Anyone who gets their first COVID-19 vaccination shot between now and June 30 can select one of the nine freebies revealed earlier this week. The goal, Gov. Tim Walz explained, is to incentivize more Minnesotans to get vaccinated, with the state using federal relief funds to pay for these giveaways.
But which of these nine perks is the best value? Let's take a look, in order from what would normally be the most expensive, to the least expensive.
Valleyfair single-day admission - $35 (plus taxes, fees)
Daily tickets for one admission run $35, plus taxes and fees. (Keep in mind Valleyfair, as of writing, is requiring guests to make reservations - no showing up at the gate out of the blue.) However, there are frequently coupons and discounts available for Valleyfair admission.
This freebie also lets you purchase additional tickets for the same date at a discounted rate, so there is some potential for more savings.
Minnesota State Parks annual pass - $35
A one-year permit is normally $35. But keep in mind, it can only be used by one vehicle.
Nickelodeon Universe 30-point pass - $29.99 (plus tax)
Paying for a 30-point pass at Nickelodeon Universe will normally set you back $29.99 (plus tax).
Two State Fair tickets - $24-$30 (probably)
The price of State Fair admission in 2021 is still being determined, as of Friday, May 28. Also, ticket prices can fluctuate based on buying ahead of time or at the gate, as well as if you're able to take advantage of discount days. For simplicity's sake, let's use standard 2019 admission values.
Adult tickets that year (the last time it was held) were $15 for adults aged 13-64. Seniors 65 and up paid $13. The discounted pre-Fair tickets were $12 for everyone. So two tickets in 2021 will likely be a $24-$30 value.
$25 VISA card - $25
The most straightforward freebie to value - and also the most flexible, as you can spend the money just about anywhere.
Minnesota resident annual fishing license - $25
An adult annual license is $25. But a youth annual fishing license for 16-17 is $5.
Minnesota Zoo adult admission - $19.95
An adult ticket (that's for individuals 13-64) for the state's largest zoo will set non-members back $19.95. Don't forget you'll have to pay for parking though, which will run $7 for a car or van.
One ticket for the Great Lakes Aqaurium - ~$15
A single admission is normally $15 for an adult. But it's $14 for those 62 and up, and $12 for 16- and 17-year-olds.
Northwoods Baseball League tickets - Variable
This is a bit tricky, since the participating teams (Rochester Honkers, Willmar Stingers, Mankato MoonDogs, St. Cloud Rox and the Duluth Huskies) may have different prices. And the governor's office didn't specify which tickets will be free. The announcement said the tickets "are based on availability at the time of calling."
So, we looked at the seats available for each team on Tuesday, July 6 (or as close to is as possible). The cheapest tickets are in the $8-$12 range, depending on the team. Some clubs have options for special sections in the $20-$30 range.
The first 100,000 Minnesotans to receive a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine between May 27 and June 30 are eligible to request one of these incentives. Those individuals indicate their preferred reward here. Minnesotans must request their reward by 11:59 p.m. on June 30 and they'll be fulfilled on a "rolling basis" throughout the month of June and no later than July 16.