30 Free Things to do at Minnesota State Fair That Your Kids Will Love


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30 Free Things to do at Minnesota State Fair That Your Kids Will Love

There are so many free things to do at the Minnesota State Fair that it’s impossible to list them all and even more impossible to do them all in one day. Here’s a huge list of things that your family will totally enjoy at the MN State Fair plus a few tips to help you save money and maximize your time!

*Many thanks to Visit Roseville MN for sponsoring my trip to the MN State Fair. All opinions are mine.*

I’ve shared my excitement for State Fairs before. We are a State Fair Family having attended the California, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, and Missouri State Fairs. Dan was raised on a farm and showed livestock and 4H projects at the Iowa State Fair. Our kids have had 4H projects make it to the Iowa State Fairr the last couple of years.  And wouldn’t you know it, I made cotton candy and corn dogs, and cleaned up an awful lot of beer cups during high school when I worked at the Missouri State Fair!

#VisitRosevilleMN Fam Trip
#onlyinMN selfie spot at the Minnesota State Fair

There’s just nothing quite like a fun State Fair! Many thanks to the Roseville, MN Visitors Association for sponsoring an amazing FAM trip for a huge group of bloggers! With an annual attendance of close to 2 million people over 12 days, the Minnesota State Fair is very popular. I was really impressed with all of its amazing attractions – a lot of which are totally free with your paid admission. Compared to the Iowa State Fair, the Minnesota State Fair is bigger and has more visitors. The Iowa State Fair has a greater emphasis on agriculture, but I appreciated Minnesota’s emphasis on local and organic. They seemed to be quite focused on sustainability at the Minnesota State Fair.

The Minnesota State Fair is really too big to experience in only one day. There’s just too much to do so you’ll need a game plan before you arrive to make the most of your visit. Make sure to download the MN State Fair App before you go. It’s really easy to use and will put all of your favorite foods, events, and activities on a map so you know exactly when to go where.

Once you get to the fair, you might also want to buy a $5 Blue Ribbon Bargain Book. It’s full of coupons for food, merchandise, and attractions for 150 different vendors. Before you buy it though, I’d recommend using the app to see if anything you plan to buy has a coupon. It might save you money, but then again, it might not. The App clearly shows which food vendors accept coupons! It’s really cool. Without further ado, here’s the tip of the ice berg on free stuff to do once you get in to the Minnesota State Fair!

30 Free Things to do at the Minnesota State Fair That Your Kids Will Love

With so many free things to do, you really don’t need to spend much money on entertainment. Save the cash for food-on-a-stick and maybe a ride or two. If you think you’ll have to pay for a lot of extras, check out all of this fun that comes with your fair admission! Your kids will really enjoy the attractions on this list. And they’re all FREE with admission. Did I mention that? 😀

1. Visit the Eco Experience Building for learning demonstrations and hands on fun. Your kids can play Climate Connection Bingo and Go even make tote bags from Tshirts for free several times a day!

2. Swing in a hammock in the Nature Adventure Play Space (outside the Eco-Experience Building)

3. Play The Number Game and other fun interactive math games at Math on a Stick. Your kids won’t even know they’re learning!


Take a selfie in a viking hat at the Go RVing booth with a good friend

5. Take a selfie in a viking hat at the Go RVing booth with a good friend or family member. Nicky from Little Family Adventure was my partner in crime at the Minnesota State Fair.

6. Dig in the Great Big Sandbox

7. Listen to a free music concert at the Ramberg Center

8. Climb at the Boy Scouts of America Summits Ropes Course – This is totally free and looks really cool!

9. Catch one of the 3 daily Timberworks LumberJack Shows

Meet with a new children's book author each day in the Alphabet Forest and play lots of interactive learning games.

10. Meet with a new children’s book author each day in the Alphabet Forest and play lots of interactive learning games.

11. Watch the annual Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest at 6 pm each night of the fair

12. Sing a song at the Giant Sing-A-Long

13. Pretend to be a farmer in the Little Hands Farm and earn “money” to spend on a snack in the farm store

14. Watch the Thank A Farmer Magic Show

15. Catch one of the 3 daily All Stars Stunt Dog Splash Shows

make sure to see the animals in the barns at the Minnesota State Fair

16. Milk a cow and see baby animals in the Moo, Baa, & Oink BoothsYou can also sign up to participate in Agrilympics like wool stuffing, butter carving, etc.

17. Learn how a chicken lays an egg and see lots of baby animals in the CHS Miracle of Birth Center

18. Take a Fine Arts Scavenger Hunt

19. Catch the Daily Parade each day at 2 pm to watch high school marching bands, floats, animals, and many other performances!

20. Make sure you catch the schedule for the Arts A’Fair performances and go see one of the drumming, dancing, or theater shows!

Check out the horses in the horse barn and the Minnesota State Fair

21. Walk through the horse barn’s Aisle of Breeds to learn about horses and pet a horse!

22. Catch a livestock or horse competition at the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum 

23. Go see the butter sculptures in the Dairy Barn

Flower Kaleidoscopes at the minnesota state fair

24. Look through the Flower Kaleidoscopes in the Agriculture / Horticulture Building

25. Find the biggest pumpkin at the Agriculture / Horticulture Building

26. Catch a free act on the Family Fair Stage at Baldwin Park

27. Pick one up a brochure at the Minnesota Historical Society booth or any of the 12 stops located around the fairgrounds and take a Minnesota State Fair History Walking Tour.

28. Pop in EquiMania for interactive displays on horses

DNR's fish pond at the Minnesota State Fair

29. Make sure to walk through the DNR Building’s display of Minnesota taxidermy to learn about wildlife and check out all of the fish in the fish pond!

30. Climb the DNR Fire Tower for a bird’s eye view of the fair.

Minnesota Wine tasting at the Minnesota State Fair

31. The 21+ crowd will enjoy sampling free Minnesota Wine and food every day of the fair and attending the free presentations at 3 pm each day! They’re serving candied bacon donut slides, fried brie, fried kale, and more! Find them at Minnesota Wine Country!

bacon on a stick at the minnesota state fair

Food-On-A-Stick and Rides

Of course, it’s impossible to go to the Minnesota State Fair only for the free things – food-on-a-stick anyone? So don’t forget to try a new food and ride one of the permanent state fair rides. You can take the Midway rides or leave them, in my opinion, but the Giant Slide, Sky Chair, Big Wheel and Ye Old Mill are good fun. 🙂 I also highly recommend squeezing an organic peach or nectarine {make sure you buy it first} at the Produce Exchange. Their Kombucha is also fabulous! If you’re looking for more info on food, head over to Little Family Adventure and check out Nicky’s top 10 picks that cost under $5 each!

The Produce Exchange at the Minnesota State Fair

Again, many thanks to the Roseville Visitors Association! Roseville, MN is conveniently near all the fun stuff and their hotel taxes are the cheapest in the area. Just sayin’.

I’d love to hear about your experience at state fairs! What do you love!?

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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. The MN State Fair is Awesome! Great list! Wish we hadn’t missed a few things you mention. Maybe next year. 🙂

  2. I can’t wait to go! We’re going on Friday, for the first time without kids because school already started here.

  3. We haven’t gone to the MN state fair since our kids were little. We went on a very busy labor day weekend with little kids along with a couple of other families with little kids and it was chaotic and we said “Never again!” However now that most of our kids are teenagers I do think it would be fun to go. A lot of the things you mentioned sounded like fun. Our youngest two are in 4-H and they could have taken projects to the state fair but we opted out.
    I remember going to the Iowa state fair years ago and was surprised by how much smaller it seemed to be. I didn’t expect that.