There’s no better place to be a kid than the Iowa State Fair!

Whether it’s jumping into a hands-on Blue Ribbon Kids activity, pretending to be a farmer at Little Hands on the Farm or whirling on a midway ride, the Fair has enough kid-friendly activities to keep families busy all 11 days!

Interactive learning at Little Hands on the Farm

Blue Ribbon Kids Club

Blue Ribbon Kids, the Fair's special club for ages 10 and under, allows children to experience the Fair from a unique perspective. Blue Ribbon Kids members will get a rare glimpse at the heart of the Iowa State Fair and become part of the action during special kids' club activities. Blue Ribbon Kids' Club members not only get a hands-on Fair experience but will receive a birthday card and a quarterly newsletter after signing up.

Weekday Events

Each weekday during the Fair, kids' club members will have the opportunity to participate in seven FREE fun-filled activities. All events start at 10 a.m. at the Fun Forest Stage located east of the Agriculture Building and will last 30-45 minutes. Children can sign up at any Kids' Club event or download the Blue Ribbon Kids membership form, fill it out and bring it to the event. The membership form can also be mailed to Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Kids, PO Box 57130, Des Moines, IA 50317-0003. Blue Ribbon Kids' Club staff will be available at Kids' Club each weekday starting at 9:15 a.m. Kids' Club members and those wishing to sign up may check in from 9:30 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. You must be at Kids’ Club and checked in by 10 a.m. to receive your Kids’ Club badge and coupon book; no one will be checked in after 10 a.m. 

2016 Weekday Kids Club Events

Thursday, August 11 – Nothing Compares to My State Fair – From family traditions to the foods you have to eat, everyone has their own State Fair story.  At Kids’ Club on Thursday, August 11 you get to share your story and see what makes the Iowa State Fair so special to so many!
CRAFT – DIY Slap Bracelets

Friday, August 12 – Breakfast with the Queens - Our friends, the county fair queens, from all across Iowa will be at Kids’ Club for breakfast on Friday, August 12.  These young women are running for the title of Iowa State Fair Queen 2016; come for breakfast and get your picture with a queen, learn how they won at the county level and what they hope to see and do if crowned the 2016 Iowa State Fair Queen.
CRAFT – DIY Megaphones

Monday, August 15 – Polk County Conservation Animals of Iowa – Come join our friends from Polk County Conservation as they teach us about the many different animals in Iowa and what we can do to help keep all these animals safe in their natural environments.  They might even bring an animal or two!
CRAFT – DIY Wood Wiggly Snakes

Tuesday, August 16 – “My Family’s Beef Farm” – Meet 10-year-old Cecelia, a farm girl from Iowa, she will be on hand to read her book; “My Family’s Beef Farm”.  Cecelia lives on a farm with her mom, dad, brother and sister.  They raise beef cows and horses!  Her friends from the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation and the Iowa Beef Promotion Board will also be on hand on Tuesday, August 16 to talk cattle!
CRAFT – Create Your Own Farm Snow Globe

Wednesday, August 17 – Art Attack Day at Kids’ Club – Who is ready to get their art on?  Art Attack will be bringing their awesome art project for us to take part in during Kids’ Club.  Have you ever been to Art Attack located in the Cultural Center courtyard?  They have art projects each day from 1-5 p.m. for kids to do and learn about the various art mediums.  What a fun day it will be!

Thursday, August 18 – Puppy Jake Foundation Day at Kids’ Club - Our friends from the Puppy Jake Foundation will be on hand on Thursday, August 18 to tell us all about service dogs.  The Puppy Jake Foundation helps military veterans find service dogs.  What is better than a day full of puppies!
CRAFT – Decorate Your Own Puppy

Friday, August 19 - Veggie Day at Kids’ Club - The Iowa Department of Agriculture - Farm to School program will being telling us all about where our food comes from and we will even meet the farmers that produce it.  Did you know that the veggies, meat and milk in your fridge might have been grown right here in Iowa? 
CRAFT – DIY Flowerpots

Weekend Events

These exclusive events are only for Kids’ Club members who were on the membership roster by May 1, 2016.  The RSVP is in April edition of the Kids Club Newsletter.  There are only 30 spots available per event.  Do not delay as these exclusive events will fill up fast!

