To all the holiday returners, welcome back! You’ve built a life in a new place, but Thanksgiving is where your family is, and your family is here in Calhoun County.  Here are some tips on things to do while you’re here, including escape rooms, a hibachi restaurant and Black Friday sale hours.

What’s new?

There have been some new additions since last Thanksgiving.Solve puzzles as a team at Cereal City Escape. For a magical experience, Wizard Academy just opened. You can also try to solve a mob crime in The Syndicate's Revenge or commit a crime by breaking into The Pawn Shop. The escape rooms are located in Lakeview Square Mall, 5775 Beckley Road, near the movie theater.Play vintage pinball machines at the Playable Pinball Museum. There are around a dozen machines to try, all a quarter to play. Navigate Mystery Castle or skim the slopes on Snow Derby. You can find the machines in the lobby at Kellogg Arena, 1 McCamly Square. The lobby is open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day.It’s Michigan, so the weather is unpredictable. But if your four-legged family members need an opportunity to run around, the Home Run Dog Park is open at Bailey Park.Gamers should check out Downtown Throwdown. The video game club is open on Friday nights from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. (and they will be open the day after Thanksgiving). Play in a tournament or hang out in the gaming lounge. Located at 104 Calhoun St. in Battle Creek. You know what else is located on Calhoun Street? Umami Ramen, if you need a bite to eat.

Things to do

For a Friday night family activity, check out the holiday lights. Downtown Battle Creek will be decorated for the International Festival of Lights (and with it getting dark around 5 p.m., you don’t have to wait long for the lights to be at their best). Stop by Biggby Coffee at the McCamly Plaza Hotel for hot chocolate. Or you can head to Marshall’s Merry Mile at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds. Stay in your warm car while driving along the trail that has been decorated with lights. The cost is $10 per car and $20 per bus. Starting Friday, Marshall Carriage Co. is offering horse-drawn carriage rides through the Merry Mile. Dress up in layers, because it takes about 40 minutes. For more information, look on Facebook. Saturday, it’s Territorial Brewing’s last night at 256 Helmer Road. They’re moving to a bigger space in Springfield. It’ll take place in a heated beer tent -- celebrate five years of business with beer and music. If you can’t make it to the evening celebration, they will have a black beer brunch on Friday morning. Marines will be there to accept donations for Toys for Tots. Binder Park Zoo will also be open Saturday night for ZooLights.Celebrate Small Business Saturday. In Marshall, start your day with brunch at Grand River Brewery and its make-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Then check out the small shops that sell everything from dog treats and stationary to warm jackets and toys. Oerther’s will have its festive Christmas Tree Lane set up in the greenhouse. Sign up to win prizes while shopping. In Battle Creek, there will be a downtown pop-up market with a raffle, free tote bags and warm cocktails. The event is from 2 to 5 p.m., a good excuse to swing by Kitchen Proper or Griffin Grill & Pub for dinner.Once Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to look to Christmas. On Sunday, Santa and his reindeer will be at Station 66 from 1 to 3 p.m. Meet Santa and get some hot cocoa. Station 66 is located at 4588 D Drive South.

New places to eat

  • Something different: The hibachi experience has come to Battle Creek at Kume Hibachi Steakhouse. Made popular by places such as Benihana, customers sit around a grill and watch the chef prepare food while making jokes and doing tricks.
  • For breakfast: People are talking about Free Range Pancake House, located at exit 110 off I-94. The expansive menu has everything from pancakes to Greek-style avocado toast.
  • To indulge: Albion’s Foundry Bakehouse and Deli packs a lot of goodies into one bakery. Cookies, cupcakes, muffins, cronuts -- it’s all good. And the bakery is next door to Albion Malleable Brewing Company, if you’re in the mood for beer and poutine.

Black Friday

For some families, sales shopping is an annual tradition. Here are some Battle Creek store hours to get you started:

  • Meijer: Doorbuster sale begins 6 a.m. Thursday and runs through Friday.
  • Best Buy: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, reopens 8 a.m. Friday.
  • Target: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, reopens 7 a.m. Friday.
  • Ulta Beauty: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, reopens 5 a.m. Friday.
  • Walmart: Sale begins Thursday evening.
  • TJ Maxx: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Lakeview Square Mall: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday (store hours vary -- Barnes and Noble, for instance, will be regular store hours, opening at 9 a.m.).