Everyone knows Thanksgiving began in New England, but Philadelphia has some fascinating Thanksgiving history of its own. The City of Brotherly Love’s Benjamin Franklin thought the eagle a bird of bad moral character and actually wanted the turkey to become the national bird. In 1919, Philadelphia organized the first Thanksgiving Day parade in the nation. In 1966, it was the Philadelphia Police Department that gave the shopping-frenzied Friday after Thanksgiving the name Black Friday. Start your family’s own Thanksgiving history by taking part in one of these top family Thanksgiving celebrations and events in the Philadelphia area.
The German Society of Pennsylvania
611 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 627-2332
www.germansociety.orgPrice: $20
Date: Nov. 21 – 3 p.m.

Start your holiday in style with a Thanksgiving Eve concert. “A Saxon’s Thanksgiving Chamber Music and Lieder Recitals From Bach to Auenmueller” will be presented by the Philmore Ensemble and American Virtuosi. Enjoy a trio of siblings performing classical music like you’ve never heard it before. Philmore Ensemble plays works from the Renaissance to the present in combinations of flute, cello, violin, viola, lute, mandolin and guitar. Champagne and refreshments will be available for purchase during intermission.

Turkey Trot

Forbidden Trail
Northwestern a Germantown avenues
Philadelphia, PA 19118
215) 849-0179
www.turkeytrot.comPrice: $40 adults/$10 kids 12 and younger
Date: Nov. 22 – 9 a.m.

Those who want to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing can join in Philadelphia’s 20th Annual Turkey Trot. The five-mile race runs along Forbidden Trail’s Wissahickon Creek in Fairmount Park. Little ones and parents may compete in the one-mile fun walk, which is set to begin immediately after the five-mile run begins. Not only will you work off some Thanksgiving feast calories, but you’ll also help raise funds for local under-privileged families.

Longwood Gardens

1001 Longwood Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348
(610) 388-1000
www.longwoodgardens.orgPrice: $18 adults/$15 seniors/$8 kids ages 5 to 18/free children 4 and younger

You won’t want to miss a Longwood Christmas with its spectacular poinsettias, red- and green-lit fountains and 250,000 twinkling lights. Running from Thanksgiving Day through Jan. 6, the garden features a beautiful outdoor display as well as four acres of heated indoor Christmas plants. Decorated Christmas trees are at every turn, including the sparkling Christmas Tree Lane, and organ and choral concerts are held daily in the conservatory. If you really want to celebrate Thanksgiving Day in a big way at Longwood, for an extra fee you can reserve a spot for the Thanksgiving breakfast buffet, a bountiful feast with all of your favorite seasonal foods.

Related: A Guide To Fall Fun For The Family

Annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

20th and JFK Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215) 599-0776
www.visitphilly.comPrice: free
Date: Nov. 22 – 8:30 a.m. to noon

Turkey Day would not be complete without mention of the Annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. Family and friends can enjoy watching fancy floats, larger-than-life balloons, bagpipe brigades and marching bands. The Phillie Phanatic and Santa Claus himself will make an appearance as well. A few of the best places to view the festivities are the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Eakins Oval and Logan Circle.

Adventure Aquarium
1 Riverside Drive
Camden, NJ 08103
(856) 365-3300
www.adventureaquarium.comPrice: $24 adults/$18 children

Top off the four-day Thanksgiving weekend with a visit to Adventure Aquarium’s Christmas Celebration. Nov. 25 begins the six-week long event, featuring a winter wonderland under the sea. Thousands of decorations, lights and trees will greet Scuba Santa and his elves as he dives into the giant Ocean Realm exhibit. Watch him swim with schooling fish, humongous sea turtles, massive stingrays and even sharks. Photo ops for the kids with an interactive Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and an abominable snow monster will also be available.

Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.