Wildlife at the Minnesota State Fair

My favorite part of the Minnesota State Fair, besides the food, has always been the Minnesota DNR area. Why is it my favorite place to hang out at the fair? Read on and you’ll see why.

 

DNR’s iconic state fair exhibit educates, entertains visitors

A wide range of educational displays, exhibits, presentations along with music and entertainment highlight the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ annual exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair, which runs Aug. 24-Sept. 4.

“The DNR building and surrounding park area serves as a landmark, a meeting place and a must-visit educational and entertainment destination,” said Dawn Flinn, who helps coordinate the DNR exhibit. “It’s where generations of fairgoers have created life-long memories.”

About 500,000 people visit the DNR’s building and exhibit area during the fair.

“Minnesotans are passionate about the state’s natural resources,” she said. “This is a great way for us to spread the word about how interesting, important and exciting nature is.”

This year’s DNR State Fair theme is Wonderful Water. “We’ll have displays and signs that emphasize the link between clean water and natural resources heath and recreation,” Flinn said.

What’s new?

  • DNR building is open daily during fair from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Civilian Conservation Corps erected the building in less than six months using machined logs.
  • Funding came from federal and state emergency relief administration and State Fair funds.
  • Gate tickets in 1934 cost 25 cents. Today, a regular adult admission ticket costs $14.
  • Approximately 500,000 people visit DNR building and surrounding park area each year.
  • The 40-foot-high building opened Sept. 1, 1934.
  • Historic DNR building at State Fair is celebrating 83rd anniversary this year.
  • Displays inside the DNR building cover a wide range of natural resource topics including state parks and trails, rocks and minerals, watersheds, aquatic invasive species, state lands and forests. People can also buy hunting and fishing licenses at the DNR building.The outdoor fish pond and indoor fish tanks give visitors a chance learn about the different fish that call Minnesota home. This year’s exhibit features about three dozen fish species.The DNR fire tower will be open for people who are interested in climbing the 84 steps to get a bird’s-eye view of the State Fairgrounds.There also will be a number of presentations and musicians on the DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage, the Garden Stage and the Forest Stage.For schedule of events, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/events/statefair/schedules.html.

    The DNR’s State Fair building and surrounding park area are located at the corner of Carnes Avenue and Nelson Street in Falcon Heights. It will be open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily during the fair.

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    2017 DNR State Fair exhibit fact sheet

