994. Having recently moved to San Diego, my husband, toddler and I didn’t have any plans for the day. When recent acquaintances asked us to accompany them to the Wild Animal Park, we jumped at the chance to do something social and different.

What a fabulous day we had!

The park was open but quite deserted, as most people stayed at home slaving over their turkeys and pumpkin pies.

It was a beautiful day, our son had a blast, and when we got home in the evening, we made mac ’n’ cheese for dinner (his favorite) and went to bed early.

Our tradition? Not to have the traditional Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings.

In the years since, we have gone on family hikes, made lasagna or deep-fried a turkey.

Whatever we want to do, we do. If it gets us out of the house and doing something different, so much the better!

I love the looks we get from people when we tell them we had KFC on the trail following a nice long hike in the woods.

Last year we had the woods all to ourselves, and our boys climbed trees and played on the playground.

Fun, relaxing family time — and not a dish had to be washed!

Kathleen MacDonald,


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