For nearly a century, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has brought huge crowds of people to Manhattan to celebrate the holiday and gawk at the giant balloons on display. It’s the world’s largest parade—roughly 3.5 million people are expected to attend this year's parade, and other 50 million folks will watch the event on their TV sets.
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But if you want to check out the giant balloons in all their glory without cutting into your Thanksgiving festivities, head to the American Museum of Natural History on Wednesday. From 1pm to 8pm, the balloons will be inflated for any and all to see. The crowds can get pretty dense at the pre-Thanksgiving ritual, but it’s pretty captivating to watch SpongeBob turn from a flattened piece of polyurethane into a larger-than-life structure.
Attendees can enter the event on 79th Street at Columbus Avenue. From 4pm to 8pm, there will also be a Thanksgiving Eve Carnival between 76th and 77th Streets to support P.S. 334, which will feature rides, snacks and a giant inflatable slide.