photo courtesy Explore Minnesota
Because you really aren’t raising Minnesotans until you’ve taken the family to Grand Portage in the dead of January!
It’s halfway through Explore Minnesota’s statewide winter scavenger hunt Checkpoint MN, and more than a 1,000 visits have been logged at such Minnesota landmarks as Grand Portage, Pipestone National Monument, Lake Mille Lacs, and the Paul Bunyan Statue in Bemidji.
But you don’t have to win it to be in it: Twin Cities checkpoints include the Minneapolis Greenway, Hyland Lake Preserve, and the speed skater paradise Guidant John Rose MN OVAL—all within (or less than three miles from) the 494/694 bubble.
Just hit the checkpoint spots (have some fun with GPS), post a photo on the website (like the one above, at the Hyland Lake Preserve) , and collect points toward prizes. The goal is to thumb your nose at winter’s cold and discover our state’s outdoors, and then maybe do a little winter sporting.
“The families we've heard from are just enjoying getting outdoors to new and unique places this winter,” says Stephen Regenold, aka the Gear Junkie, whose Monopoint Media is a partner of Checkpoint MN.
The big hit with families, Regenold says, has been the Sandstone Ice Park, but if you can’t stomach the 200-mile drive, try the "roving checkpoint" at Winter Trails Day Festival at Ft. Snelling State Park, this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The first 100 people who check in there will get free FitSok socks and Clif bars. But don’t fret if you’re late, you’ll still get the opportunity to learn how skijor and build a quinzee.
And don’t fret that some of the best prizes are already claimed. “There are $40,000 worth of prizes, plus unlimited cookie and hot cocoa coupons from Holiday,” Regenold says.
Sometimes hot cocoa and a cookie are all it takes, people.
Here are the Checkpoint MN locations:
• Roseville Oval Ice Skating Rink
• Minneapolis Greenway Bike Path
• Hyland Cross-Country Ski Trail, Three Rivers Park, Bloomington
• Grand Portage National Monument
• Lutsen Mountains Ski Area
• Sandstone Ice Park (Robinson Quarry)
• Lake Mille Lacs via Hunters Point Lodge
• Bemidji's Paul Bunyan & Babe Statues
• Colvill Park, Red Wing
• Pipestone National Monument