FFTC Family Guide to MEA Weekend 2019


MEA Weekend (Thursday & Friday October 17-18, 2019) is on the horizon, so if you like to plan ahead Family Fun Twin Cities has compiled a list for you to use as a starting point for this fabulous, fall four-day weekend.  If you plan more spur of the moment like me, these options will be on our October Family Events & Activities Guide for quick access. Also, be sure to check our Family Fun Calendar and Fall Fun Family Guide for dozens more ideas.

FALL FAMILY ACTIVITIES FOR MEA WEEKEND

Be a farmer for the day

Harvest Days | Oliver Kelley Farm, Elk River
I took my kids to Harvest Days on a blustery MEA day. It was wonderful. We had a great time working with the bulls and visiting the historic farmhouse. We made cornhusk dolls, explored the property and played with kittens. Then, on the way out, we went Christmas shopping through their visitor’s center. Expect even more to enjoy at the farm this year with their expanded visitor center. Oct 17-20, 2019, 10am-5pm, $6-$12/pp.


Pick your pumpkin – plus more fun fall festivities, many with special MEA hours!

tcpumpkinpatches

Afton Apple Orchard | Hastings
MEA hours & activities: Thurs. Noon-6pm; Fri. Noon-10pm; Sat: 10am-10pm; Sun 10am-6pm. Admission includes hay rides when available, use of play equipment, a straw mountain and tire hill and petting farm. Afton’s giant corn maze is open Thurs-Sun of MEA from noon-6pm and costs $7-$9/pp. Take a hayride to the pumpkin patch to pick-your-own and call (651) 436-8385 to check the status of apple picking.

Barten Pumpkins | New Prague
MEA hours & activities: Open Tues-Sun, 9am-7pm, free admission.

Country Sun Farm | Lake Elmo
MEA hours & activities: Open Thurs-Sat, 10am-5pm & Sun, 11am-5pm. Admission is free as is visiting the animals, but expect to pay extra for a hayride, to play in the corn pit, jump in the bouncer and run through the corn maze. Pick out a pumpkin from their garden market.

Eveland Family Farm | Andover
MEA hours & activities: Thurs 4 – 7pm, Fri 3-7pm, weekends 10am – 6pm. Admission is $3/pp and includes a hayride, a self-guided tour of the barnyard and use of the picnic shelter. Come pick a Halloween pumpkin from their patch!

Lendt’s Pumpkin Patch | Wyoming
MEA hours & activities: Daily, 9am-dusk, free admission. PYO pumpkins are $4 ea in a 40 acre field. Hayrides are by reservation on weekdays and first-come on weekends at $3/pp – those with small children, be aware that the rides last an hour and include a stop in the pumpkin patch.

Marshall’s Farm Market | Eden Prairie
MEA hours & activities: Open 11am-6:30pm. Come pick your perfect pumpkin and bring the kids for the pumpkin bounce house, mini corn maze, and not-so-spooky haunted house.

Peter’s Pumpkins & Carmen’s Corn | Shakopee
MEA hours & activities: Open weekdays 11am – 6pm, weekends 9am – 6:30pm, free admission. October weekends feature PYO pumpkins and free hayrides and face painting.

Pleasant Valley Orchard | Shafer
MEA hours & activities: Thurs-Sun, 10am-6pm. Admission is free and includes special MEA activities along with a nature trail, barnyard animals and the corn box to play in. Take a hayride ($3/pp) to the pumpkin patch to pick-your-own. The farm’s 12 Days of Halloween begins Oct 20.

Pinehaven Farm | Wyoming
MEA hours & activities: Thurs-Fri 12-6:30, Sat-Sun 10am-6:30pm. MEA weekend admission ranges from $10-$12/pp, spendier than most pumpkin farms, but the price includes the majority of available attractions: playground equipment, mazes, all-terrain trikes, a petting farm, wagon rides and special events on select weekends.

Sever’s Corn Maze & Fall Festival | Shakopee
MEA hours & activities: Special MEA hours – Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri-Sat 10am-8pm & Sun 10am-6pm. Admission is $17/pp ages 4 & up. Ticket price includes Sever’s well-known extensive menu of activities featuring their corn maze, corn pits, and exotic petting zoo.

Tom’s Pumpkin Farm | Lindstrom
MEA hours & activities: Daily, 10am-dusk. Free admission to come pick-your-own pumpkin from the field – all sizes just $3.99. There is also a 10-acre corn maze to solve, $4-$6/pp.

