CFANS at the Minnesota State Fair

Make a scene with CFANS science at the Minnesota State Fair

Buzz through the Bell Museum, create our state’s biomes with seed art, and more at the U of M’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences exhibit

Lights, camera, science! Visitors to the U of M’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) exhibit at the 2022 Minnesota State Fair will have a variety of hands-on opportunities to hit the science scene doing everything from working with seeds to handling live bugs to solving food mysteries. Curious minds and budding scientists of all ages will enjoy getting into the act.

Buzz through the Bell Museum

Bell Museum's wooly mammoth.

Hop atop a drone (using virtual reality glasses) and “fly” through the Bell Museum’s exhibits to celebrate its 150 years of scientific discovery. As Minnesota’s state natural history museum, the Bell’s mission is to ignite curiosity and wonder, explore our connections to nature and the universe, and create a better future for our evolving world. 

The Bell Museum is located on the U of M’s Twin Cities campus in St. Paul, where you’ll find the following and much more:

  • Spectacular specimens: Check out 1 million+ scientific specimens, representing every county in Minnesota and locales around the globe. 
  • Dazzling dioramas: The Bell’s world-renowned wildlife dioramas transport you to natural habitats throughout our state. 
  • Astronomical science: Journey through space and time in the Bell’s 120-seat planetarium, where a first-to-the-world, 16-meter seamless dome surrounds you.

Visitors to the CFANS State Fair exhibit also can pick up coupons for discounts to the Bell Museum.

Corn seeds.

Sow the seeds of science — through art

Did you know that Minnesota’s landscape scene changes as you move through the state’s different ecological areas? Minnesota lies at the center of where four major North American biomes meet. These are the coniferous forest, the deciduous forest, the prairie grassland, and the tall aspen parkland. 

Exhibit visitors can contribute to the creation of a large crop art map of Minnesota’s four biomes using seeds of many varieties. Expert crop artist Liz Schreiber, who has won seven first-place ribbons at the Minnesota State Fair for her crop art since 2004, will be on hand each day from noon to 3 p.m. to guide people in populating the biome map with images of animals and plants native to each. 

Surprising pop-up science and selfies

Little kid takes a selfie in the CFANS canoe at the MN State Fair.

Throughout the Fair, visitors can get behind the scenes and participate in a number of hands-on pop-up learning stations featuring engaging science activities for kids and adults alike. CFANS researchers will be there to “get buggy” with live insects, teach you to be a “dietary detective,” help you take the plant disease “personality quiz,” and more. 

Visitors also put their paddles up to steal their own scenes (and take home memories) in the CFANS custom canoe selfie station.

CFANS will be at the Minnesota State Fair August 25 through September 5 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily in the southwest wing of the Agriculture Horticulture building

Explore the full pop-up learning schedule