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Dakota Electric Association members and their families should mark the date for the sixteenth-annual Member Appreciation Event on July 25 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. During the event, Dakota Electric provides complimentary admission to the Minnesota Zoo for those who purchase electricity from the cooperative.

Tickets to the event were included in recent electric bills, or members may bring a copy of a recent bill. Members attending the event are encouraged to bring food or cash to be donated to local food shelves. In the last 15 years, Dakota Electric’s members have donated nearly 11 tons of food and more than $7,000 toward local food shelves.

“Food shelves have a lot of demand on them in the summer, so we encourage our members to be generous when they attend the event,” President and CEO Greg Miller said. “Dakota Electric is a not-for-profit electric cooperative, so this member-only event is our way of showing our appreciation to our members.”

New this year, Dakota Electric is offering a photo contest for those who want to submit a picture from their time at the event. Details and information can be found on Dakota Electric’s Facebook page, and contestants can win a zoo membership or VISA® gift cards.

Cooperative members can enjoy the zoo’s many exhibits, such as Africa! Returns, Penguins of the African Coast, Russia’s Grizzly Coast, the Minnesota Trail, World of Birds Show, free monorail rides and more. Visitors on this special member-only event can see the zoo’s new temporary feature, DINOSAURS!, for an extra $4 charge. The IMAX Theater has a special discount for Dakota Electric members to see the movies: Kenya 3D and Pacific Rim 3D. Those interested in IMAX movies should check the IMAX website for show times.

Dakota Electric’s guests will also enjoy music from the Barbary Coast Dixieland Band and close-up magic by Bob Miller. Children can enjoy the splash pad, the Woodland Adventure play area and Louie the Lightning Bug, Dakota Electric’s safety mascot who will be greeting children. Dakota Electric welcomes its members and their families to enjoy this great family event.