The Indiana State Fair is a beloved tradition and a cornerstone activity of summer break. Last summer, we had to push pause, but this year it is back and better than ever! The Indiana State Fair runs July 30-Sunday, August 22, Wednesday-Sunday. Eighteen days of festivities and there are tons of things to do for free every single day.
Free Things to do at the Indiana State Fair
There are so many things to do and see at The State Fair with your kids—animals, 4-H projects, the Dairy Barn, and so much more! Expenses can add up quickly on an outing such as this with your family, so here is a guide of the best free things to do at The State Fair with your family. If you want to save even more, check out the 2021 Indiana State Fair Guide to Discounts, Coupons, and Deals.
Visit the Glass Barn
The Glass Barn offers a unique learning experience where you can connect your children with local agriculture, educate them on what farmers do, and show them how food goes from farm to table. The many interactive exhibits and games will immediately grab your child’s attention and help them appreciate food in a new way. The Glass Barn is open daily from 9 am-8 pm.
Watch the State Fair Parade
Off of Main Street, you will be able to find the Indiana State Fair Parade full of exciting things to see! You can expect tractors, floats, and more in this themed parade. The parade is only able to be viewed off of Main Street. This activity is offered daily from 6:30-7 pm. The timing is perfect for an after school evening of fun.
Brand new to the fair this year is the bubble tower! The worlds largest bubble toy is sure to bring smiles to your little one. The bubble tower uses solar energy to generate plenty of bubbles for everyone! This is a free activity offered for kids at the Family Fun Park, right next to Little Hands on the Farm. The Family Fun Park is open daily from 9 am-8pm.
Little Hands on the Farm
The Little Hands on the Farm activity is a family-favorite of ours, and a must-do on your trip to the Indiana State Fair. Located in the Family Fun Park, kids get to be farmers for the day and participate in various chores around the farm. Kids love harvesting crops in exchange for a fun prize at the end!
Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest
Daily at the fair, there is a watermelon seed spitting contest! Let the kids have a great time trying out this unique activity. This will happen daily at the Purdue Extension Agriculture Horticulture building at 1 pm. Pre-registration is not required, and kid of all ages can participate in the fun!
City of Bricks
Check out the brand new City of Bricks exhibit in the Harvest Pavilion. This is a large Lego display is designed by Sean Kenny, a world-renown Lego brick designer. It will have new elements and displays this year, in addition to two Lego brick play areas. The exhibit is open daily from 9 am-8 pm.
Head on over to the Corteva Agriscience FFA Pavilion for free mini-golf! This is a fun and easy way to have fun at the fair, without breaking the bank. You will find other fun things to do in this building, such as the country market and a petting zoo for little ones! This activity is open daily from 8 am-8 pm.
Tractor Shuttle Ride
Brand new to the fair this year—free shuttle rides! This was a service usually provided for a fee, but now you and your family can ride around the fair together for free. My kids love the big tractors, and can’t wait to ride this year!
Pet Baby Goats
Head to Goat Mountain for all the baby goats you could possibly need! They are so sweet and cuddly, and the kids will love getting to pet them at this hands-on experience. They are open daily from 9 am-8 pm.
Check out this free kids area at the fair. Located at Gate 12 you will find plenty to do here. This is a great place for family fun! Open daily from 9am-8pm
Visit the Giant Wheel
Brand new this year to the fair is the Giant Wheel. And when I say giant, I mean 150 feet tall! This is the perfect photo opportunity. Can you get the entire wheel in your family selfie? The wheel is located in the Farm Bureau Building parking lot.
The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show
Daily at the fair, you can go see Paul Bunyan and his helpers speed through an array of lumberjack challenges! The stage is set up east of the Grand Stand on Main Street. Shows happen daily at 12:30 pm, 2 pm, 3:30 pm, 5:30 pm, and 7 pm.
Watch the Great American Duck Race
While you are at the Family Fun Park, check out this super fun event. Which duck will win in the Great American Duck Race? This event features live ducks in a friendly competition. The ducks will line up and compete on a water track and race to the finish line. You are encouraged to cheer for your favorite! Races are held daily at 12:30 pm, 2:20 pm, 4:30 pm, and 6 pm.
Tour the Animal Barns
There are many barns throughout the grounds at the State Fair. From horses, cows, pigs, sheep, and many others, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with countless animals. My kids love visiting the horse stables, and seeing the beautiful medal winning horses. Some of them are huge! It is definitely worth a visit to check them out. The barns are open daily from 9 am-8 pm.
The DNR Building has live insects, snake shows, giant fish in aquariums and best of all, outside in the back there’s a FishIN’ pond for kids to try their luck at fishing. Kids and parents register at the table behind the DNR building and then listen to a short talk about fishing tips and safety and then they get to fish! TIP: be sure to register early, as this is a popular event for ages 5-17.
Ready to sit back and relax a bit after a long hot day around the fairgrounds? Super Cinema has moved to the air-conditioned, Harvest Pavilion, west of the grandstands. This year the cinema will show movies throughout the day, including a short documentary about the Lego creations in the Harvest Pavilion. Bring your kids and get comfy while you wait for your next burst of energy. I’ll be here enjoying my BBQ Pork Split.
Travel back in time when you and your family visit Pioneer Village! Nestled between Machinery Field and the Renewal by Andersen Family Fun park, this little village is straight out of the 1800s. Here, you can experience the Opry House, Antique Tractor Exhibit, and demonstration field. Want to channel your inner historian? Pioneer Village is also home to what researchers say might be the oldest Moline Universal Model E Road Tractor still in existence today!
Learn about your favorite barnyard animals all in one place! Visit Animal Town just east of the Little Hands on the Farm and the Bubble Tower. There’s an Interactive Animal Experience with beef and dairy cattle, chickens, goats, draft horses, llamas, rabbits, sheep and swine. Stick around for Livestock chats.
This is just a sneak peek of all of the things you can do for free at the State Fair with your kids. Get creative, and have an entire day packed full of family fun without having to spend more than the price of admission! It’s amazing the amount of things you can do at the fair for such a great value. The State Fair runs from July 30-August 22, and you can grab your tickets on the Indiana State Fair website.