This year we decided to hit the state fair on a weekday instead of the crowded weekend day. So Kyle took off Monday so we could go. Two unforeseen events leading up to this day made for a not-the-best-trip-to-the-state-fair but we will make due with the cards dealt to us. 1) we didn't foresee this Monday was going to be followed by a weekend of HARD work building a deck, thus leaving us utterly exhausted come Monday and 2) no clue it was going to be the second HOTTEST day on record (the day prior being the first). But we made the best of it and will hope for nicer weather next year.
Our goal was to get up and out early to beat the heat and the crowds. But as I mentioned we were tired so getting up too early would have just made it worse. We got out of the house shortly after 8:00. Stopped to get some on the road McD's breakfast and headed east for the mild drive to the fair grounds. Luckily at 8:20ish the traffic wasn't too bad and we were able to take the HOV lane to miss the worst of it.
Got free parking in the neighboring neighborhood on the street and walked to the entrance. Already feeling the pain from the weekend creeping up in our legs.
We started at the 'Little Farm Hands' section. It's a little simulation course kids walk through and do farmer activities. They recommend 3-10 but we've been excited for Isaac to give it a try so we went ahead this year. He wasn't interested in wearing the apron, but he did take a bucket.
first was the corn siloh, they got a little plastic bag of corn kernels to carry in their bucket.
Next was the tractor trikes
Then we entered a chicken barn where we 'fed' (left) some of the kernals for the chickens in return of an egg (a wooden egg) that got added to our bucket. Then we moved on to get a "seed" (wooden token) that he needed to plant and in return got a piece of plastic veggie to add to his bucket.
He also got a little corn hat to wear, it was so cute.
At this point we were HOT! And very discouraged as this was the first thing of the day we were doing and couldn't believe how hot we already were.... turns out it was just that activity that was super hot and in other parts of the fair grounds it wasn't nearly as bad.
After the veggie, we entered the milk barn where they traded their corn to feed the cow for a container of milk. Then made our way to the orchard to pick an apple.
Oh and LOOK! at what we found, I haven't seen this one before.
At some point he also got a little bag of wool from the sheep barn (there weren't any real animals). After the apple orchard was the market where he got a dollar for trading in all his goods. He enjoyed sorting the items from his bucket. Then he got to trade in his "dollar" for a juice box. At the end of the farm there was a little area with educational booths. He got to plant a sunflower seed to take home and wonder around a bit more.
Then we were off to our next adventure.
Next we stopped at the giant sand box
We met up with some friends at the sand box for a quick hello and Isaac and their boy played in the sand together.
There was a nearby piano set up and it was open and available for anyone to play. A guy sat down and played a few songs. Isaac was immediately tuned in and ran right over to watch. He stood there for a good three or four minutes.
Next stop was the Alphabet Forest. Isaac got to make a farm book with the author of the day.
We got to spell his name out
He helped dada carry it over to the 'photo' spot, but he wouldn't stand their for a photo, so one on the way will have to do.
Then he got distracted by the dancing puppets.
Next stop was to grab some food. We had buffalo chips and watermelon.
Stopped in at the DNR buildling on our way to the animal barns.
Next up was the Miracle of Birth barn. Saw the goats.
Sheep. A pregnant sheep:
And a sheep that had just given birth
And another fairly new lamb
At this point we agreed that the birth barn was good enough and it wasn't really worth trekking all the way to the animal barns (which was located at the opposite corner from where we entered)
We also got to see cows/calfs and pigs.
At this point we were as far as we wanted to go and it was time to turn back and head toward the gate we came in. So we brainstormed what was left that we wanted to do on the way back. (again we were pretty much on the opposite end). I wanted pig lickers (chocolate covered bacon) so we went to the Famous Dave's stand to get those.
Rather disappointing that it was $6 for THREE!!! but I was nice and only had one so everyone could have one.
Then on our walk back we went through a merchant building. Passed a music stand and found a train whistle I'd been wanting to get Isaac. This one is actually called a Riverboat Whistle... but it sounds just like the train one. I also got him some rhythm sticks as he really enjoyed those in our music class over the summer.
Making our way north
Stopped in at the Lego play area
Got distracted by the puppet animals again. He really liked them. They were hooked up to a motor to make them dance otherwise we might have got one...
Passed the alphabet forest again and stopped in to take a look at a picture book
And we finished off with a pronto pup for lunch. Oh yeah Kyle had a root beer float I forgot to take a picture of. It was so blasted hot otherwise we might have enjoyed it more. I was kinda disappointed we couldn't eat more or explore more but we were all hot and tired. And it's too hot all week to go back so we are just fine with hoping next year there's better weather. I think Isaac had fun and we put in a good solid morning there. We left about 1:00, so over four hours at the fair ain't bad.
When we got home Isaac took a good nap and we played around with his new rhythm sticks.