The Thanksgiving break from school can be a long one for parents if their kids are not interested in turkey leftovers, football or crowded shopping malls. For some ideas on how to entertain and burn energy from youngsters over the long weekend, check out this list of Minnesota favorites. You’ll find plenty of ways to excite them and tire them out. Although, as a cautionary note to parents, a stop at Minnesota’s largest candy store may have the opposite effect.
Adventure Peak at Edinborough Park
7700 York Ave. S.
Edina, MN 55435
If you are looking to expend some energy from the youngsters over the long weekend, take them to Adventure Peak. They will have an entire acre to run to their heart’s content and plenty to climb on as well, with an enormous Northwoods-themed structure to entertain them for hours. There is also a gym area where kids can use scooters, balls and bounce equipment. Make sure everyone comes with socks and plans to go shoeless, as this is required to enter the play areas.
Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum
1021 Bandana Blvd. E., Suite 222
St. Paul, MN 55108
Kids will be mesmerized by the dozens of elaborate model trains and intricate scenes at the Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum. On the Saturday evening after Thanksgiving, the museum begins its holiday tradition of ‘Night Trains’ and turns down the lights so visitors can enjoy the railroad layouts in a nighttime, moonlit setting. Catch the sparkle of model railroad villages decked out for Christmas with tiny homes adorned in garland and lights. Be sure to also head to the hands-on area so little ones can try their hand at driving a toy train.
The Edge Waterpark
2400 London Road
Duluth, MN 55812
Located within the Edgewater Hotel and Waterpark, The Edge is a dream for kids in the chilly November weather. It’s always 80 degrees inside this indoor waterpark and there are plenty of options for children of all ages in your family. Thrill-seekers can venture down the Tiki Thriller body slide in the dark. Tamer water-goers can relax in the lazy river. And tiny ones can enjoy the child-sized slides and splash bucket at Paradise Playground.
Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store
Jim’s Apple Store
20430 Johnson Memorial Drive
Jordan, MN 55352
Thanksgiving weekend will draw a close to the seasonal operation of Jim’s Apple Store, which also happens to house Minnesota’s largest candy selection and the world’s largest variety of pop. If your teeth are aching now, wait until you take a peek inside this massive store with more treats than one person could ever eat. Decadent finds like dark chocolate laden with maple, bacon and sea salt are here, along with childhood favorites such as Pop Rocks, Sixlets and Big League Chew. If more than candy and pop are on your shopping list, you can also pick up fresh pies, apples, bacon products, puzzles and plenty of novelty gifts.
6600 Peller Ave. S.
Hastings, MN 55033
Ski and snowboard over the snowy hills at Afton Alps. If your family is not experienced in these activities, don’t fret! There are plenty of beginner trails and private or group lessons available at this local winter favorite just east of the Twin Cities. Plus, Afton Alps is embarking on $10 million worth of improvements during its 50th anniversary in 2013, so expect some positive changes throughout the resort.
Related: A Guide To The Minnesota Zoo
Cortney Mohnk is a freelance writer covering all things Minnesota. She is also a public relations and event planning professional. Her most important job is mother to her young daughter, who is her partner-in-crime when checking out the family entertainment scene in the Twin Cities. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.