The best Thursday I've ever had at a national competition was 7th grade. Why? Because it was at Ohio State... which if you've ever been to the area... it is the midwest. I mean, yeah if you looked hard enough I'm sure you could find a museum or something. But since there wasn't much to do, we all just hung out. The best part of it was the team going to this mini-golf area, where we just messed around and bonded forever. Minigolf, go karts, and laser tag, and we didn't pay for most of it, the school did.
How much fun you have at nationals has less to do with the location, and more to do with how much you love your team. Good teams will have fun no matter the conditions... though OSU did push it. On Friday all the teams tour the campus, check out the homeroom, and find events and such. Well, OSU is like the king of superhuge campuses. Very very spread out. While they kept the competition mostly in one area, the ceremonies and WS were wayyy out there (so was Bottle Rocket if I remember right). So one of the people on our team ended up fainting, because we were wandering around all day in the 95 degree blazing sun.
But really, nationals makes SO worth every minute you put into it. So so rewarding, even if you don't medal or anything.
Valparaiso, Indiana SO Alumnus
Ben Franklin MS
Harvard University 2012
Nationals: OSU '03, Juniata '04, Wichita State '07, George Washington '08 -- Team place: 22, 18, 11, 11