SPRINGFIELD – Free activities and free entertainment for youth and families will give Illinois State Fair visitors a chance to sample ways to spend time in the great outdoors at Conservation World at this year’s state fair Aug. 8-17 in Springfield.
Conservation World, the 30-acre park with grass, shade trees and ponds, is on the northwest corner of the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Conservation World is open to state fair visitors on weekend days (both Saturdays and Sundays of the fair) from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and on weekdays during the fair (Monday-Friday) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Conservation World is easily accessible through a pedestrian gate near the Junior Livestock Building, and via a state fair tram stop next to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) headquarters.
Traditional free activities for youth at Conservation World include fishing clinics at the pond inside the Conservation World gate, with bait and tackle provided; archery and BB gun practice ranges for youth are hosted by the IDNR Shooting Sports Development Program and the IDNR Safety Education Program.
Featured free entertainment includes:
• Green Acres Sportsmen’s Club Hunting Dog Demonstrations - North of Main Pond
• Ultimate Air Dogs - The Ultimate Air Dogs are the premier dog dock jumping organization in the country
• The Whip Guy Wild West Show - World-champion whip cracker Chris Camp performs daily shows at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
• Illinois Green Industry Association Outdoor Amphitheater - Free musical performances
• Chainsaw Carving Demonstrations - Chainsaw carving team of Wendy and Mike Rhodes demonstrate throughout the day
IDNR fisheries and wildlife staffs will host displays and answer questions about fishing and hunting prospects, habitat enhancement projects, and programs to assist private landowners. Visitors to the Fisheries Tent can try to “Whack-a-Mussel” – a fun game teaching kids a way to stop aquatic invasive species. Members of the Illinois Bowfishing Association will answer questions and conduct demonstrations of fishing with a bow and arrow.
The IDNR Division of Education will host “Monarch Mania” at Conservation World, with displays of live monarch butterflies, offering information about helping monarch survival, and providing activities for children. The first 10,000 families who pledge to plant milkweeds for monarchs will receive a packet of milkweed seeds.
State fair visitors can purchase Illinois hunting and fishing licenses, get a photo and application for a FOID card, and learn about the duties of a Conservation Police officer at the IDNR Law Enforcement tent.
The IDNR Division of Forest Resources invites state fair visitors to help celebrate Smokey Bear’s 70th birthday in 2014 with visits by the fire safety icon. Smokey Bear will tour Conservation World and pose for photos to remind those attending the fair of his famed message: “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.”
Illinois State Fair admission includes free admission to Conservation World.
For a detailed schedule of Conservation World events, activities and times, go to this link on the IDNR website: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/news/Documents/2014CONSERVATIONWORLD.pdf.