SPRINGFIELD – Celebrate Illinois while sampling the state’s great outdoors by visiting Conservation World at the 2018 Illinois State Fair, Aug. 10-19 in Springfield.

“The Illinois State Fair theme – ‘Celebrate Illinois – 200 Years of Amazing’ – highlights the Illinois Bicentennial celebration, and there’s no better way to enjoy a celebration than by having family fun outdoors,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Wayne Rosenthal. “Head over to Conservation World during the fair and sample the natural wonders and outdoor recreation opportunities that can be found throughout Illinois.”

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Conservation World is a 30-acre park with ponds, grass, shade trees and park benches located on the northwest corner of the Illinois State Fairgrounds, adjacent to the IDNR headquarters.

Among free attractions at Conservation World:

  • The famous “Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show” has performances every day of the fair; Monday – Thursday at 12 noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and Friday – Sunday at 12 noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m.
  • Voyageur canoe rides on the Conservation World pond, Aug. 10-12 and Aug. 18-19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Kids fishing includes hands-on fishing clinics at the pond inside the Conservation World gate six times each day, with all bait and tackle provided, at 10:30 a.m., 12 noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. Kids (age 10 and younger) can sign up at the Fisheries Tent and participate in free bowfishing daily at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.
  • Fly Fishing Demonstrations for anglers of all ages are scheduled for Aug. 10-12 and Aug. 17-19 at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.
  • Youth Archery and BB Gun hands-on instruction is available throughout every day of the fair at the Conservation World youth practice ranges, hosted by shooting sports experts and safety education instructors and volunteers.
  • Springfield Park District outdoor recreation specialists will feature games and interactive activities for kids daily from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Fishing opportunities abound in Illinois, and some of the state’s best sport fish will be on display in the Fisheries Tent in a new 2,800-gallon fish aquarium, making its debut at the 2018 Illinois State Fair.

IDNR wildlife and natural heritage staffs will host displays and answer questions about hunting prospects, wildlife watching, helping threatened and endangered species, and habitat enhancement projects.

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The IDNR Education Tent will have plenty of interactive activity for kids and information for school teachers. In addition, a packet of seeds of native plants beneficial to pollinators will be available to 5,000 families who visit the Education Tent.

The Conservation World Butterfly House will provide families with a chance to see monarch butterflies in various stages of development, and monarchs will be tagged and released daily. Landowners can also find information on management efforts to enhance prairie, forest and wetland habitats at home.

State fair visitors can talk with IDNR Conservation Police officers at the Law Enforcement tent. Illinois State Museum and Illinois Historic Sites will have information on Illinois history to help celebrate our state’s 200th birthday.

Smokey Bear and IDNR Forest Resources specialists will promote forest health, tree care and forest protection at Conservation World. State Fair visitors can pick up the latest edition of the Illinois State Parks guide, and enter to win an outdoor adventure package with purchase of a deer, turkey or morel lapel pin at the Information Tent, located just inside the Conservation World gate.

Experts from the Illinois Green Industry Association will be available at the IGIA gazebo to answer questions on at-home habitats and landscaping.

Food and drink vendors at Conservation World will include:

  • 17th Street BBQ
  • AZ-T-CA Mexican Grill
  • AJ’s Ice Cream
  • Pioneer Kettle Korn and Pork Rinds
  • The Candy Man
  • Sno Biz Shaved Ice
  • Bud’s Root Beer
  • Craft Beer Tent
  • Dragon Fire Pizza

Illinois State Fair admission includes free admission to Conservation World, which is open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily from Aug. 10-19.

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