2016 Weekend Kids Club Events

Saturday, August 13 – Breakfast with the Butter Cow - Start you day with the world famous Butter Cow! Here is a once in a lifetime chance to meet our butter sculptress Sarah Pratt and enjoy a tour of the butter cow lead by Sarah along with a light breakfast.  Being able to look at the butter cow without a line...priceless! 
Meet at 8 a.m. at the John Deere Agriculture Building - North Entrance

Sunday, August 14 - The Dairy Story and I Milked A Cow - Have you ever wanted to milk a cow by hand?  Here is your chance to learn everything there is to know about dairy cows in the state of Iowa by the kids who know them best!  The Iowa State University Dairy Science Club members will teach you how to milk a cow, tell you the dairy story on how milk gets from the farm to your table along with a behind the scenes tour of the Iowa State Fair milking parlor!
Meet at 3 p.m. at the Boulevard of Dairy Breeds - North Annex of the Cattle Barn

Saturday, August 20 - You be the Judge! - Have you ever wondered how to judge a cow or what it really takes to get an animal ready to show at the Iowa State Fair?  Well on Saturday, August 20 your questions will be answered.  We will teach you how to judge a cow along with getting to meet some of our Iowa State Fair beef cattle exhibitors. 
Meet at 10 a.m. at the Pioneer Pavilion - North Entrance

Sunday, August 21 – STEM Day at Kid’s Club – What does STEM stands for?  The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council is focused on increasing student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The STEM Council will take over the Grand Concourse on Sunday, August 21 and is busy planning dozens of hands-on activities for you to participate in so be sure to sign up!
Meet at 11 a.m. at the STEM Stage on the Grand Concourse

Any further questions regarding the Iowa State Fair's Blue Ribbon Kids may be directed to

Team ISF

Team ISF is open to all youth, ages 11-14, who are interested in becoming more actively involved in the inner workings of the Iowa State Fair. Team members will not only have the opportunity to attend behind-the-scenes tours during the Fair but they will also have the option of assisting with the various programs and departments that make the Iowa State Fair one of the most acclaimed Fairs in the nation.

To join, simply fill out the membership form and return to Team ISF, Iowa State Fair, PO Box 57130, Des Moines, IA 50317-0003. A parent or legal guardian must fill out the bottom of the form. Once the form is returned a membership packet will be mailed to you. Remember, membership is completely FREE!

Team ISF Membership Form

Vet Camp

One of the most popular programs at the Fair, Vet Camp is an educational, exciting, hands-on learning program aimed at encouraging children ages 10-14 to learn about animal health, welfare and what it is like to be an animal doctor. The two-hour program focuses on both large and small animal veterinary medicine. Vet Camp is FREE with paid Fair admission. Only 30 spots are available per session and sessions will be assigned according to date received.

2017 Vet Camp information will be posted in late March.  Any questions, please contact Emily Wynn at or 515/401-1544.

Advanced Vet Camp

Advanced Vet Camp is for kids ages 15-18 who have an interest in Veterinary Medicine.  This two-hour program will focus on both large and small animal veterinary medicine along with information on attending Vet School.  Advanced Vet Camp is FREE with paid Fair admission.  Only 20 spots are available per session and sessions will be assigned according to date received.

2017 Advanced Vet Camp information will be posted in late March.  Contact Emily Wynn at or 515/401-1544 with any questions.

Little Hands on the Farm

Located in Kids Zone, Little Hands on the Farm teaches children the importance of agriculture and how it affects their daily lives in a fun and interactive way. Children ages 2 to 10 become farmers at this free, hands-on exhibit. Children obtain a gathering basket and proceed along a path that includes a garden, grain bin, apple orchard, chicken coop, tractor shed, sheep barn and dairy barn. After gathering particular items along the way they get the chance to sell these items at the Little Hands on the Farm Farmers’ Market for a Little Hands dollar to spend at the Grocery Store for such items as a piece of fruit, a granola bar or an ice cream sandwich. The last tour leaves the Start Barn at 7:30 p.m.

Little Hands on the Farm Map

Volunteering at Little Hands on the Farm

We're looking for volunteers to help out with this year's Fair. To volunteer, contact Emily Wynn at or call 515/262-3111 x244.

Petting Zoo

Hedrick’s Educational Petting Zoo provides an educational and entertaining display of the widest variety of exotic animals. From camels, zebras, alpacas, and more, children and adults alike will love the up-close experience with some of the world’s most fascinating animals.

Formerly located north of Gate 11 will now be located in Kids Zone.