With all of its shops and eateries, the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport is full of reasons why you might want to show up early for your flight. After all, it's been ranked the best airport of its size in North America and offers a ton of food options.
But this week it's especially important.
Monday marks the beginning of MEA week – the mid-October break that gives students Thursday and Friday off – meaning one last shot at a non-winter mini vacation.
"MEA week is typically one of the busiest weeks of the year at the airport, with many families taking advantage of the kids’ time off of school to take one last vacation before the snow flies,” Phil Burke, director of MSP Airport operations said in a news release.
Burke said this year is no exception. The airport is asking travelers to arrive at least two hours prior to their flight to ensure they have enough time to park, check in, go through security and get to their gate.
There are a bunch of activities to distract you
While travelers are waiting for their flights this week, MSP has some special events and activities planned to keep kids and their adults entertained. (It's something airport staff do every MEA week.)
This year, MSP said the focus is on S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and how it can be found everywhere. Every shop and restaurant in the airport will have a S.T.E.M. fact posted outside its door, for example.
Among the activities planned is an attempt to break a world record.
Angel Food Bakery & Donut Bar (located on Concourse E at Terminal 1) will try to break the Guinness World Record for engineering the highest stack of doughnuts, MSP said in the release.
The current record – 43.5 inches high – was set by 20th Century Fox and Capital Radio for the British premiere of The Simpsons Movie in 2007.
Science Museum of Minnesota educators will also be at the airport several days this week to help kids build "super structures" using only wooden dowels and rubber bands.
And there will be air dancers and special deals throughout the airport.
There are some free goodies too. Families should be on the lookout for airport staff, who will be handing out drawstring swag bags.
What's MEA week, anyway?
The Minnesota Educator Academy (MEA) conference is "union-sponsored professional development for educators, by educators," the website says.
The conference is held at Saint Paul RiverCentre in downtown St. Paul on the third Thursday and Friday of October each year.
It includes a full day of activities on Thursday (which are free and open to the public) and a half-day program on Friday (which is just for Education Minnesota members only). Check out more info here.