In between corn dogs and giant slide rides, there are lots of ways kids can learn about agriculture at the Iowa State Fair.
1. Little Hands on the Farm - Located in Kids Zone, the Andringa Family Foundation Little Hands on the Farm encourages children ages 2 to 10 to become farmers by visiting a swine barn, garden, grain bin, apple orchard, chicken barn, tractor shed, cattle barn, sheep barn and dairy barn. After all of their hard work, the last stop is the grocery store, where children can pick out a piece of fruit, a granola bar or an ice cream treat.
2. All the Baby Animals - Experience the oohs and aahs of watching chicks hatch, a calf being born or watching baby ducks slide. With something happening every moment of every day, you never know what you might see and learn in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center, a short walk south of Little Hands on the Farm. This is your chance to get up close and personal with the animals that make Iowa's farms famous.
3. Hands On Barn Experience -Special hands-on exhibits in each barn – Cattle Corner, Horse Haven, Pig Place, and Sheep Stop – explain the importance of livestock to the state, the country and the world. And don't forget to walk through the Avenue of Breeds presented by Iowa Bankers Association and media sponsor WHO The Big Show, located next to the Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Exhibits Building, with over 70 different breeds you can't believe live in Iowa.
4. Milk a Cow - If your kids think milk comes from the grocery store or chocolate milk comes from brown cows, put "I Milked a Cow" on your list of State Fair activities. For just $3.00, members of the Iowa State University Dairy Club will explain how cows are milked and give kids the chance to milk a cow. Kids can also see how today's farmers use mechanical milking equipment in the modern milking parlor in the north annex of the John and Emily Putney Family Cattle Barn.
5. Pick A Vegetable - Kids can learn how a garden grows when they visit The Garden sponsored by Corteva Agriscience. Located north of Little Hands on the Farm, this area is packed with garden beds and displays to teach kids how vegetables take root in Iowa soil and grow to feed the world. A special composting exhibit teaches the value of ecology and sustainability and there are opportunities to pick the vegetables that are given to the Iowa Food Bank.
From hands-on ag learning experiences for kids to the thrill of rides, savoring more than 60 delectable items on a stick to free entertainment, nothing compares to the Iowa State Fair, August 10-20 in Des Moines, Iowa. For a listing of kid-friendly events or to enter family-friendly contests, visit www.iowastatefair.org.
Interested in volunteering at the Fair? Volunteers are still needed at Little Hands on the Farm, where children ages 2 to 10 can become farmers. This is a popular, hands-on exhibit with more than 30,000 kids each year. For more information, contact Emily Wynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 515.262.3111.