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9 Things You Have to See and Do at the DNR Building at the Iowa State Fair
Posted: 08/06/2014

Nine things you have to see and do at the DNR Building at the Iowa State FairThe 2014 Iowa State Fair bills itself as “Amazingly Amusing,” and we think you’ll find the same to be true of the historic DNR building on the west side of the fair’s grand concourse. While there’s much more to explore in the DNR building and courtyard, here are 9 things you need to experience this year.

1. Watch the fish swim
Built in 1921, the wrap-around aquarium is the focal point of the DNR pavilion, filled with Iowa fish of all shapes, sizes and species. Check out Iowa’s lunkers and discover new species you haven’t seen before. The aquarium itself is worth a view too, as it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2. Take your best shot
Try your hand and see if you can hit the target in our new air rifle range, and learn more about shooting sports opportunities in Iowa.

3. Ask a question
Throughout the building, park rangers, conservation officers, environmental specialists, biologists and other staffers are on hand to field your questions about Iowa’s outdoors.

4. Play a game
Visitors of all ages can test their knowledge of state parks with trivia or challenge other visitors to a game of environmental Jeopardy. See how much you know about our natural resources!

5. Attend a courtyard show
From cooking demonstrations to a live animal talk, we offer three to five presentations daily on our courtyard stage. Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the fair will be dedicated to special theme days in the courtyard. For a list of courtyard theme days and daily stage presentations visit Don’t forget our mobile education exhibits along the north courtyard fence, where you can learn how to help protect and improve the environment.

6. Get your free tee
Find a great deal on the outstanding Iowa Outdoors magazine – a one year subscription for $15 that comes with our annual only-at-the-fair t-shirt. More info on Iowa Outdoors at

7. Get your licenses
If you don’t have your fishing license already, now’s a great time to pick one up before excellent fall fishing kicks into gear. If you’re a hunter, come on down on August 15, when deer tags go on sale.

8. Take a gander at the duck pond
Watch swans, ducks and more waterfowl swim as turtles sun themselves. Learn about these critters’ habitat and more.

9. Sit back and relax
Enjoy the oasis that is the DNR courtyard - watch waterfowl and turtles in the pond, gaze at the prairie stream, peek in the world’s largest birdhouse, refill your water bottle, or just relax at a picnic table or on a bench and enjoy the shade.

The DNR’s pavilion and aquarium are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily throughout the fair.

Explore more ideas for getting out into Iowa's great outdoors at our Take it Outside blog.

Find more info on the DNR at the Iowa State Fair and ideas for enjoying Iowa's outdoors via the DNR on Pinterest: www.pinterest/com/iowadnr