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State parks, Glensheen prove a popular Black Friday alternative for families

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While some Minnesotans joined in the Black Friday shopping frenzy, others took advantage of a different kind of bargain to be had at Minnesota's state parks.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith announced earlier this month that entry to all 75 of Minnesota's state parks would be free on Black Friday, and there were plenty of people willing to take her up on the offer.

Among them was Woodbury's Ryan Dick, who took his family to Afton State Park along as did his neighbor Nate Bolyard, and told the Pioneer Press it was far more rewarding than Black Friday shopping.

A few years back, Dick and his wife awoke at 2 a.m. to wait outside a Best Buy only to find a line of shoppers already outside the building – and he's glad he had alternative plans this year.

"Black Friday shopping is terrible," he told the newspaper "Now with the kids, this is a much more popular option than to bring them shopping and fighting off crowds.

Staff at Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul – Minnesota's most visited park – said that the Thanksgiving snowfall didn't deter hikers from paying a visit on what was a busier-than-usual Friday, according to WCCO.

Even though at $5, the daily vehicle entry fees aren't exactly wallet busters, the coverage the free Black Friday offer received seems to have persuaded some families to get outdoors and work off their Thanksgiving dinnner.

"It has been a lot of years since I really hit the state parks," Phil Orme – who was at Fort Snelling with daughter Marisa – told WCCO. "I thought it was a really cool idea, something different to do. Promotes a nice, healthy environment and healthy lifestyle."

Also busy on Black Friday was Duluth's popular Glensheen Mansion, which starting this Black Friday weekend is allowing people to take self-guided tours of the historic building, which has been set up for Christmas.

KBJR 6 reports the tours will run Friday to Sunday from Noon-4 p.m. until Jan. 3.

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