Most school children in Minnesota have this coming Thursday and Friday off, a break that happens every year to coincide with a teachers' convention in St. Paul.
These four days are often called "MEA Weekend." The weekend is not just a chance for some teachers to brush up on skills. Many families have also come to depend on the break as a last chance to get away before the winter.
As Minnesotans prepare for the annual four-day MEA break, MPR News host Tom Weber asked Stephanie Ash, who edits Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine and the Juice Box blog, and elementary school teacher Tim Kennedy, who writes MinnyApple.com, for their tips and took calls and online suggestions from you.
1) Take in a game, visit a college
Fall is a great time to visit colleges since they are in session and can give your prospective higher ed learner a glimpse into campus life and learning.
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The Gopher women's soccer team is strong this year and play Michigan State Thursday. The Gopher women's volleyball team is also impressive this year and they play Saturday.
2) Head to the Science Museum
3) Head to Brainerd
4) Head to Lanesboro
5) Go to Chicago
6) Go to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area
Bring a warm sleeping bag and plenty of layers for cold nights. Crisp bug-free days and abundant wildlife define the BWCA experience this time of year.
Less adventurous travelers should consider renting a camper cabin or yurt at a state park.
7) Head to Grand Marais
Moose Madness festival in Grand Marias, lookout for Murray the Moose photo bombing your selfies.
8) Go to the Badlands
Use the long weekend to make the 500-mile trek from the Twin Cities to visit the rugged Badlands National Park in South Dakota.
9) Read, or celebrate reading
The Twin Cities Book Festival takes over the State Fair Grounds with lots to do for all ages, and it is free.
10) Get lost
Take a stroll in the towering corn maze at the Twin Cities Harvest Festival
For parents who can't get off work:
Hire a well-trained middle-schooler or high schooler to watch your kids. They are off of school and could probably use the money.
There are also camps but they require some flexibility. The camps typically run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Here are two ideas: