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July 22, 2014

WEST ALLIS, Wis. - The Wisconsin State Fair kicks off on Thursday, July 31 and while the DNR Park continues to be a green and shady oasis in the fair, visitors will notice some big changes and new additions to the site.

New this year, families will find an outdoor natural play area for the kids, a new scavenger hunt with a prize at the end and the introduction of 'Go Discover!' Program for children that is all about bats, birds and insects.

There is an expanded area for archery enthusiasts or those who are just interested in giving it a try and a laser shot activity center. There is a technology area where Department of Natural Resources staff will help visitors download handy apps and assist with QR codes.

There are also big changes at the park this year. The non-profit group, Interfaith, which ran the t-shirt printing tent chose to not return this year so there will be no t-shirt printing available. Instead, visitors will find the largely expanded National Archery in the Schools Program tent and get an introduction to target archery from a trained warden.

Park goers are also reminded to keep an eye out for emerald ash borer signs throughout their walk to learn how to identify this invasive species and prevent it spreading in local neighborhoods. The recent discovery of the invasive insect at the park required several trees to be removed and others to be treated in an effort to extend their life while maintaining the cool shade they provide. Fortunately, with the help of private nurseries and the DNR reforestation program, the park received hundreds of new trees and shrubs.

Fair-goers will also find some of their traditional favorites. They can still pick up hunting and fishing licenses, trail passes and state park stickers at our customer service desk. The casting clinic will be held daily from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the archery tent where kids can learn how to cast, hook and reel in those whopper fish. Take an adventure photo in the south building at the Natural Heritage Conservation booth, say hello to Smokey Bear, swing by the wildlife display for a hand-on experience with animal pelts or stop by the Tree of Pledges and pick your environmental pledge for the year.

Wisconsin State Fair (exit) visitors can enjoy these exhibits and much more daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For a DNR Park map, and more, search the DNR website for keywords "state fair."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Trish Nitschke, DNR Office of Communications 920-360-3252.

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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