Thousands of Twin Cities children are on spring break this week, and many are spending their time off at recreation centers while their parents work.
In St. Paul, parks department officials were expecting more than 1,000 kids to take advantage of their free programming. The overall demand has increased this year, and one reason could be the recession.
"I think the whole notion of staycation is here to stay for an extended period of time," said Brad Meyer, spokesman for the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department. "We've always encouraged that notion because you don't need to spend a great deal of money to have a good time."
Meyer said the programs are also becoming more well-known and popular among kids and parents. This year, the demand for spring break programs that require pre-registration is up 10 percent, and Meyer said officials expected a higher demand at drop-in sites as well.
St. Paul's programs are part of the Second Shift Initiative, which has received grant funding to give children opportunities to learn outside of the school day.
Minneapolis parks officials said they won't know until the end of the week whether numbers were up for this spring break because most programs don't require pre-registration.