We've come up with four self-guided trails throughout the most popular places and events of the Fair. From butter sculptures to pig races, we've got something for everyone. If you're feeling overwhelmed by all the Fair has to offer, be sure to try out one of these trails!
Family Fun Trail
The Fair is the perfect place to bring your family for a day of fun! Kids of all ages are welcome to explore, learn and take part in the interactive stations. This tour will put the fun in learning!
1. Lausche Youth Exploration Space
Visit the Lausche Youth Exploration Space in the northwest corner of the grounds to explore hands-on learning, like the exciting Phun with Physics.
There are plenty of hands-on experiments and activities to try!
2. Milk a cow
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. stop by the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association Veterinary Education Center to milk a real cow!
3. Petting Zoo
Travel across the grounds to Kiddieland and stop by the petting zoo where you and your family can pet more than 50 animals from around the world including goats, llama, zebras, antelope, kangaroos, and much more.
4. Swing by a barn
There is no better way to experience the livestock realm of the Fair than to simply visit a barn and explore. Whether you visit the Gilligan Livestock Complex (dairy cows and horses), Voinovich Beef Building (beef cattle), O'Neill Swine Building (hogs), Brown Sheep Building (sheep), Rabbit & Poultry Pavilion (chickens, turkeys, ducks and rabbits), you'll be able to see a variety of animals and speak to Ohio farmers about how they raise their livestock.
5. Natural Resources Park
When you visit the Natural Resources Park, you'll get a peek at all the opportunities that await you in Ohio's outdoors. Learn about Ohio's wildlife, trees, wildflowers, water, rocks, and minerals in the education pavilion featuring hands-on activities, visit an Ohio prairie, walk through a house of butterflies, go fishing, learn to kayak, enjoy the accessible play area, and meet Smokey the Bear all for free.
Fair Traditions Trail
The Ohio State Fair is full of rich history. Immerse yourself in the traditions and visit the legendary sites of the Fair! Take this self-guided tour to see the can’t-miss spots in nearly every corner of the grounds.
1. Giant Cardinal
Be sure to cross 17th Avenue into the northern area of the grounds and visit the Cardinal statue. For those entering the Cardinal Gate, the Fair’s iconic cardinal is one of the first things you’ll see – and a great “selfie” spot. The current statue was built in 1986 from fiberglass and weighs in at nearly 500 lbs. Its predecessor, a mechanical, wooden and papier-mâché style cardinal, was located in the Central Park area beginning in 1957. It was electronically controlled and answered questions posed by children visiting the Fair, and at the time, was the world’s largest talking bird at 13 feet high and 23 feet long.
2. Smokey Bear
Travel to Natural Resources Park located at the southeast corner of the grounds to visit Smokey Bear. In 1959, fifteen years after Smokey Bear was brought into the wildfire prevention service, Smokey made his debut at the Ohio State Fair. Standing at 14-feet tall, the animatronic Smokey Bear can’t be missed. Aside from his efforts to promote fire prevention and safety practices, the iconic Smokey Bear is known for greeting Fair visitors by name, and throwing out some “beary” funny puns.
Tired of walking? Hop on the SkyGlider, one of the world’s longest portable sky rides, although it has been a permanent structure at the Ohio State Fair since 1969. The half-mile journey will give you a bird’s-eye view of all the excitement while also giving your feet a rest.
4. Butter Cow
The butter calf and accompanying sculpture can be found in the mideast area inside of the Dairy Products building.A tradition since 1903, these sculptures carved of roughly 2,000 pounds of butter have become a staple for Fair visitors. Each year, The American Dairy Association sponsors artists to create a unique butter sculpture along with a new cow and calf sculpture.
Animal Encounters Trail
MOOve on over to the barns, petting zoo, and Natural Resources Park for a chance to observe, interact and learn about all sorts of animals! From livestock to kangaroos, you never know what creatures you might get to see and pet on this self-guided Animal Encounters Trail.
Sheep, cattle, horses, swine, goats, llamas, rabbits and poultry are all on display in five different barns during the Ohio State Fair. Every year, more than 20,000 livestock animals are brought by exhibitors to compete over the course of the Fair. Take a walk through the barns where the animals are kept and if you’re lucky you may get to talk to some of the exhibitors too!
2. OVMA Veterinary Education Center
Witness the miracle of birth and visit new and expectant farm animal mothers and their young at this educational exhibit near the Dairy Products Building. You can even milk a real cow from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.!
3. Pig Races
Make your way to Kiddieland behind the Giant Slide to see three different breeds of pigs race around the track for a prize! Catch the Pig Races Monday - Friday at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. or Saturday - Sunday at 11:30 a.m., 1:20 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
4. Petting Zoo
Stop by Kiddieland to visit the petting zoo where you can visit with more than 50 animals from around the world including goats, llama, zebras, antelope, camels, kangaroos and much more.
5. Natural Resources Park
Enjoy fishing, in the pond, visiting the butterflies in the butterfly house and taking a stroll to find native Ohio wildlife at Natural Resources Park. The park is open everyday of the Fair from 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. You won’t want to miss out on the animal entertainment!
Blue Ribbon Competitions Trail
From livestock and horticulture to cooking and baking, the Ohio State Fair offers just about any competition imaginable. If you want to see some blue ribbon worthy entries, this is the tour for you.
1. Cox Fine Arts Center
The Cox Fine Arts Center is tucked toward the southwest side of the grounds near the OHIO Gate. The Fine Arts exhibition is viewed by more than 40,000 visitors and received more than 1,800 entries every year. In this building you will find glass art, metal art, ceramics, sculptures, paintings and much more exhibited by Ohio’s most accomplished artists in this prestigious show.
2. Agriculture and horticulture
Located south of the Mountain Dew Midway, the Land & Living Building presented by Ohio Farm Bureau is home to all of the Agriculture and Horticulture exhibits at the Fair. Here you will find flowers, foliage, fruits, vegetables, gardens, and Christmas Trees.
3. Lausche Youth Exploration Space
Stop by to participate in interactive activities and see competitions, projects and displays from youth organizations including Ohio 4-H, FFA and other exhibitors. Interactive exhibits and displays from The Ohio State University physics and chemistry departments.
4. Kasich Hall
Did someone say food? That’s right, Kasich Hall is home to the cooking and baking competitions at the Fair along with the creative and youth arts competitions. Here you will find pies, cakes, candies, jams, jellies, wine and more! In addition to these yummy food competitions, come witness the many live culinary competitions, Brillo pad art, quilts, tablescaping, photography, and more.