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Boreal Community Media

Visit the MN DNR at the State Fair!

Aug 20, 2018 09:25AM ● By Editor

2018 Highlights

Public lands: owned by you, managed by DNR

Visitors explore the many ways public lands and Minnesota’s natural resources are important to us, featuring interactive nature and outdoor exhibits, live animals and a variety of music and entertainment – all free!

Things to do at the State Fair DNR Park:

  • learn about your public lands
  • climb on huge boulders
  • take your photo in a giant hiking boot
  • fight off invasive species on a big touch screen
  • buy a hunting or fishing license
  • visit a camper cabin
  • climb a fire tower
  • visit an outdoor fish pond
  • buy moose stuff
  • ask DNR staff questions
  • learn about ATVs, fishing, hunting, wildlife, invasive species, outdoor recreation, plants or habitats
  • listen to music
  • watch a bird show or nature presentation
  • bring home helpful free things

Make new memories in 2018 - we look forward to your visit!


giant boot

New in 2018

Stroll through the Legacy Amendment 10-Year Anniversary exhibit. Take your photo in front of an artsy Minnesota background, gaze at a metal tree sculpture and kids draw their own park.

outdoor stage band

2018 events

Visitors can enjoy a variety of foot tapping bands and engaging nature presentations on our two stages. Take a look at our fun schedule.

fish pond


Watch over 40 species of native fish in our giant pond or view them underwater via a live webcam. All fish can be found in Minnesota’s public waters.

2018 DNR State Fair exhibit fact sheet

 Main building

  • Historic DNR building at State Fair is celebrating 84th anniversary this year.
  • The 40-foot-high building opened Sept. 1, 1934.
  • Approximately 500,000 people visit DNR building and surrounding park area each year.
  • Gate tickets in 1934 cost 25 cents. In 2018, a regular adult admission ticket costs $14.
  • Funding came from federal and state emergency relief administration and State Fair funds.
  • Civilian Conservation Corps erected the building in less than six months using machined logs.
  • DNR building is open daily during fair from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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 7 p.m.

Indoor aquariums

  • DNR renovated its indoor fish exhibit in 2013 installing five large aquariums inside the main DNR building.
  • Each tank shows 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.
  • Fire tower is on National Historic Lookout Register and is 10th best lookout in Minnesota.
  • Open daily during fair from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., weather permitting.

DNR forestry display

  • Three interactive exhibit areas opened in 2017.
  1. Step inside a giant hiking boot surrounded by huge leaves for a unique Minnesota photo.
  2. Explore a life-sized white pine tree, complete with roots a person can walk on and learn how forests create clean water.
  3. 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.

Smokey Bear

  • Smokey Bear is celebrating 74 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.

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.

Wall of Shame trailer – Turn in Poachers

  • Mounted animals and stories about how they were taken illegally.
  • 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.

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