Taking your kids to the Minnesota State Fair can cost a small fortune, but it doesn't have to. Here are some tips and ideas for taking your kids to the fair and not breaking the bank.

1. If you didn't buy advance tickets, go on a promotional day to save money. Kids Day takes place Monday August 25 and Monday September 1 and kids 5-12 are $8 compared to $11. Or bring the whole family on Read and Ride Day {and bring everyone's library cards!} on Wednesday August 27 where adults are $11 and kids are $8. Kids under age 5 are always free.

2. Feed your kids before you arrive. This seems like a no-brainer right? But we all know how the sights, sounds, smells of the fair affect us adults, imagine being a kid. Plan on buying things to share instead of everything individually to not only save some money but also allow everyone to try more items.

3. Buy a Blue Ribbon Bargain Book. Just $5 and includes more than $900 in savings. Just using a coupon or two pays for the book over and over agin.

Visiting the fair doesn't have to mean rides, rides, rides. Of course kids want to ride rides and play games {does anyone ever win?} but there are a lot of FREE family activities that take place every day of the fair. 

1.The barns and animals are a fun thing to do but how about actually milking a cow? Each day at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Land O Lakes Stage outside the Cattle Barn you can try your hand at handmilking a cow. Or visit Kemps Little Farm Hands where kids ages 3-10 can ride tractors and try things out at a pint-size mock farm exhibit. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

2. Friday, August 22 you can visit the DNR Park and Building to celebrate Smokey the Bear's 70th birthday a and also help make an ornament that will decorate the US Capitol Christmas Tree this Christmas. This year's Christmas Tree will be traveling from Chippewa National Forest to D.C. and more than 10,000 ornaments representing Minnesota will be made for this tree and 60-70 smaller accompanying trees. Both events take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow.

3. Eco Experience activities. This year there will be a visual of the world's largest wad of paper and also a Nature Adventure Play Yard. It's an outdoor, multi-sensory, exploratory experience, including sand and water and even a construction zone. Intended for ages 2-12, enjoy some free unplugged time here.

4. Alphabet Forest

An entire area devoted to kids and the alphabet, kids can play games, win prizes, meet authors and learn about the State Fair alphabet. Located at Family Fair in Baldwin Park, this area is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. everyday of the fair.

Do you plan on going to the fair with your kids? What are some of the activities you enjoy or plan on checking out? 

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