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Thanksgiving Weekend 2012 in Washington, D.C.

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Thanksgiving is all about family, food, and feeling thankful. If you’ll be in the nation’s capital for Thanksgiving weekend, you’ll have no shortage of fun things to do. Here are some suggestions:

See A Parade: The Capital Holiday Parade is Nov. 24, 2012 at 11 AM. It starts at the corner of 14th and Constitution and will turn left down Pennsylvania Avenue. This year’s theme is “The Start of Something Big” and features marching bands, floats, and high-stepping equestrian units. The grand reviewing area is along 3rd Street, and bleacher seats are available for $10 along the route and $15 for premier reserve seating. Tickets can be purchased online.

Watch Sharks and Piranhas Get Fed: The National Aquarium has public feedings of its tenants every afternoon at 2 PM. On Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, you can catch the shark feeding; on Tuesday and Sunday, you can catch the piranha feeding; and on Friday, you can catch the alligator feeding.

See Mount Vernon By Candlelight: Mount Vernon will start its holiday candlelight tours Thanksgiving weekend. Led by “Mrs. Washington,” the tours include dancing, music, and period characters who take visitors through the first and second floors of the home. The tours are 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM and tickets are sold for certain times. Admission is $22 for adults and $15 for children 11 and under. The event is not included in the general admission to the house. Tours are Nov. 23-25, 2012 and every Saturday and Sunday Dec. 1-16, 2012. Tickets can be purchased online.

ZooLights: The National Zoo has a large light display called ZooLights that starts in late November and runs through Jan. 1. For Thanksgiving weekend, it runs Nov. 23-25, 2012 from 5 PM to 9 PM. Admission is free but parking is $9 for members and $16 for non-members. The event features a winter wonderland with two 150-foot snow tubing tracks; demos and talks about various animals; a chance to take a picture with Panda Claws; a trackless train ride around the Great Cats exhibit; and the Wildlife Train Park.

See Art: The Smithsonian’s American Art Museum will open the only major exhibit that looks at how American artists like Winslow Homer, Eastman Johnson, Frederic Church, and Sanford Gifford depicted the impact of the Civil War. “The Civil War and American Art” is at the museum’s main building starting Nov. 16, 2012 through April 28, 2013.

See Rare Snakes: The National Zoo got a surprise when eight tentacled snakes were born to parents that have not produced viable young in four years. They get their name from the unique tentacles coming out from their snout. The snakes use them to pick up vibrations from fish that swim by. You can see them at the National Zoo’s Reptile Discovery Center.

Go To Space: The National Air & Space Museum will have a free children’s story and craft time called “Flights of Fancy” for ages 2-8 on Nov. 21 at its Chantilly, Va. location and Nov. 23, and 24, 2012 at its Washington location. Museum staff read stories about famous aviators, hot-air balloon flights, trips to Mars, the night sky, and winged creatures. Story time is every 15 minutes from 11 AM to 1 PM. Visitors to the Air & Space Museum in Washington can also use the safe solar telescopes in the museum’s observatory to look at the Sun for free. It will be open from 12 PM to 3 PM on Nov. 21, 23 and 25, 2012.

Hear Sinatra: Smash star Megan Hilty will join the National Symphony Orchestra for Luck Be A Lady. She’ll sing Frank Sinatra tunes like The Lady Is A Tramp, Moon River, and I’ve Got You Under My Skin. The performance will be at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall Nov. 23 and 24, 2012. Tickets range from $20 to $85 and can be purchased online.

See A Movie: The National Air & Space Museum’s Airbus IMAX Theatre in Chantilly, Va., has several movies to see on the large screen, including Skyfall, the next chapter in the James Bond series. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online. The movie is shown every afternoon and evening, including Thanksgiving Day.

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