The conference will be held in St.Paul, Minnesota, "twin city" to Minneapolis. Although we can't guarantee the weather, mid-September in the Twin Cities area is typically gorgeous -- temperatures in the mid-70's with clear, sunny skies. Minneapolis features a chain of city lakes -- Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriett run into the beautiful Minnehaha Parkway which leads to Lake Hiawatha and Lake Nokomis and Minnehaha Falls -- all connected with miles of walking, biking and roller-blading paths. Sailboats, canoes, sailboards, bikes and rollerblades are all available for rental. Or stroll along the Mississippi River. Or Como Park and zoo and oriental gardens (not far from the conference center).

If the weather happens to betray us, try the MALL OF AMERICA -- yep, the largest indoor shopping mall in the U.S.A., complete with indoor Camp Snoopy Amusement Park with roller coaster, log flume, arcades and rides for all ages.

Or visit the Minnesota Zoo which has an ingenious arrangement of indoor exhibits (so we can enjoy it during the winter) and outdoor exhibits which can be seen from a slow-moving monorail if the weather's too bad to enjoy a stroll. Downtown St. Paul features a terrific Children's Museum, Science Museum and several live theatre venues.

We've got a great music and theatre scene, as well as a more than respectable collection of restaurants -- including the first (and maybe still the only) Kurdish restaurant in the U.S.

So, if you can tack an extra day or two on to your conference visit, or want to bring along your family for a fall mini-vacation, the Twin Cities in mid-September is really a terrific place to visit. You betcha'.

Sponsored by ­ Southwest Family Services, Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and at the University of Minnesota: The Department of Family Social Science, the Consortium of Children, Youth and Families, and The School of Journalism.

Conference Organizers ­ Curiosity Productions: Ken Stewart, Ph.D. & Sara Wright, Ph.D.

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