While playing the lottery is an adult-only activity, funding from the Minnesota Lottery reaches all ages. Here are just a few family-friendly places and activities that have benefitted from lottery funding:

Apple Valley Zoo

Child and Wildcat at Zoo

Did you know that the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, as well as other Minnesota-based zoos, receive funding from the lottery? That means that fun, family-oriented programming, like the Family Overnight: Animals After Dark events, may benefit from this funding. If you’re looking for a unique, exciting adventure at the Apple Valley Zoo, the Family Overnight program shows you what goes on at the zoo after the sun goes down.

There are farm-, forest-, and ocean-themed overnighters, where kids and parents can speak with a zookeeper, meet some of the animals, and spend time learning and playing games. The cost of registration includes activities as well as pizza and juice in the evening, breakfast in the morning, and a t-shirt. It’s suitable for kids ages 5 and up.

Minnesota Junior Master Naturalist Program

Child Holding Green Seedling in Hands

The Minnesota Junior Master Naturalist Program seeks to rekindle children’s curiosity about the outdoors. This program teaches kids and families about the environment, science, and the world around them with an exciting, hands-on approach. The University of Minnesota, with assistance from lottery funding, is broadening its offering of after-school programs, including outdoorsy, science-based activities and projects. The program has a special focus on economically struggling areas, and also offers a curriculum for teachers and parents with kids and families in mind.

Mesabi Trail

The Mesabi Trail in northeastern Minnesota provides pathways for hiking, biking, horseback rides, and more. While there is currently plenty of trail to enjoy, over 11 miles of added track is under construction near Vermillion State Park. Minnesota Lottery funding is helping Mesabi Trail grow to a total length of over 145 miles. The trail is family-friendly, so you can take your kids for a long bike ride or hike on a sunny weekend. Be sure to pack lots of water and some snacks, too.

Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom

The Como Woodland used to be an unruly segment of forest considered undesirable to visit due to overgrown vegetation. However, with the help of Minnesota Lottery funding, the area has now been cleaned up. This green space has been converted, in part, to the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom.

This once-wild stretch of natural land now provides seven unique “study areas” for students and children: Oak Woodland, Oak Savannah, Terrace Forest, Tall Grass Prairie, Short Grass Prairie, Transitional Woodland, and Coniferous Forest. Each designated learning area has space for 20–25 students. Not only does the Woodland provide hiking and biking paths for families, but it offers space for hands-on environmental learning.

These four spots are made possible, in part, by funding from the Minnesota Lottery. You can feel good knowing that part of every dollar you spend on lottery games in Minnesota provides families with recreational and educational experiences in and near their communities.

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