Which of Minnesota's 9 COVID vaccine freebies is the best deal?

We rank them, from priciest to least expensive.
Publish date:

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.

Next Up

milk bar cake crop

Famous Milk Bar bakery hosts pop-up in Twin Cities

The virtual event only lasts for a few days, with limited quantities available.

Flickr - police barricades dismantle uptown - Chad Davis

MN National Guard soldiers 'standing by' to respond in Minneapolis

Mayor Jacob Frey asked Gov. Tim Walz for National Guard support Wednesday.

tom burke

Charges: Wisconsin star, former NFL player sexually assaulted a child

The child told her mother about the assaults in February, charges say.

Screen Shot 2021-06-14 at 8.45.06 AM

Charges: Drunk driver accelerated 'to jump barricade' in crash that killed protester

Prosecutors say it was "an extreme and violent intentional act."

Screen Shot 2021-06-16 at 9.29.50 AM

Through little fault of its own, Minnesota BBQ joint goes viral

A picture of its ribs was enough to attract the attention of the culinary world.

Flickr - COVID vaccine Joint Base San Antonio

More than 3 million Minnesotans have had at least 1 vaccine dose

The milestone comes almost 6 months to the day since the first vaccine was given in the state.


Flickr - Indy 500

Dozens of businesses introduce COVID vaccine rewards

The incentives were highlighted by the White House Wednesday.

Flickr - 14 year old vaccine shot - Navy Medicine

MDH reveals first COVID vaccination figures for 12-15 age group

One-fifth of Minnesota's young teens have at least one shot.

Pixabay =- pint beer

More breweries offer free beer with COVID vaccine

Sign up to get a free vaccine followed by a free pint.

covid-19, vaccine

5th Minnesota county clears 70% adult vaccination rate

Another 18 counties are closing in on the mark.

Xcel Energy Center

Wild, Twins, Lynx, United will offer COVID vaccine for free at upcoming games

Attendees will be able to walk up and get a vaccine for free.

University of Minnesota

U of M won't require COVID-19 vaccination for fall semester

The university's president called it "a complex and personal issue."

COVID rewards website

How to claim your COVID-19 vaccination reward

Here is where you'll need to go, and what information you'll need.