Santa Barbara Zoo
Gorillas and gourds? It's a fall tradition. But while many zoos close on Thanksgiving, Santa Barbara Zoo keeps the gates open, the better to celebrate Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin Smash.
NATURE'S HOLIDAY: Let's get one thing perfectly straight from the get-go: Every single day is nature's holiday, and, nope, that shouldn't sound like some kind of PSA or lecture-y do-good-ism talking. (And what's so wrong with lecturey-y do-good-ism, anyway? It's a positive, wethinks.) It's the truth, as long as we're living on this earth, that nature is front-and-center, always, in our considerations. But if we're to ponder the holidays of the calendar, and just where the concept of nature fits in, we might turn to holidays like Arbor Day and Earth Day for their planet-minded festivities. But the fall holidays also boast touches of the outdoors, even if they themselves are about different ideas. Halloween has its pumpkins and Thanksgiving has its leaves and Christmas its holly, after all, which means that a holiday spent away from the table and under the sun is perfectly appropriate and welcome. Santa Barbara Zoo understands this, and keeps (shorter) open hours on Thanksgiving. More than open hours, though, the zoo does something a bit extra (and very photographable): They hand out pumpkins to the gorillas and elephants.
AND OTHER BEASTIES, TOO: You've likely seen an animal eat, but a round orange orb is another matter. There's some playful behavior, some figuring out, and a whole lot of gnawing. Call it a fresh-air and sometimes funny way to spend a holiday that does indeed have its natural side. Just note that Santa Barbara Zoo is closing early on Thursday, Nov. 28, so best get a jump on your visit in the early hours of the great grateful day.