Minnesota has its own Black Friday deal: Free admission to its state parks.
All 76 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas will be free Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith announced Friday.
State parks will be competing with a day that has become one of the biggest retail shopping days of the year.
“Visiting these parks is a great way to spend time with family and loved ones, relieve stress and enjoy exercise in the great outdoors,” Smith said in a statement.
The effort to get people outside instead of descending en masse on stores and their shopping deals coincides with a similar push by REI, the outdoors gear and clothing retailer. REI, which has metro stores in Bloomington, Roseville and Maple Grove, is closing its doors — and its website — on Black Friday.
“We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles,” said Jerry Stritzke, president and CEO, in a news release last month. REI employees will get a paid day off, with encouragement to get outside.
Recent years have seen something of a backlash against Black Friday and its frantic rush for retail gold. Stampeding crowds have occasionally left shoppers injured as they have pursued flat-screen televisions or beloved toys.
Smith’s news release includes these health reminders: The average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving, well more than twice the recommended daily intake, and a brisk one-hour walk can burn 300 calories.
The Department of Natural Resources made some park suggestions to Minnesotans: walk a 3-mile loop around Pike Island at Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul, where wild turkeys can be seen near the entrance; hike along the St. Croix River at Afton State Park in Hastings; or see swans at Lake Maria State Park in Monticello.