Houston, TX

Things To Do In SE Houston Thanksgiving Weekend 2022: An Atypical List

Mae A.

Vintage warbirds are on display at a hanger at the Lone Star Flight Museum near Ellington Airfield in Clear Lake City, SE Houston.Photo byPi3.124/Creative Commons via Wikimedia

The countdown to Thanksgiving is down to zero, and we’re chopping, slicing, and dicing like crazy, going for that last grocery run, pulling out gran’s special china, placing the centerpiece just so, greeting our loved ones with bear hugs even as we’re covered in flour, and we’re basting, basting, basting.

But – after the stove rush, the table crush, the carving of that beautifully prepared bird, the toasts, the spills, the jokes and jabs, and the dishes finally done and leftovers put away – got plans for the rest of the holiday?

How about skipping the shopping crush and the TV stupor for these fun-for-all activities in SE Houston that are a bit off the beaten track:

Go Flying at The Lone Star Flight Museum For aviation and history buffs, for the adventurous and the curious, this gem of a museum gives a whole new meaning to “hands-on experiences.” Dedicated to historically significant aircraft and artifacts, LSFM boasts that it is the only Houston museum with “flying exhibitions.” Visitors can book flights on vintage warbirds; The flights last about 45 minutes, but they’re a bit pricey. If you’d rather remain grounded, go for the Redbird flight simulator, which is included in the general admissions ticket (the more advanced Redbird MX2 Flight Simulator requires reservations and costs extra). Visit the Heritage and Waltrip hangers and get up close to vintage warbirds, bomb divers, drones, and more. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving day but reopens Friday.

Axe Throwing: Unleash Your inner Viking! Got pent-up frustrations after those awkward family talks? Or maybe you’re just looking for an upper-body workout other than carving the turkey. Why not do like loggers in 1800s Canada and try your hand at axe throwing? Unlike the Vikings who used their axes as weapons of war, loggers turned their trade tools into a source of entertainment and started the sport of axe throwing to let off steam. It has only recently developed into a modern, urban sport. These gaming arenas have coaches to instruct newbies and are promoted as family-friendly establishments. Axe Masters in League City gets great reviews, and it’s opened the entire holiday weekend.

Try Drunk Art Art studios are offering a variety of painting, crafts, and pottery/ceramics lessons this holiday weekend; happily, some are of the sip-as-you-create variety. Some studios are by appointment only, while others welcome walk-ins. Painting with a Twist is a top sip ‘n paint establishment and has three locations in SE Houston: Clear Lake, Pasadena, and Friendswood. The Ceramic and Pottery Center looks booked this holiday, but they do welcome walk-ins. And keep it in mind for December. The Rustic Brush in Pearland is a DIY (and BYOB) craft studio, where clients can design anything from doormats to wall hangings.

Comfort Shelter Animals and Take a Shelter Dog on a Date

A shelter dog looks out from a chainlink fence. Houston's shelters welcome visitors. Comfort them or take one out for a spell. Or adopt one.Photo byNhandler /Creative Commons via Wikimedia

Houston has long had a crisis of strays and its packed shelters have been exacerbated by those folks that adopted pets during the COVID shutdown only to return them when it was lifted. Crowded shelters are stressful for fur babies and they could use a break – and some loving. Visit your local shelter to play with and comfort the animals – don’t forget the cats – or take a dog (or two!) out on a date! Pasadena Animal Shelter has “Doggie Dates,” a program through which visitors can take a dog out for a few hours, overnight, or for a weekend! There are at least 12 shelters in SE Houston, including but not limited to League City Animal Control, presently at full capacity, City of Pearl Land Animal Services, and Friendswood Animal Control. You might find the love of your life at one of them.

Hunt Pelicans in Seabrook Pelican statues that is; Going on a scavenger for them in Seabrook is kind of a thing. The Pelican Project started when community leaders decided the region needed a gimmick to boost enthusiasm for their hometown and to boost business and tourism. They landed on “critter art” and decided that the pelican would be their mascot, a tribute to the brown pelicans present year-round in Seabrook, and the many white ones that migrate through. The colorful figures dot Seabrook neighborhoods in what is now called the Pelican Path; artists have to apply to create them. Download the map here to follow the path and see if you can find them all – and explore the town too.

The Great Outdoors: Hike, bike, jog, or chill and enjoy nature in these parks:

A buck pauses on a path at Pine Gully Park in Seabrook, SE Houston. Pine Gully is one of 20 parks in Seabrook interconnected by trails.Photo byBFS Man from Webster, TX/Creative Commons via Wikimedia

· You can’t talk about the outdoors without mentioning Armand Bayou Nature Center, among the largest wilderness preserves in the United States. It spans 2400 acres of wetlands, forests, prairie, marsh, and bayou habitats, and is home to all kinds of wildlife – including two bison named Burt and Sally. There’s a five-mile trail; a bison viewing deck; firefly, birding, and bat hikes; kayaking trips, and pontoon boat cruises along the Armand and Horsepen Bayous. It’s closed on Thanksgiving day but reopens Friday. Thanksgiving weekend activities include a “Paint by Nature” session with one of the bison as the subject, and a “Black Friday” pontoon cruise Friday morning.

· Exploration Green is a 200-acre preserve off of Bay Area Blvd with scenic trails for walking, jogging, and biking. Locals enjoy the wildlife and variety of birds. See if you can spot the bee boxes, Audobon swift towers, and bluebird houses.

· The University of Houston-Clear Lake campus at 2700 Bay Area Blvd is surrounded by wooded areas and bayous; it’s not uncommon to see deer in the campus parking lots. Nearby, short-and-sweet trails for little kiddos include the UHCL Walking Trail and the Claghorn Nature Trail.

· The Seabrook Trail System is a network of 10 miles worth of hike and bike trails interconnected with 20 parks that could and should be celebrated more. The trails meander through parks that feature woods, marshes, and wetlands with picnic areas, BBQ pits, gazebos, and playgrounds along the way to reach the beach waterfront – where visitors can sometimes catch a bottlenose dolphin in action.

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I cover Houston entertainment, community events, and local politics.

Houston, TX

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