Things to Do with Thanksgiving Visitors in Fairfield County

Recently, my daughter invited a friend home from school, and, as this new friend stepped inside our house and looked around appraisingly, she asked, "Is this the whole house?" 

So yes, our house might best be described as cozy. Though I think it suits our family perfectly, once you throw in some out of town guests and a stuffed bird or two, it starts to feel very crowded very quickly. Happily, there are many places close by in Fairfield County where the kids can get their sillies out while grown ups can chat or snap pictures or generally be thankful for one another's company whether at a road race, a turkey waddle, or a free family movie.

These are some of the ideas we've collected for Thanksgiving weekend. For more inspiration, check out the event calendar and Holiday Fun Guide, which we continue to update each day.

Turkey Trots
I am not a runner, but my husband is, so the fun, festive turkey-themed races across Fairfield County are a great way to start Thanksgiving day. Visiting runners will love the picturesque courses in Rowayton, Southport, and Redding on Thursday. On Saturday, the Cow Chip Cross Country Run and Greenwich Turkey Trot (among others) will provide ample family entertainment.

Nature Centers
As mentioned above, I am not a big runner, but I am an inveterate stroller, especially at parks and nature centers, and there are quite a few of these lovely spots offering special programs for the days after Thanksgiving: Earthplace and the New Canaan Nature Center have all scheduled drop-in activities on Saturday where you can learn a bit about the local ecology and take in some fresh air (there are some great photo ops at each so don't forget to bring your cameras). The Stamford Nature Center holds their last Sunday Explorer session of the fall on Sunday, and while you're there you can check out this year's Billion Bricks Exhibit: LEGO Superheroes in Gotham, which includes five famous architectural landmarks made completely out of LEGO brick.

Beaches, Parks, and Playgrounds
One of my favorite things about Connecticut is the proximity to the beach, and a stroll along a windswept coastline can be just the thing to inspire and entertain a cranky crew. Most of the beaches that require resident stickers or parking passes during the summer are open to non-residents (but note that most of the amenities at these locations--bathrooms, water fountains, etc.--will not be operational). We love Compo Beach in Westport, with a great playground right on the water; Cove Island Park in Stamford, which has a flat 1-mile loop, perfect for strolling; and Tod's Point in Greenwich, which has a long, wide beach that is wonderful for exploring at low tide.

Your children are probably going to be clamoring to see the new Disney epic Moana, but there are some other options--including a few that are totally free. While most libraries are closed on Friday, Wilton and Darien Libraries will be open and showing Finding Dory. The Maritime Aquarium will kick off their extended IMAX run of The Polar Express on Friday.

If your house is anything like mine, you won't even be done cleaning up from Thanksgiving before the kids start asking about Christmas. But that's okay because Christmas in Connecticut is a month-long affair and there are plenty of ways to start celebrating this weekend. If you're in the mood for a theatrical experience, the whole family will love Frosty the Snowman at the Downtown Cabaret Children's Theater or the second annual Hawleyville Fire Department Light Show, in which 40,000 lights are synchronized to music. If you're interested in visiting with the big man himself, Santa will arrive via fire truck at Sherman Green in Fairfield, along with his reindeer in Greenwich (at a new location this year!), and already in position for photos at Stamford Town Center and Danbury Fair.

Photo: Courtesy of the New Canaan Nature Center.


Rowayton Community Center
33 Highland Avenue
Rowayton, CT 06853

Wakeman Boys and Girls Club
385 Center St
Southport, CT 06890

Redding Elementary School
33 Lonetown Road
Redding, CT 06896

New Canaan Nature Center
144 Oenoke Ridge
New Canaan, CT 06840

10 Woodside Lane
Westport, CT 06880

Stamford Museum and Nature Center
39 Scofieldtown Rd
Stamford, CT 06903

Compo Beach
60 Compo Beach Road
Westport, CT 06880

Cove Island Park
1125 Cove Road
Stamford, CT 06902

Greenwich Point Park
Tod's Driftway
Greenwich, CT 06870

Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT 06897

Darien Library
1441 Post Road
Darien, CT 06820

Maritime Aquarium
10 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT 06854

Downtown Children's Cabaret Theater
263 Golden Hill Street
Bridgeport, CT 06604

Sherman Green
Intersection of Post Road and Reef Road
Fairfield, CT 06824

Stamford Town Center
100 Greyrock Place
Stamford, CT 06901

Danbury Fair Mall
7 Backus Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810

Sam Bridge Nursery
437 North Street
Greenwich, CT 06830
Annual Pirates Day Treasure Hunt
Lisman Landing Marina - 9:30 AM Pick
Access to Science
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University - 9:00 AM Pick
Fishing at Orchard Lake
Linvilla Orchard - 9:00 AM Pick
Donahue Park - 11:00 AM Pick
Black Lives Matter Family March
Prospect Park - 9th St. entrance - 4:30 PM Pick
Activity Guides