Minnesotans are bundling up and joining in on the ultimate winter adventure - the Explore Minnesota Scavenger Hunt. In its second year, outdoor enthusiasts can travel to a dozen checkpoints across the state, take a picture and win prizes. See pictures on Twitter using #onlyinMN.
Checkpoint MN started on Dec. 11, 2014, and it runs through March 5, 2015. Last year was the inaugural run of the scavenger hunt. This year, two more checkpoints have been added, the Park Rapids Enterprise reports.
Alyssa Ebel of Explore Minnesota tells the Winona Daily News the idea is to boost winter tourism, which accounts for a quarter of the state's tourism revenue. It's a $12.5 billion industry.
“It is a great way to show off those iconic winter destinations,” Ebel says.
This year's destinations:
– International Wolf Center, Ely
— Giants Ridge Ski Area, Biwabik
— Aerial Lift Bridge, Duluth
— Mississippi Headwaters in Itasca State Park, Park Rapids
— Stickwork at College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, Collegeville
— Rice Park, Downtown St. Paul
— Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, Odessa
— Minneopa Falls in Minneopa State Park, Mankato
— Lake Lodge Recreation Center, Winona
— Elm Creek Park Reserve, Maple Grove
— Detroit Lakes City Beach, Detroit Lakes
— Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer
Participants don't have to hurry through all the checkpoints, but one newspaper editor decided to go through all 12 checkpoints in 71 hours.
Forest Lakes Times Editor Jason DeMoe writes:
"We were the first to check in at that location. It was exhilarating, and we wanted more. Although the original plan was to head home after Rice Park, adrenaline was flowing freely, and we drove on to the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth for check-in No. 2. As the sun began rising, we checked Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer off the list."
Checkpoints will also be set up at winter events, including the Eden Prairie ice castle, the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships Jan. 15 - 18 in Minneapolis, and the Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival Jan. 24 at the State Fairgrounds.