Waldoch Farm & Garden Center | Lino Lakes
MEA hours & activities: Open MEA weekend 10am-7pm. Admission to the farm is free and includes access to the PYO pumpkin patch via complimentary hayrides and the Joyer Barnyard. Entry to the Maze Area is $10/pp and will allow you to run through the corn maze and obstacle courses, play in the corn pit, use the pedal trikes and more.

Wheel Fun Rentals Pumpkin Patch | Richfield & Como Lake, St Paul
MEA hours & activities: Sat-Sun 10am-6pm. Wristband prices vary according to location but range from $3-$9 with a variety of activities included such as hayrides and inflatables.


Visit an apple orchard – for fresh produce and more fall fun!

See our Guide to Twin Cities’ Metro Area Orchards for fresh picks.

apple orchards - an MEA Weekend tradition


Fall festival pick

Sat, Oct 19: Wargo Fall Festival | Wargo Nature Center, Lino Lakes
Play pioneer games, try cider pressing and take nature walks. 2-4pm, FREE.


Find your way through a corn maze

In case you need a little extra challenge (stress?) in your life, we’ve got a round up of 11 corn mazes we see fit for families. In our experience, this activity is a big hit with the tweens! We recommend checking out the Twin Cities Harvest Festival & Maze for Minnesota’s largest corn maze plus tons of fun fall activities for all ages.

corn maze


HALLOWEEN EVENTS FOR THE FAMILY OVER MEA WEEKEND

So many not-so-scary ways to celebrate with the family! Need a complete list of the different options? We have it for you in our monster Twin Cities Halloween Fun Guide. Notable special events during MEA Weekend include:

Oct 1-Nov 3: Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular | Minnesota Zoo

Oct 18 & 19: 36th Annual Halloween Party | Westwood Nature Center, St Louis Park

Oct 18-20: Creepy Crawly Awareness Weekend at Como Zoo
Visit Como Zoo Friday to celebrate its creepier, crawlier residents. Learn about carnivorous plants, tarantulas and giant cockroaches and millipedes. There will be special gardener and zookeeper talks all weekend. Oct 18-20. Free.

Oct 19: Halloween Family Fun Day | Weaver Lake Park, Maple Grove
The park is packed with 20+ activities from inflatables and a maze to pumpkin rolling and crafts. 1-4pm, $5/child ages 2-8, under 2 & adults free.

Oct 19: Half-Haunted Halloween | Wood Lake Nature Center, Richfield
2-6pm, $5/pp.

Oct 19: Pumpkin Night in the Park | Springbrook Nature Center, Fridley
$8/advance, $10/cash at gate.

Oct 19: Haunting at Sibley | Sibley House, Hastings | Join the “ghosts” of the Sibley Historic Site for our annual Halloween event. May not be suitable for children under 13. 7pm-9pm, $8-10/pp.

Oct 19: Transylvania Trolley | Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, Minneapolis
Non-scary Halloween trolley ride. Wear your costume and get a treat! 12:30-4pm. $2.50/pp, under 3 free.

Oct 20: Trick ‘r Trolley | Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, Minneapolis
Ride, story and treat. Sells out fast. Pre-purchase tickets here. 1, 2 & 3pm, $5/pp.

Oct 20: Free Family Art Day | Rumriver Art Center, Anoka


MORE MEA WEEKEND IDEAS FOR THE FAMILY

Get crafty

Drop-in fall crafts at Heartfelt | Minneapolis
Price determined by craft. We love this cozy space in the Linden Hills neighborhood. You can craft alongside your kids and let them spend time browsing the playthings and reading in the treehouse. For more things to do in the neighborhood, try our list of 5 Spots to Stop in Linden Hills. Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm; Sun, noon-4pm.


Go To the Theater

What’s playing over MEA Weekend in the way of live performances for the family?

Spookley, The Square Pumpkin | Stages Theatre, Hopkins
A Stages favorite returns for another Halloween season. Tickets $14-$16.

James and the Giant Peach | Stages Theatre, Hopkins
Join James and his insect friends as they journey in a giant peach. Tickets $14-$16.

Disney’s Frozen Jr | Youth Performance Company, Minneapolis
A story of how Princesses Anna and Elsa discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. Tickets $15.00. (Check for Goldstar discounted tickets).

Expectation Station | DanceCo @ Steppingstone Theatre, St Paul
DanceCo + Engineer Paul + Roe Family Singers at SteppingStone’s beautiful theater! Read our 2017 review here.

Beauty and the Beast | Old Gem Theater, New Richmond
​Audience-participation musical. An all-kids performance of the classic fairytale. Oct 17-19 only, tickets: $10-$12. 

