By Betty Yu

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The holidays will be anything but normal this year. Still, the Oakland Zoo wants to make it memorable. It just debuted ‘Glowfari,’ which is a socially-distanced, family-friendly experience.

Animal-shaped lanterns are lighting up the holiday season like never before.

READ MORE: FDA to Consider Pfizer Application for COVID Booster Shots on Friday

“This is the first time a lantern festival like this is happening in the Bay Area,” said Oakland Zoo Executive VP Nik Dehejia. “So to have these wonderful lights up, going for two months…Just really, we all need some joy, we all need some fun right now.”

Glowfari features a mile-long stroll through different habitats, featuring more than a hundred intricate lanterns. It also highlights the Oakland Zoo’s commitment to conservation.

The outdoor event attracted people of all ages looking to spend time with loved ones in a safe, low-risk environment during opening weekend.

“We have a big family, we have kids, and some of my siblings are around here, and so this was going to be a safe way for us to get together for the holidays, because it’s outside,” said Felicia Tornabene of Oakland.

She was taking in the sights with her father, when she spoke to KPIX 5.

“We’re not going to get together at Thanksgiving, because that’ll be inside, we’re just not doing that,” said Vincent Tornabene of San Mateo.

Tickets are $20 per adult, and $18 per child.

In San Francisco, the SkyStar observation wheel is another family-friendly attraction. The ride that takes people 150 feet in the air at Golden Gate Park is open on Thanksgiving Day.

This year, there won’t be any puppies and kittens up for adoption in the Macy’s Union Square holiday windows to avoid crowding in the street. But the SF SPCA will display videos of animals on screens throughout the store and on its website.

For the first time this year, the 5th Annual “For The Culture Market” on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday will be online. Dubbed “The Black Etsy,” the marketplace will feature more than 50 Bay Area black women-owned businesses, interactive workshops, and entertainment.

READ MORE: Marin County Uses State Grant to Seal Rural Roads With Recycled Tires

Shoppers can browse for gifts for everyone, including foodies and fashionistas, from multiple creators, and check out in one cart.

“For black businesses in particular, nearly half of black businesses are shutting down in the United States, so we’re asking folks to go that extra mile, to shop with us, add us to your shopping list,” said Hope Henson-Lehman, Co-Founder of Just BE, which is hosting the event.

Registration for the two-day event is free.

If you decide to give cooking a break this year and want to avoid dining out, many restaurants are offering complete Thanksgiving meal kits for the first time, including, Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn.

Patisserie and tea salon Maison Danel in San Francisco is also putting together pre-made gourmet French dinner baskets and cakes for delivery or pickup.

Here are some helpful links






MORE NEWS: Contractor Who Bribed San Francisco Public Works Director Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison