DNR’s State Fair exhibit educates visitors about public lands, entertains all ages

Educational displays, exhibits, presentations, music and entertainment highlight the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ annual exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair, which runs Aug. 22-Sept. 2 in Falcon Heights.

This year’s theme is, “Public lands, owned by you, managed by DNR.”

“We know Minnesotans truly value public lands for recreation, conservation and their economic benefits,” said Dawn Flinn, who helps coordinate the DNR exhibits. “Minnesotans are passionate about the state’s natural resources. Our exhibit is great way for us to spread the word about how interesting, important and exciting it is to experience nature on public lands near you.”

The DNR’s iconic State Fair log building opened 85 years ago; its park-like location provides fairgoers with a unique opportunity to experience the outdoors in the midst of carnival rides and food stands.

“It’s a popular state fair landmark, meeting place and must-visit destination that has helped generations of people create life-long memories,” Flinn said.

The new Legacy Amendment exhibit in the DNR building features information about Legacy-funded parks and trails projects. The exhibit includes an Instagrammable 17-foot waterfall and other photo opportunities, a game where people can show the DNR how they would choose to spend Legacy dollars, an award-winning website that lets people search state and regional parks and trails all in one place, and a children’s play area.

Inside the DNR building, fairgoers can see displays about forestry, wildlife, rocks and minerals, aquatic invasive species and public lands.   Other features include:

  • Photo opportunities from the giant hiking boot in the forestry exhibit.
  • The outdoor fish pond with about three dozen fish species.
  • The DNR fire tower; visitors can climb its 84 steps.
  • Presentations and musicians on the DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage and Garden Stage.

Fair visitors can buy hunting and fishing licenses and state park vehicle permits at the DNR building. Les Kouba Outdoors will have merchandise for sale at a booth just east of the outdoor fishpond. A portion of the merchandise sales will fund DNR’s moose research.

For a schedule of events, including those where DNR commissioner and Gov. and Lt Gov. are scheduled to make appearances, visit mndnr.gov/events/statefair/schedules.html.

The DNR’s State Fair building and surrounding park area are located at the corner of Carnes Avenue and Nelson Street in Falcon Heights. It will be open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily during the fair.