And just like that, the end of summer is just around the corner. It is time to start thinking about the grand finale of Minnesota Summer – “The Great Minnesota Get Together!” For over 130 years Minnesotans and others from around the country have made their way to the Minnesota State Fair, evidenced by the fact that it boasts the largest daily attendance of any State Fair in North America. This potpourri of food and fun covers over 320 acres of land and has something for everyone. The beer tents and the grandstand concerts attract the grown-ups, but there are a ton of fun things for kids, too. If you and your family are heading out to the fair this year, here are some family-friendly attractions you won’t want to miss:
There are dozens of different animal exhibits at the fair. You can see horses and farm animals. Llamas and alpacas. Rabbits and chickens. Birds and fish. Butterflies and reptiles. And much, much more. The fair provides a great opportunity for your child to learn all about the different kinds of animals. Where do they live? What do they eat? What are their babies called? Would they make a good pet?
Visit the barns and the livestock areas to see a variety of animals on display. You can see horse shows, cattle demonstrations, and even a llama costume contest. (Check out the “Animal Schedule” on the Minnesota State Fair website for more information.) After visiting the barns, head on over to the DNR Building and park area to see a raptor demonstration, look for fish in the giant pond, check out aquariums and terrariums and even get some tips on outdoor recreation.
Be sure to stop by and check out Monty’s Traveling Reptile Show and Bob’s Snake Zoo to get an up-close look at creepy, crawly critters and creatures and learn all about them, too. Then pop into the Butterfly House and watch these beautiful flying insects soar all around you. Be sure to tell your kids about the important things people are doing to keep butterflies from becoming extinct.
Family Fair at Baldwin Park
The Family Fair at Baldwin Park is made for kids, and for grown-ups who like to act like kids! Here you will find the Alphabet Forest and Math On-A-Stick providing fun opportunities to learn about letters and numbers. There is also the Family Fair Stage where a steady display of dancing, juggling, magic and more will keep everyone entertained in the shade. And of course, the Great Big Sandbox is always a hit!
Little Farm Hands
You’ve seen the farm animals, now it’s time to make your way to the Little Farm Hands exhibit and let your kids experience a little bit of life on the farm. They will get a glimpse into the busy life of a farm hand, “beginning at the farm and ending at the market.” Experiencing some of these hands-on tasks might give them a little appreciation for their own chores when they see how hard kids on the farm work!
Giant Sing Along
A field of colorful microphones makes up the biggest karaoke stage around and invites everyone to join in on the sing-along. Whether your child wants to sing along or would rather just watch mom or dad perform, this is bound to create some memories!
For the adventurer in all of us, there is plenty to do in Adventure Park. Even if your young ones aren’t quite ready to brave the Rock-Climbing Wall or the Giant Sling Shot, they will be amazed by the daredevil stunts of the BMX bikers and skateboarders at the 3rd Lair Skate Park. (Check out the fair’s website for specific show times.)
We didn’t even mention the Giant Slide and Kidway! Or the Go Karts and the River Raft Ride! And what about the more than 30 new foods at the fair this year? There is no shortage of fun (or food) to be had at the Minnesota State Fair. You might have to go more than once to experience it all!