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DNR's iconic state fair exhibit educates, entertains visitors

Visitors enjoy the DNR's fish pond at the Minnesota State Fair. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota DNR.

A wide range of educational displays, exhibits, presentations along with music and entertainment highlight the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' annual exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair, which runs Aug. 24-Sept. 4.

"The DNR building and surrounding park area serves as a landmark, a meeting place and a must-visit educational and entertainment destination," said Dawn Flinn, who helps coordinate the DNR exhibit, in a news release. "It's where generations of fairgoers have created life-long memories."

About 500,000 people visit the DNR's building and exhibit area during the fair.

"Minnesotans are passionate about the state's natural resources," she said. "This is a great way for us to spread the word about how interesting, important and exciting nature is."

This year's DNR State Fair theme is Wonderful Water. "We'll have displays and signs that emphasize the link between clean water and natural resources heath and recreation," Flinn said.

What's new?

• Step inside a giant hiking boot surrounded by huge leaves for a unique Minnesota photo. Just imagine what it is like to experience a real Minnesota forest.

• Wonderful Water Day, booths and presentations related to water (Sept. 1).

• Explore a life-sized white pine tree, complete with roots a person can walk on and learn how forests create clean water.

• Gaze upon a wall of tree cookies 11 feet tall — all native, Minnesota trees.

• A kayak and paddleboard simulator so people can experience two of fastest growing paddle sports.

• Interactive theater production: "Da Range — Minnesota Iron Range Comes to Life" (Aug. 28).

• Iron "Ore" man, photo op of person dressed in a northern Minnesota clothing from early 21st century (Aug. 28).

• Explore interactive displays to learn how to prevent spread of invasive species.

• Small children's nature play area with climbing boulders and rock interpretation.

Displays inside the DNR building cover a wide range of natural resource topics including state parks and trails, rocks and minerals, watersheds, aquatic invasive species, state lands and forests. People can also buy hunting and fishing licenses at the DNR building.

The outdoor fish pond and indoor fish tanks give visitors a chance learn about the different fish that call Minnesota home. This year's exhibit features about three dozen fish species.

The DNR fire tower will be open for people who are interested in climbing the 84 steps to get a bird's-eye view of the State Fairgrounds.

There also will be a number of presentations and musicians on the DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage, the Garden Stage and the Forest Stage.

For schedule of events, visit

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.