Snow White | Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis
2 actors play 7 dwarfs, Snow White and everyone else. Read our review here! Suggested for ages 5 & up. Tickets $15+.

Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams | Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis
The circus arts meet the rhythms of Ethiopia. This may be a good time to learn a little more about Ethiopia as a family. Read our review and parental guidance here. All Ages. Tickets $15+.


MEA Weekend at your local library

Don’t forget about your local library branch for tons of FREE programming over break (plus hours of book browsing, storytimes and Play & Learn spots). 

Anoka County Libraries: Family science, homemade stuffed animals and lots of storytimes.

Dakota County Libraries: A Halloween craft, watercolor painting and more art projects.

Carver County Libraries: Pumpkin decorating, escape rooms and DIY stickers.

Hennepin County Libraries: A theater workshop with Guthrie, nature programs and crafting.

Ramsey County Libraries: A clay workshop, building with LEGOs, and a Halloween storytime.

Washington County Libraries: Mask-making, STEM Saturdays, & family storytimes.

Explore a local toy store

Oct 19: Mischief’s Annual Costume Contest | Mischief Toy Store, St Paul
Dress in your best – there will be prizes! Get your photo taken. Plus, free candy. Mischief stocks games, art supplies and kinetic toys. Plus, for your older kids, there is a full calendar of game nights and other events nearly every Friday & Saturday evening. Costume party 10am-6pm.

All weekend:  Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store | St Paul
The Pumpkin Express Train has arrived in the shop!  Stop by to see the holiday display! Free train tables to play at and choo-choo merchandise.

Find more independent toy shops here: Twin Cities Toy Stores for Every Family.


Discover a new local museum over MEA Weekend

Bakken Museum | Minneapolis
Explore the electricity exhibits at this super kid-friendly museum. For tips on visiting with kids, try our list of 10 Things for Kids at The Bakken.

10 Things for Kids at Bakken Discovery Days

Bell Museum | St Paul
Family Discovery Days: MEA Weekend, Thursday through Sunday, enjoy science-related family fun in the education wing, a special display in Collections Cove, and some favorite Solution Studio challenges. Included with admission: $9-$12/pp.

Mill City Museum | Minneapolis
This museum was designed with care to include exhibits that appeal to a wide range of ages. Kids will love the water play room and other activities they can get their hands on. Check our list of 10 Things for Kids at Mill City Museum before you head out.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Free every day of the week and stuffed with ways to make art-going a family experience. Thurs-Fri, 10am-9pm. Sat-Sun until 5pm.

Minnesota History Center | St Paul
Nearly all the exhibits at the museum are hands-on and very family friendly. Discover our Top Things for Kids at the Minnesota History Center. $6-$12/pp.

Pavek Museum of Broadcasting | St Louis Park | $6-$8/pp

Science Museum of Minnesota | St Paul | 9:30am-9pm | $12.95-$18.95/pp plus parking

The Works Museum | Bloomington
An MEA Break Camp is offered 10/17-10/19 if you need to drop the kids off; or visit the museum as a family over the weekend. $8.50/pp.

Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum | St Paul
Special MEA Hours – Thurs. Oct. 17th  10am-3pm, plus they are always open Fri-Sun. $10/pp with discounts for groups of 4 or more.

Check our directory for other kid-friendly museum ideas.


Explore a castle

MEA Weekend at the Castle!

Oct 18 & 19: Kids at the Castle: Things That Go Bump In the Night | American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis

Every third Friday of the month (and select Saturdays), the American Swedish Institute invites you into the castle one hour before opens to explore and create and discover.  The program is designed for kiddos of the preschool variety, but kids up to 10 or 12 will enjoy it to as long as they can be aware of little ones.  My family loves this program. 9-10am, $8/family.

Before you visit, read up on our Top 4 Family Favorites at American Swedish Institute and learn about the new location of their Family Gallery.


Get Active

Oct 16-18: MEA Break Open Riding Sessions | 3rd Lair SkatePark, Golden Valley
Parental waivers required. Three sessions per day: 12-3, 3-6 & 6-9pm. $15 per session.

Hey! Find more activities for your tweens and teens on a page specially dedicated to them!

Oct 17-18: MEA Youth Open Hockey | The Rec Center, St. Louis Park
St. Louis Park is opening up The Rec Center for drop-in open hockey for kids ages 6-15. Kids should bring their own equipment and parents stick around because there will be no staff supervision. $5 per person.

Weather’s working out for MEA Weekend and you want to explore a new outdoor space? We have more than 800(!) parks to choose from in our Twin Cities Parks Directory.

No School MEA Weekend

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