14 things to do over 'MEA' weekend in Minnesota

Apple Picking
M.J. Antonsen, 49, lets her three-year-old nephew Boden Antonsen ride on her shoulders to pick apples on the tree in Aamodt's Apple Farm on Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014 in Stillwater, Minn.
Yi-Chin Lee / MPR News

As Minnesotans prepare for the annual four-day MEA break this weekend, we chat with local experts to brainstorm some great places to visit and things to do with your kids.

14 ideas for your MEA Weekend:

1. How about a weekend of doing nothing? Stephanie Ash, editor of Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine's "Juice Box" blog, said this weekend is perfect for some quality family time at home with limited obligations. If your kids are excited to sleep in and lounge for a couple days, this might be the weekend to indulge their requests.

2. Visit a farm and put your children to work. Check out the Oliver H. Kelley Farm for Harvest Days where kids can help "finish up the field work, put food away for the winter in the root cellar, make corn husk dolls or join in a quilting bee," according to the Minnesota Historical Society.

3. Find a day camp. Some recommendations: Dodge Nature Center, Children's Theatre, Steppingstone Theatre and the Science Museum of Minnesota.

4. Meet an owl, hawk, falcon and a bald eagle. The Raptor Center will have a demonstration at the Central Library Thursday.

5. Check out a festival. Some recommendations: Harvest Moon Fall Festival, Springbrook Nature Center's Pumpkin Night in the Park, Aamodt's Apple Farm Harvest EGGfest and the Loppet Foundation's fall tree planting.

6. Visit colleges. High school students can see potential schools while they are in session, visit classrooms and go on tours.

7. Check out a museum or historical site. Many of the state's museums have special programming this weekend, like the Children's Museum's Super Pet Saturday. Other recommendations: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Museum of Russian Art, American Swedish Institute, Minnesota Historical Society sites.

8. Learn archery. The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge has a beginner archery class Thursday in Bloomington.

9. Try geocaching. Ash called it the perfect marriage of technology and nature. A number of parks in the state offer the equipment.

10. Visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch. Check out a list here.

11. Hear live music. Minnesota Sinfonia has a number of free classical music performances this weekend.

12. Go to the Education Minnesota conference. The event at the RiverCentre is open to the public. On The Daily Circuit page, Melissa said her daughter enjoys their yearly trip.

"My husband and I are both teachers and we love to take our daughter to the exhibits at the conference on Thursday," she wrote. "It's free and is just like walking through the education building at the state fair."

13. Take a trip to Ely to visit the International Wolf Center.

14. Browse Halloween costume ideas.

Going on a road trip? Check out Brains On - a science podcast for kids from MPR News.

Learn more about activities for kids in the Twin Cities:

18 Free Things to Do in Minnesota (Explore Minnesota)

10 Things to Do in Minnesota This Fall (Explore Minnesota)

Places to Take Kids In Twin Cities, MN (Pinterest)

50 Things to Do With Your Kids Before They Grow Up (Alpha Mom)

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.