It’s time for the Indiana State Fair, 17 of the most wonderful days in Indiana! The Indiana State Fair runs Friday, August 3rd – Sunday, August 19th and there are tons of things to do for free every single day! There are many ways to spend money at the Indiana State Fair, but there are also many ways to have a great time and not spend a dime once you get through those gates. Here are our favorite free things to do at the Indiana State Fair.
Learn about your favorite barnyard animals all in one place! Visit Animal Town to the right (east) of the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand. 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 at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm & 7pm.
Ball State Harvest Pavilion
The Ball State Harvest Pavilion is home to the super popular Seed Survivor activity and other make and take activities. Kids will learn about agriculture through a fun, interactive exhibit using virtual reality and then plant their own sunflower pot to take home. Don’t miss the CANstruction display or the exhibit Celebrating Indiana’s Circus History.
The LEGO brick exhibit from Brickworld Indy is a huge draw and their bicentennial display is sure to be a hit.
The Family Fun Park
Little Hands on the Farm is a must do for kids! Recommended for ages 3-12 and most loved by the younger crowd, Little Hands on the Farm is a hands on experience that teaches kids about farming, food and where our meals come from. They’ll walk through a series of activity centers and complete tasks.
Live shows in the Family Fun Park are a HUGE draw, so be sure to arrive early to see. They’re free with Fair admission and all shows in this area are designed with families and children in mind.
Big Top Circus
Step right up to the Big Top Circus Tent with Bello Nock to see one of three amazing FREE Big Top Circus shows daily at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. (no 1 p.m. show on Thursdays.) You’ll find the circus tent in between the FFA Building and the Farm Bureau Building on the north side of the fairgrounds.
The FFA Building has a free indoor playground for those times you need to escape from the sun, plus bench seating for adults to rest. There’s also a fun, FREE miniature golf course.
Boy Scout Outpost
The Boy Scout Outpost has a free shooting gallery and other fun!
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.
The Glass Barn
The Glass Barn gives families a chance to chat LIVE with real, live Indiana famers three times a day in their HUGE theater area. We enjoyed learning about three Indiana farming families and then we loved walking around the Glass Barn learning even more about farming and our food through video games and other great visuals. My kids will tell you the best part is taking a picture in the free photo booth! TIP: Be there near 11am, 2pm or 4pm so you don’t miss a live broadcast from an Indiana farm. You can win milkshake coupons too! Ask for your free $1 off coupon that can be used at the Dairy Bar, Pork or Beef Tents.
Bring some quarters (okay, so it’s not free — but looking IS free) and feed the many varieties, ages and sizes of goats at Goat Mountain right outside of the DNR Building. We’ve spent HOURS here with our little ones.
Girl Scout Building
The Girl Scouts have an archeological dig area set up for children to explore using tools and brushes. Find things and win prizes!
The daily parade weaves its way thought the fair at 6:30pm Wednesday – Friday, Sunday and Monday. It is a showcase of the day’s festivities and a perfect end to the day. During the parade you can hear great music, see costumed characters, and experience antique tractors and much more.
Livestock Barns are one of the best places at the Fair. You’ll get to see farm animals up close! My little ones think this is the greatest thing ever! Personally, I love checking out the largest pigs and their babies.
Indiana Farm Bureau Building
The Indiana Farm Bureau building serves up FREE freshly popped pop corn 12-5pm every day! There are also some fun activities to participate in with younger kids.
The Dow AgroSciences Park
The Dow AgroSciences Park is a place of more free fun that families can enjoy. Look for daily shows that will wow everyone.