Meerkats at the Oregon Zoo play with a paper maiche "turkey" placed in their exhibit by their keeper. This is part of an enrichment program to break up the routine of the day and keep the animals engaged. On this day the theme was Thanksgiving.

If you’re looking for something a bit different from the usual turkey, football and pumpkin pies this weekend, how does papier-mâché turkeys filled to the brim with delectable delicacies, such as mealworms and crickets sound?

On second thought, if you’re just in the mood for a break from the relatives, head out to the Oregon Zoo and check the meerkats, black bears, sun bears and Amur tigers celebrate the holiday with the aforementioned culinary delights. Oh yea….did we mention that the zoo is FREE on Thanksgiving?!

The festivities begin at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 26. The meerkats will be the first to line up at the buffet table; the black bears receive their treats at 11 a.m. The enrichment activities begin for the sun bears and the Amur tigers at 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day (respectively).

If mealworms and crickets aren’t your cup-of-tea, the Oregon Zoo will also host the annual Turkey Trot, organized by Oregon Road Runners Club. The event includes a four-mile run and fitness walk, starting at 8 a.m., followed by a one-kilometer “Tot Trot” at 9:30 a.m.

So whether you’d like start your Turkey Day with some preemptive calorie burning or just enjoy viewing some truly thankful animals, the Oregon Zoo is a great place for everyone this Thanksgiving.

~Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Travel Oregon!

Editor’s Note: For a whole host of fun things to do with the family this Thanksgiving weekend in Oregon, including wine country happenings, check out our event calendar.

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