Few things grate on a parent’s nerves like a child’s cry: “There’s nothing to do!”
If you’re staying in town during MEA weekend, don’t fall prey to that lament. Instead, plan a quick trip to an attraction in the Twin Cities — or just a bit beyond.
Whether you travel across the river, across the metro or make it a day trip, here’s a sampling of activities that can keep you and the kids happily occupied during the annual school break.
Down on the farm: A trip to the historic Oliver Kelley Farm feels like a rural getaway, especially during Harvest Days. Help prepare the farm for winter by mixing feed for livestock, husking corn and doing other chores. As a bonus, the whole family gets an entertaining history lesson in the way Minnesotans lived in the early 1900s. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thu.-Sun. $6-$12. Oliver Kelley Farm, 15788 Kelley Farm Road, Elk River, Minn. mnhs.org/kelleyfarm.
Be corn-mazed: They may not have made it to the big dance this year, but the Minnesota Lynx won an agricultural honor: The four-time WNBA championship winners are the focus of Minnesota’s largest corn maze. The Twin Cities Harvest Festival pays homage to the basketball team with a Lynx-themed maze. After finding your way through the twists and turns of the corn-fusing labyrinth, you can frolic in a corn pit, watch animal and magic shows, go on a hayride and more. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thu.-Sun. $12. 8001 109th Av. N., Brooklyn Park. twincitiesmaze.com.
All aboard: The Twin Cities area is well known for its artistic scene, which includes a wealth of shows aimed at the 18-and-under crowd. This fall, DanceCo. is collaborating with the Roe Family Singers and Engineer Paul of “Choo Choo Bob’s Train Show”to produce “Expectation Station.” Dancers, musicians and an actress tell a family-friendly story about trains and the people who pass through stations. 10 a.m. Thu.-Fri.,Sun.; 2 p.m. Sat. $14-$16. SteppingStone Theatre, 55 Victoria St., St. Paul. dancecomn.com.
Fly like an eagle: Angel, Columbia and Donald are just a few of the winged ambassadors that call the National Eagle Center home. Special activities include native arts activities with the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Chippewa craftsman Dick Mindykowski. Master falconer Jackie Fallon and her feathered friends will talk about the ancient art of falconry and naturalists with the traveling Wild Things Zoo will introduce mammals, birds and other creatures. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. $7-$10. 50 Pembroke Av. S., Wabasha, Minn. nationaleaglecenter.org.
Pumpkin dissection: The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota sneaks a little learning into its Harvest Festival. A STEAM-themed diversion takes participants inside pumpkins from decoration to dissection. The Minnesota Valley Pet Hospital will demonstrate a dog wellness checkup with a real dog. (Stuffed animals are welcome to accompany their owners for a checkup, too.) Other events throughout the weekend include a harvest hoedown, old-fashioned games and a visit with reptiles and amphibians. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Thu.; 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fri.; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.-Sun. $8. 224 Lamm St., Mankato. cmsouthernmn.org.