A wide range of educational displays, exhibits, presentations along with music and entertainment highlight the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources annual exhibit at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair, which runs Aug. 25-Sept. 5.
“The DNR building and surrounding park area is a favorite of many fairgoers,” said Dawn Flinn, who helps coordinates the DNR exhibit. “Minnesotans are passionate about the state’s natural resources. This is a great way for us to spread the word about how interesting, important and exciting nature is.”
About 500,000 people visit the DNR’s State Fair exhibit each year.
The DNR’s theme this year is: “Nature Rocks! Fish, Fossils, Forests, Oh My!”
Main DNR building
Historic DNR building is celebrating 82nd anniversary this year.
- The 40-foot-high building opened Sept. 1, 1934.
- Gate tickets in 1934 cost 25 cents. Today, a regular adult admission ticket costs $13.
- 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 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.
- There are about 35 species of fish in the pond.
- Educational fish pond talks take place at quarter to the hour daily, from 9:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.
DNR forestry display
- Interactive exhibits inside DNR building designed to simulate walking into a forest.
- Five information trees will engage the public on: forest stewardship, urban trees, forest products, fire and forests, and Minnesota’s biomes.
- The fire tree will allow visitors to experience the sights and sounds of a forest fire and learn about how the DNR works to minimize fire risk in Minnesota.
- Visitors can explore using the tools foresters use in the woods everyday – clinometers and increment borers.
- The forest products tree will allow visitors to seek and discover Minnesota forest products common in their everyday lives.
- An interactive floor model puzzle of dimensional lumber illustrates how much wood comes from a log.
Land and minerals display
- Interactive display located in theater area inside DNR building.
- “Blast Shack” takes historical look at mining in Minnesota and features actual footage of iron ore blasted from an active mine that includes sound. Old-fashioned plunger provides kids with opportunity to get a feel of what it’s like to set off a blast.
- “What is Under Your House,” display will allow people to check out geology/type of rocks under their house.
- A “Minnesota Bedrock Geology Quilt” – an 84-inch wide by 108-inch long quilt using 80 colors that show the bedrock geology of Minnesota.
- A hands-on display of Minnesota-found fossils, co-sponsored by the Science Museum of Minnesota.
Stand-up paddleboard simulator
- Stand-up paddleboarding is the fastest growing paddle sport in Minnesota.
- Simulator is free and located near DNR fish pond.
- Experience lasts about three minutes. All ages welcome; parental participation required for children under 8 years of age.
- Variety of life jacket styles, including inflatables, will be available to try on.
- Simulator will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Wall of Shame trailer
- Mounted animals and stories of how they were taken illegally.
- 16-foot long lighted trailer.
- Display located on south side of building.
DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage
A variety of groups will offer demonstrations and music on the DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage.
DNR conservation officers will demonstrate how their patrol dogs detect wild game and fish hidden out of sight, apprehend people, along with a special demo on finding invasive species zebra mussels on items.
Musical acts include: Axiom, Bitter Ridge, BLT Band (Bill Lommel and Troop), Darlene and the Boys, Ecuador Manta, Girls Night Out, Joe Meyer Band, Johnny Z and the Zingrays, Red Rock Swing Band, Standing Room Only (SRO), The May North, The Roxy Hall Band.