    Main building

  • Small children’s nature play area with climbing boulders and rock interpretation.
  • Explore interactive displays to learn how to prevent spread of invasive species.
  • Iron “Ore” man, photo op of person dressed in a northern Minnesota clothing from early 21st century (Aug. 28).
  • Interactive theater production: “Da Range – Minnesota Iron Range Comes to Life” (Aug. 28).
  • A kayak and paddleboard simulator so people can experience two of fastest growing paddle sports.
  • Gaze upon a wall of tree cookies 11 feet tall – all native, Minnesota trees.
  • Explore a life-sized white pine tree, complete with roots a person can walk on and learn how forests create clean water.
  • Wonderful Water Day, booths and presentations related to water (Sept. 1).
  • Step inside a giant hiking boot surrounded by huge leaves for a unique Minnesota photo. Just imagine what it is like to experience a real Minnesota forest.
  • Fish pond
  • Fish exhibit is one of State Fair’s most popular attractions.
  • Pond holds about 50,000 gallons of water. It is kidney-shaped and is about 100 feet by 50 feet.
  • Fish pond talks take place at quarter to the hour daily, from 9:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Indoor aquariums
  • There are five tanks that show fish in their native Minnesota habitat: trout of southeastern Minnesota; fish of the St. Croix River; and species of central, southern and northern Minnesota lakes.
  • Aquariums are built lower to the ground, making it easier for more guests to see the turtles, fish and other species.
  • Combined aquarium capacity of more than 5,000 gallons of water, the same amount of water the average family of four uses in a month.
  • When full, tanks weigh about 118,000 pounds or about the weight of 118 Minnesota moose.
  • Aquariums are open daily during fair from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Fire tower
  • Specifically built for State Fair to provide a wildfire prevention message to visitors.
  • Opened in 1966 and was closed in 1978 because of safety concerns. Was repaired and reopened in 2006.
  • It is 65 feet tall and there are 84 steps from bottom to top.
  • There is no charge to climb fire tower stairs to get birds-eye view of fair.
  • Weather permitting, fire tower open daily during fair from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Land and minerals display
  • “Blast Shack” takes historical look at mining in Minnesota and features actual footage of iron ore blasted from an active mine that includes sound. Old-fashioned plunger provides kids with opportunity to get a feel of what it’s like to set off a blast.
  • “What is Under Your House,” display will allow people to check out geology/type of rocks under their house.
  • A “Minnesota Bedrock Geology Quilt” – an 84-inch wide by 108-inch long quilt using 80 colors that show the bedrock geology of Minnesota.
  • A hands-on display of Minnesota-found fossils, co-sponsored by the Science Museum of Minnesota.
  • Interactive theater production: “Da Range – Minnesota Iron Range Comes to Life” (Aug. 28).
  • “Living statue” of an iron miner available for photo opportunities on Monday, Aug. 28 from noon until 5 p.m.
  • Display open daily during fair from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Located inside DNR State Fair building.
  • Camper cabin
  • Fairgoers can step inside the 24-foot by 12-foot camper cabin that’s on display.
  • Cabins are built to provide a “camping out” experience within the comfort of four walls.
  • Cabin has two sets of bunks. Also includes a picnic table and fire ring with grill.
  • There are more than 80 camper cabins available to rent in state parks and recreational areas around the state.
  • Many cabins include electricity, and some are wheelchair accessible.
  • Camper cabin display model open daily during the fair from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Located in DNR Park, near southwest corner of DNR building.
  • DNR forestry display
  • Three new interactive exhibit areas.
  • Step inside a giant hiking boot surrounded by huge leaves for a unique Minnesota photo. Just imagine what it is like to step into a real Minnesota forest!
  • Explore a life-sized white pine tree, complete with roots a person can walk on and learn how forests create clean water.
  • Gaze upon a wall of tree cookies 11 feet tall – all native, Minnesota trees.
  • Walk into a “forest” of interactive, informational trees on: forest stewardship, urban trees, forest products, fire and forests and Minnesota’s biomes.
  • Play with a puzzle of dimensional lumber to learn how much wood comes from a log.
  • Explore the tools foresters use in the woods every day – clinometer, increment borer and drip torch.
    Exhibit is open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. in DNR Building.
  • Stand-up paddleboard and kayak simulators
  • Stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking are the fastest growing paddle sports in Minnesota.
  • Simulators are free and located near the DNR fish pond.
  • Experience lasts about three minutes. All ages welcome; parental participation required for children under 8 years of age.
  • Variety of life jacket styles, including inflatables, will be available to try on.
  • Simulators open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
  • Wall of Shame trailer – Turn in Poachers
  • Mounted animals and stories about how they were taken illegally.
  • 16-foot long lighted trailer.
  • Display located on south side of DNR building.
  • Wildlife Wing
  • Fairgoers can learn about Minnesota species and wildlife habitat.
  • Special sound and lighting effects help create an experience of moving from day to night and through the four seasons, as visitors walk through the display.
  • Master naturalist volunteers available to answer wildlife questions.
  • Display located in DNR building and is open daily during fair from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Invasive species display
  • Learn about the invasive species present in Minnesota.
  • Explore interactive displays to learn the actions people can take to prevent invasive species.
  • People can clean, drain and dispose to stop aquatic invasive species and PlayCleanGo to stop invasive species on land.
  • Check out the PlayCleanGo pledge wall to pledge to clear gear to Stop Invasive Species In Your Tracks.
  • See examples of invasive animals and plants and the impacts they can have.
  • Talk with DNR staff and volunteers about invasive species questions.
  • Smokey Bear
  • Smokey Bear is celebrating 73 years of reminding children and their parents about the dangers of wildfires.
  • Smokey Bear makes daily appearances at DNR Park at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
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  • I love it when our guests share their photos of their Boundary Waters canoe trips.

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