Entertaining for Thanksgiving extends beyond the turkey feast and side dishes. Many families have visitors for the entire weekend and these ideas offer interesting options for Turkey Day itself as well as the days that follow. A day of fun races at the Turkey Trot is an exciting way to spend the holiday with proceeds benefiting Baptist Hospital, while feeding the homeless at Camillus House is another good way to give back to the community. The weekend is a fun time to enjoy Zoo Miami for less of a crowd while Aventura Mall and Santa’s Enchanted Forest have offerings to swing right into the pre-holiday cheer (the holiday décor does go up the day after Thanksgiving after all).

Santa’s Enchanted Forest

Tropical Park
7900 S.W. 40th St.
Miami, FL 33155
(305) 559-9689

The day after Thanksgiving is a popular day for families to get their décor up for the holidays. While visitors are still in town, wow them with the dazzling display that is Santa’s Enchanted Forest. The holiday-themed amusement park has been in business for over three decades and it’s a wonderful way to really get into the spirit of the season. There are hundreds of great rides, games and shows as well as thousands of sparkling holiday lights. The park even has such fun extras like a petting zoo, karaoke, pony rides and a mechanical bull. Santa’s Enchanted Forest is conveniently open every day from 5 p.m. until midnight through January 5, 2014.

Aventura Mall

19501 Biscayne Blvd.
Aventura, FL 33180
(305) 935-1110

Aventura Mall is a great destination for out-of-town visitors with a lot to offer. The sprawling shopping mall has some of the best shopping in the country as well as top restaurants such as The Cheesecake Factory and Sushi Siam. By Thanksgiving, all of the striking holiday décor is up around the mall as well as an exciting holiday train for the little ones. The day can finish with a Thanksgiving weekend movie release at the mall’s AMC Aventura 24 theatre such as Disney’s newest animated feature “Frozen” in 3D.

Zoo Miami

1 Zoo Blvd.
12400 S.W. 152 St.
Miami, FL 33177
(305) 251-0400

Visiting Zoo Miami (formerly known as Miami Metro Zoo) is a great idea for Thanksgiving weekend. The zoo is incredibly large and houses over 2,000 animals as well as a garden featuring over 1,000 varieties of plants. Current exhibits include Amazon & Beyond featuring such wildlife as jaguars and an anaconda. The layout of the only tropical zoo in the country means hours of walking in the sun so the temperature will be very pleasant around this time of the year. Holiday times at the zoo also tend to be much quieter, making for smoother visits with less of a crowd.

Related: A Guide To Zoo Miami

(Source: Florida Cigar Company)

Camillus House

1603 N.W. 7th Ave.
Miami, FL 33136
(305) 374-1065

A beautiful way to celebrate Thanksgiving Day is to give back. Camillus House is an over 50-year-old non-profit organization with such facilities as an overnight homeless shelter for the Miami homeless. The whole family can come down to the shelter to volunteer with feeding the homeless a warm and satisfying feast for the holiday. This is an especially great idea for families with preteen and teenage children for the young adults to really get a sense of how much they have and to realize exactly how much they have in their lives to be thankful for.

Baptist Health South Florida Turkey Trot

Tropical Park
7900 S.W. 40 St.
Miami, FL 33155
(305) 278-8668

Date: Nov. 28, 2013 at 7:30 a.m.

The Turkey Trot is a fun, unconventional way to spend Thanksgiving in various cities around the country. Miami’s edition is appropriate for the entire family with the option to walk or run in a 5k or 10k race with a special race for kids ages two and older. Canned food donations will be accepted for those in need and individuals or groups can sign up to volunteer at the event in lieu of joining the race. The proceeds raised from the event benefits Baptist Hospital.

Related: Top Spots For A Family Afternoon Outing

Chanoa Chen is a well-published blogger and online journalist on topics ranging from luxury lifestyle living to fashion shows and trends. A self-proclaimed Miami Beach fashion expert, she is also working on launching her first jewelry line, Boki Love. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.