Heading out to the Minnesota State Fair over Labor Day Weekend? As promised, I’ve got ten more ideas for FREE family fun to fit in between those rounds of deep-fried, on-a-stick, end-of-summer treats.
eco experience nature playground
Eco Experience Nature Adventure Play Yard – My kids could have spent hours here, digging in the sand, damming the stream, skipping stumps, and searching for the fairy house. You might not want to budget that kind of time at the Fair, but it’s worth a stop in to get some ideas on how to make your own backyard more friendly to free play. Located outside the Eco Experience building on Randall Ave. 9am – 9pm.
Arts A’Fair pop-up showcases – Catch acts like Open Eye Figure Theater, Voice of Culture Drum & Dance, Green T Productions, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre and more in the new West End Market plaza. Check your Fair Daily Schedule to see who’ll be popping up during the last weekend. Located in the KSTP Heritage Plaza at West End Market. Performances throughout the day.
EquiMania! – This interactive exhibit in the Horse Barn teaches the Fairgoer about equine health, anatomy, careers and more. You don’t have to be a horse lover to enjoy the hands-on activities as evidenced by my own little Fairgoers. Located in the Horse Barn on Judson Ave. at Ligget St. 9am – 9pm.
Floralpalooza’s Zoo-Tanical – Located in the center hall of the Ag-Hort Building, this colorful, whimsical exhibit is packed with displays from local florists. My kids loved spotting the various zoo animals in their lush habitats. Bonus: get to the exhibit early – the first 50 kids who show up get free face-painting or balloon-twisting – and you’re less likely to have to fight the crowds. Located in the Ag-Hort Building. 9am – 9pm.
Be a WCCO Fair Forecaster!
Be a WCCO Weather Fair Forecaster! – It’s a blast to watch the kids forecast the weather at this interactive exhibit. They can play around with green screens or insert themselves into a lineup of WCCO personalities. A teleprompter and touch screen helps kids deliver the forecast with style!
Extreme Canines Stunt Dog Show – Advertised as “Fur Flying Family Fun”, the show performs three times daily in the Lumberjack Arena. Lots of doggy tricks, audience participation, and a boost for pet adoption awareness. Located in the North Woods area of the Fair on Cooper St. east of Little Farm Hands. Shows at 11am, 2pm, and 4:30pm daily.
The Common Table – A brand-new exhibit that aims to teach the Fairgoer about sustainable food and get conversations started about the consequences of our food choices. Kids can draw or write in their own favorite seasonal food on a chalkboard display.
Giant Sing-Along – No need to be shy when you’re singing along to karaoke favorites with a field of other Fairgoers! Kids can snag their own mics and belt out the tunes with help from lyrics projected onto a monster screen. Located on Murphy Ave. across from the Pet Center. 9am – 8pm.
Minnesota DNR Building – There’s so much to explore at the historic DNR Building: spot local species in the Wildlife Wing, fantasy fish at the outdoor pond, and partake in free naturalist activities inside and out. Try climbing the Fire Tower for a unique birds-eye view of the Fairgrounds (open 9am-5pm weather permitting). Located in the DNR Park. 9am – 9pm.
FAN Central – A mecca of local pro sports teams and their assorted promotional games and merchandise. If you’ve got a little sports fan in the family, pop in to shoot free throws and try your hand at lacrosse. Located on Underwood St. across from the Food Building. 9am – 9pm.
Get out and enjoy the Fair before it’s going…going…GONE for another year!
About the Author: Anne Kingston is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities.