Culled from my own personal list, kid-tested and highly approved! Find some new family fun or old favorites at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair with this handy checklist. All events are FREE unless noted.
1. Go on a Fabulous Fair Alphabet scavenger hunt | Baldwin Park, daily 8am-9pm | Pick up supplies at the Alphabet Forest, and stop in for alphabet activities and to meet Minnesota authors.
2. Ride the Giant Slide | Daily, $2.50/rider
3. Play in a sweet junior mock farm at Little Farm Hands – plant, harvest and spend your earnings at market | Designed for ages 2-10, open daily 8am-7pm
4. Dig in the Great Big Sandbox – shovels and pails provided | 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 | Agriculture-Horticulture Building, open daily 9am-9pm.
7. Gawk at the biggest boar | Swine Barn, open daily 9am-9pm.
8. Hand-milk a real cow | Land O’Lakes Stage outside Cattle Barn, daily 11:30am & 1:30pm (Labor Day 11:30 only)
9. Play some backyard baseball at the Minnesota Twins Experience | Just east of the International Bazaar
10. Try a new food (or 10) on-a-stick! | Find the list of new State Fair foods for 2018.
11. Belt some tunes karoake-style at the Giant Sing Along | Underwood St, daily 9am-8pm
12. Take a Fine Arts Detective scavenger hunt | Fine Arts Building | Complete the hunt and win a ribbon, daily 9am-9pm.
14. Catch the newborns, or even a live birth (if you can handle it!) 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, build, splash around and seek out fairy houses in the Eco Experience Nature Adventure Play Yard. Just be prepared; if your kids are like mine, they’ll negotiate to stay all morning | Open daily 9am-9pm
17. While you’re at it, there’s lots more for kids inside the Eco Experience! | Open daily 9am-9pm
19. Get drenched on the River Raft Ride – please save this one for an exceptionally hot day at the Fair | $5/rider
20. Keep real still in the Butterfly House and see what might land on your finger, shoulder, head – or even your nose! | 8am-10pm, $3/pp
21. Meet the newly-crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way or watch her likeness carved in butter, a tradition dating back more than 50 years at the State Fair | Dairy Building, see daily schedule.
22.Test your skills on the Boy Scouts Adventure Summit ropes course. Waiver and closed-toe shoes required. | Next to Eco Experience, daily starting at 9am.
23. Play free games such as basketball free throws, try out other sports and win prizes from your favorite pro sports teams in FAN Central | Underwood & Dan Patch Ave, 9am-9pm
24. Be wowed by all the talented youth performing in the Minnesota 4-H State Arts-In program plus play simulator games, tinker with building materials and watch fashion shows | 4-H Building open daily 9am-9pm, find daily performances here.
25. Cheer on your favorite Jack or Jill at 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
27. Take the MN State Fair History Walking Tour – or just complete a few stops. It’s fun to learn a little about the history of those iconic buildings as you pass by | Daily during Fair hours
28. Help Ye Old Mill celebrate 104 years at the Fair (note of caution: the original tunnel-of-love ride is pitch black in many spots which may or may not sway your vote) | $3.25/rider
29. Visit the DNR Naturalist Tent for kids’ activities and meet Smokey the Bear | Daily, 9am-9pm
30. Cross the Fair in the air on the SkyRide or SkyGlider | $4/pp one-way or $6 round-trip
31. Participate in STEM Day activities at the Fair – robots, science experiments, a traveling planetarium and much more | Carousel Park, Aug 23 only, 8am-5pm
32. Do you know your blooms? Become a Kids Flower Detective and win a ribbon | Ag-Hort Building, 2 dates only, check the daily schedule for details, 1-5pm
33. Climb 65 feet to the summit of the DNR Firetower and get a birds-eye view of the Fairgrounds – work up an appetite for more of that fair food! | Daily, 9am-5pm
34. Catch hilarious juggler Sean Emery and other great free kid-friendly performances, most of which invite kids to get in on the action | Baldwin Park Stage, schedule here.
35. Discover the new Math-on-a-Stick activities. Not particularly tasty, but the kids will absolutely find them worth a stop | Baldwin Park, daily 9am-8pm
36. Tour the Haunted House (if you dare – not endorsed by FFTC for young children!). Or, just gawk from the safety of the sidewalk. If you time it right, you might catch a tribute to “Thriller”! | Daily, $4/pp
37. Save on Kidway/Midway rides with a Blue Ribbon Bargain Book.These can be purchased at kiosks on the Fairgrounds or in advance at the State Fair box office and select Cub Foods locations| $5/book
38. Climb all over the John Deeres on what’s left of Machinery Hill | Daily
39. Catch a rooster crowing contest if your ears will allow it! | Poultry Barn, Aug 29 & 30 only, 11am
40. Listen to great free acts at the Leine Lodge Bandshell or Baldwin Park stage | Get the complete schedule here.
42. Play some Midway games | 10am-midnight (11pm Labor Day)
43. Brush up on your Minnesota trivia at the “History on a Schtick” show – we promise it’s a history lesson even the kids will enjoy and participate in | Schilling Amphitheater, West End Market, daily 9:30 & 10:30am
44. Watch screenings of “State Fair Stories” | Carousel Park, 8:15pm nightly
45. Let your mouth water over all the blue-ribbon recipes | Creative Activities Building, daily 9am-9pm
46. Climb on a fire truck at Governor’s Fire Prevention Day, learn about fire safety and watch firefighters suit up | Aug 24 only, 8am-6pm, various sites
47. Catch the cunning canines starring in the All-Star Stunt Dogs Splash show | North Woods, daily at 11:30am, 2 & 4pm.
48. Pick up freebies galore in the Education Building – serious, my kids call this the “Halloween Building” because it’s the next best thing to trick-or-treating | Open daily 9am-9pm
49. Learn some fascinating farmer facts at the Thank a Farmer Magic Show. Again, be assured they’ll make it fun for the kids, too | Christensen Farms Stage outside the Miracle of Birth Barn, find times here.
50. Find State Fair mascots Fairchild & Fairborne to snap a commemorative pic! | Visitors Plaza, daily 11am & 4pm.