Black Friday isn't all about shopping -- try these activities

Nov. 25—While sales on retail merchandise are appealing, not everyone wants to brave the chaos of Black Friday. Fortunately for non-shoppers, there are plenty of other activities available in the Decatur area today.

Nick Wirwa, a wildlife biologist at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, said the refuge would be a great place to unwind amid all the business of Black Friday.

"As things get crazy for the holidays, it's good for our soul to get out and enjoy nature and get away from all the hustle and bustle," he said.

He said the trails are open, along with the new photo blind and newly renovated observation building.

"Our new hiking trail at the visitor's center will be open. A lot of wildlife can be observed along the trail," he said. "Whooping cranes are here, and sandhill cranes are coming in by the day."

The weather should be conducive to getting outdoors at least part of today. Rain was expected to begin Thursday evening and continue into this morning, said Ashley Ravenscraft, a forecaster at the National Weather Service. "But Friday afternoon looks pretty dry."

She said lows today will be around 50 degrees and rain should subside by noon.

There are walking and biking trails spread out through Decatur with varying lengths. If you'd like a low-impact bike trip or walk, Austinville Park has a quarter-mile trail, Delano Park has a mile-long trail and Wilson Morgan Park has a 1 1/2 -mile trail.

For those who maybe want to burn off the turkey and dressing from Thanksgiving, there's a portion of the Bill Sims Bike Trail from Point Mallard to Rhodes Ferry Park that is 5 miles, and the entire trail is 14 miles.

The municipal Point Mallard Golf Course is open from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. today. The last tee time is at 3:30 p.m.

Riding 18 holes costs $45, and 9 holes is $31.

If you'd prefer staying indoors, a movie might be more your style, and the AMC Classic Decatur 12 movie theater has some high-profile movies available.

"We're already showing 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,'" said manager Ricky Blankenship. "We have that, 'Bones and All,' and 'Strange World' from Disney."

He said he expects the theater to be busy due to Black Friday.

Other showings include "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery," "The Woman King," "Black Adam" and "Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile."

If you're not in the mood for a film, AMF River City Lanes will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight.

"It's family-friendly, and you can bowl for three hours for $22," said manager Aaron Nichols.

At 9 p.m. a special game mode is rolled out: extreme bowling.

"The music is louder, black lights are on, and it's not your traditional white-light bowling," Nichols said.

But Black Friday weekend is about more than shopping — in Alabama, football is king.

The Iron Bowl is on Saturday, when Alabama (8-2) and Auburn (4-6) will compete at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.

In games today involving regional teams, Arkansas and Missouri will play at 2:30 p.m. on CBS, and Florida will face Florida State at 6:30 p.m. on ABC.

In addition to Southern football, today will feature another type of football from across the pond.

The World Cup is in Qatar, and the United States' soccer team will play England at 1 p.m. on FOX. or 256-340-2437. Twitter @DD_EDaniel