Culled from my own personal list, kid-tested and highly approved! Find some new fun or old favorites at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair this with this handy checklist. All events are free unless noted. For a printable copy, click on the graphic at the bottom of this article.
1. Go on a Fabulous Fair Alphabet scavenger hunt • pick up supplies at the Alphabet Forest, and don’t forget to stop in for alphabet activities and to meet Minnesota authors. Baldwin Park, daily 8am-9pm
2. Ride the Giant Slide • daily, $2.50/rider
3. Play in a mock farm at Little Farm Hands • designed for ages 2-10, open daily 8am-7pm
4. Dig in the Great Big Sandbox • located in Baldwin Park, open daily 8am-9pm
5. Get a birds-eye view of the Fair from the Space Tower • $3/rider
6. Seek out the biggest, prize-winning pumpkin • Ag-Hort Building, open daily 9am-9pm
7. Gawk at the biggest boar • Swine Barn, open daily
8. Hand-milk a cow • Land O’Lakes Stage outside Cattle Barn, daily 11:30am & 1:30pm (Labor Day 11:30 only)
9. Belt some tunes at the Giant Sing Along • south of the Pet Center, daily 9am-8pm
10. Try a new food (or 10) on-a-stick! • find the list of new State Fair foods for 2016 here.
11. Play some backyard baseball at the Minnesota Twins Experience • just east of the International Bazaar
12. Take a Fine Arts Detective scavenger hunt • win a ribbon at the Fine Arts Building, daily 9am-9pm
13. Have a sit-down breakfast at Salem Lutheran Diner (opens 7am) or The Peg (opens 6:30am)
14. Catch the newborns at the CHS Miracle of Birth Center • open daily 9am-9pm (3pm Labor Day)
15. Explore the interactive EquiMania! exhibit • Horse Barn, open daily 9am-7pm (5pm Labor Day)
16. Dig and build in the Eco Experience Nature Adventure Play Yard • open daily 9am-9pm
17. While you’re at it, there’s lots more for kids inside the Eco Experience! • open daily 9am-9pm
18. Watch stunts at the 3rd Lair Skate Park • X-Zone, find daily showtimes here.
19. Get drenched on a hot day on the River Raft Ride • $5/rider
20. Enter a mini butter-carving competition! • Moo Booth, outside the Cattle Barn, 10am daily
21. Meet Princess Kay of the Milky Way or watch her being carved in butter • Dairy Building (see daily schedule)
22.Test your skills on the Boy Scouts Adventure Summit ropes course • daily
23. Play free games in FAN Central • 9am-9pm, Underwood & Dan Patch Ave.
24. Watch an Arts-In performance in the 4-H Building, plus be wowed by all the talented exhibitors • building open daily 9am-9pm, find daily performances here.
25. Catch the Timberworks Lumberjack Show • North Woods, shows daily at 12, 3, 5:30 & 7pm
26. Visit the Minnesota Farm Bureau for agritainment: scavenger hunt, family photo booth and the chance to win a free children’s book • daily 9am-9pm, Underwood St.
27. Take the Minnesota State Fair History Walking Tour • daily during Fair hours
28. Help Ye Old Mill celebrate 101 years at the Fair • $3.25/rider, find discount days here.
29. Visit the DNR Naturalist Tent for kids’ activities • 9am-9pm
30. Listen to great free acts at the Leine Lodge Bandshell • get the complete schedule here.
31. Participate in STEM Day activities at the Fair • Aug. 25 only, Carousel Park, 8am-5pm
32. Become a Kids Flower Detective • Ag-Hort Building, Aug. 29 & 30 only, 1-5pm
33. Climb the DNR Firetower • daily 9am-5pm
34. Catch Break-Shop Bump’n and other great free kids acts • new Baldwin Park Stage, schedule here.
35. Discover the new Math-on-a-Stick activities • Baldwin Park, daily 9am-8pm
36. Tour the Haunted House (if you dare – not endorsed by FFTC for young children) • daily, $4/pp
37. Save on Kidway/Midway rides with a Blue Ribbon Bargain Book • $5 per book
38. Celebrate National Park Service Centennial with hands-on activities • 8/29 only, Carousel Park
39. Chickens, roosters, ducks and other birds have returned for 2016! • Poultry Barn, 9am-9pm
40. Cross the Fair in the air on the SkyRide or SkyGlider • $4/pp one-way or $6 round-trip
41. Stumble upon an Arts A’Fair pop-up performance • various shows, find the lineup here.
42. Play some Midway games • 10am-midnight (11pm Labor Day)
43. Catch the “History on a Schtick” • Schilling Amphitheater, West End Market, daily 9:30 & 10:30am
44. Watch screenings of “State Fair Stories” • Carousel Park, 8:15pm nightly
45. Pick out blue-ribbon recipes and crafts • Creative Activities Building, daily 9am-9pm
46. Climb on a fire truck at Governor’s Fire Prevention Day • Aug. 26 only, 8am-6pm, various sites
47. Catch the All-Star Stunt Dog show • North Woods, daily at 11:30am, 2 & 4pm
48. Pick up freebies galore in the Education Building • open daily 9am-9pm
49. Learn a thing or two at the Thank a Farmer Magic Show • Christensen Farms Stage, find times here.
50. Find State Fair mascots Fairchild & Fairborne to snap a commemorative pic! • Visitors Plaza, daily 11am & 4pm. Be sure to wish Fairchild a very happy 50th birthday!