COLUMBUS – Ferris wheels, funnel cakes, and…fishing. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Natural Resources Park is a change of pace from the other fun fair activities by offering a natural retreat full of trees, green space, and ponds. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of action and adventure at the Natural Resources Park.
“The Natural Resources Park at the Ohio State Fair gives us a chance to put all of Ohio’s natural wonders on display for hundreds of thousands of people,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “With everything from animals to prairies and playgrounds, there’s truly something for everyone at the park.”
The Natural Resources Park, located in the southeast corner of the fairgrounds, features fun and free activities, every day from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Visitors are invited to take part in ODNR’s scavenger hunt to explore all the park has to offer.
A two-story tall, animatronic Smokey Bear is there to greet visitors as they explore ODNR’s different divisions. Children can work out their energy on one of two playgrounds in the park, including a fully accessible space where kids can navigate through a maze and search for fossils.
The kayak pond and youth fishing will give visitors a firsthand look at the kind of fun people can have at ODNR’s state parks, wildlife areas, and scenic rivers.
They can also beat the heat by sitting in the shade and enjoying a constant stream of free shows at the amphitheater. Those shows include the Great Lakes Timber Show, starring professional lumberjacks showing off their skills of chainsaw carving, ax throwing, and log rolling.
The Natural Resources Park combines fun with education as visitors can learn about aquatic life at the touch pond or take a closer look at a life-size sculpture of a Dunkleosteus terrelli, Ohio’s State Fossil Fish, or as ODNR affectionately calls her, “Daphne.”
Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative will also be on display as ODNR, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the Ohio EPA show what they are doing to improve water quality around the state.
The ODNR information booth will offer natural resources literature, and the gift shop will showcase a wide array of souvenirs, clothing, and toys available for purchase including our State Parks Passport. And don’t miss the “Christmas in July” display which will showcase the 2023 holiday ornament.
For more information about the Natural Resources Park or to check out the daily amphitheater schedule, visit ohiodnr.gov/statefair. For more information about the Ohio State Fair, visit ohiostatefair.com.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.