New Education Center
New! With more than 12,000 students visiting Kansas’ Largest Classroom each year, the Fair is expanding its education initiative — creating a learning hub in the middle of the Fairgrounds. Previously called Do-Art, the new Education Center features a variety of activities, including lessons on the importance of pollinators and the growing Kansas dairy industry. Kansas Cosmosphere’s Dr. Goddard’s Lab can be found here. Hours/Location: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at the intersection of Bison Boulevard and Lake Talbott Avenue. Sponsored by Kansas Farm Bureau.
New! After wandering through the Fair’s livestock areas, stop at Sudsy’s barnyard handwashing station that promotes healthy lifestyles and makes hand washing fun! Hours/Location: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at the corner of 20th and Fort Riley Boulevard. Brought to the Fair by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation.
Celebrating 25 years, the birthing center is one of the Fair’s top attractions. This one-of-a-kind agricultural education exhibit is the birthplace of calves, lambs, goats, chicks and piglets. Learn about the birthing process from Kansas State University veterinary students — plus gain insight about animal agriculture, food production, veterinary medicine and responsible pet ownership. Hours/Location: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 20th Avenue and Fort Scott Boulevard.
Moo U Barn Tours are guided, 45-minute walks through the world of poultry, beef, dairy, sheep, swine and rabbits. Learn interesting and little-known facts about livestock, such as the many ways animal by-products are used in everyday life. Hours/Location: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily at the northwest corner of the Fair’s Livestock Annex on 20th Avenue. Sponsored by Kansas Farm Bureau.
Witness firsthand how milk makes its way from the farm to your home. Kansas dairy professionals talk about the milking process and answer questions. Hours/Location: Demonstrations are at the top of the hour from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. and at 6 p.m. Located on 20th Avenue between the Dairy Tie Barn and Prairie Pavilion. Sponsored by Southwest Dairy Farmers.
Visit an enclosed butterfly garden and feed the hundreds of butterflies fluttering around — all while learning more about the butterfly life cycle and habitat. Hours/Location: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, east of Lake Talbott.
What might appear to be just pretty flower gardens is really an attempt to keep the Earth in balance. Several new pollinator garden plots have been planted across the Fairgrounds this year. These gardens are full of native Kansas wildflowers and grasses, attracting butterflies, bees and even bats. With habitat destruction causing declines in monarch butterflies and other pollinating species, the pollinator gardens are part of the Fair’s educational curriculum. Sponsored by Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever and Kansas Farm Bureau.
Dulcimer Petting Zoo
Erin Mae, a mountain dulcimer teacher and folk musician from Wichita, along with friends from the Great Plains Dulcimer Alliance & Hutchinson Mountain Dulcimer Players, will bring an instrumental petting zoo to the Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at the Fair’s House of Capper. Kids (and the young at heart) will have the opportunity to “pet” a variety of acoustic instruments, including mountain dulcimers, autoharps, banjos and more. Come meet the instruments, learn how sounds are created and try to play a tune. Then, make your own noise-making instrument to take home.
Lecompton Bleeding Kansas Reenactors
These reenactors, part of the Fair’s new Explore Kansas Weekend Sept. 7-8, will depict an 1850s town hall meeting, reflecting the sentiments of that time regarding slavery in Kansas and the eventual vote settlers would take to determine if their new state constitution would allow or prohibit slavery. The 30-minute performance is educational, entertaining and includes audience interaction. The Lecompton Reenactors will perform two days at the Fair — Sunday, Sept. 8 and Monday, Sept. 9.
Pride of Kansas Building
Check out this year’s butter sculpture, the state’s largest pumpkin, Agriland and phenomenal apple dumplings a la mode at the Wheatland Café.
Kids can weigh themselves on a livestock scale, milk a cow, drive a combine and learn about the soil under their feet. Located in the Pride of Kansas Building.
Interactive Children’s Activities
Build-your-own stick horse, stick horse races and story time with Brandy Von Holten, author of “Adventures at the Von Holten Ranch.” 11 a.m. and 1 and 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10 at the Expo Center.
4-H Centennial Hall
Check out exhibits by youth from across Kansas, including photography, bug and rock collections, arts and crafts and woodworking.
Other Interactive Adventures:
State Fair Square-Dancing Festival
The State Fair Promenaders and Hutchinson High School will entertain and teach fairgoers square dancing at House of Capper Monday, Sept. 9.
Toddler Games Driving School and Art Fair
Activities for the wee ones, including a driving course with Little Tykes cars. Administration Building parking lot, Sept. 8, 9am-2pm.
Lair Steckline Fountain
Bring a towel! Kids love the fountain at the center of the grounds.