The Mini Grand Challenge outdoor robot design contest was developed at the Penn State Abington campus to promote advances in robot education and technology. Partly inspired by the DARPA Grand Challenge, ground robots must navigate unmarked pathways on a suburban college campus and reach waypoint goals. Robots must also interact and entertain spectators during travel along the designated route. The contest facilitates and encourages the use of low-cost robot platforms in order to make the experience highly accessible to students and educators. A successful robot platform for less than $300 was developed by Penn State Abington for participation in the 2005 and 2006 contest offerings. The outdoor contest and low-cost platforms provide a challenging but accessible educational opportunity for robotics and AI education at the undergraduate and K-12 levels.