ODNR to have conservation show area at State Fair July 24, 2009 THE Ohio Department of Natural Resources Natural Resources Park will provide fairgoers with hands-on exhibits and interactive performances that encourage outdoor activity and reveal the value of environmental stewardship. With the opening of the Ohio State Fair in Columbus on Wednesday, a newly-constructed, 7,000-square-foot kayak pond will welcome children to try the state's fastest growing boating opportunity under the supervision of watercraft professionals. Kayaks and lifejackets will be provided as the young people are introduced to paddle sports. After the boating experience, families can roam through the wildlife exhibit where they can catch fish, shoot a bow and learn about firearm safety at the BB-gun range. Fairgoers can enjoy the beauty of Ohio wildlife up close with a walk-through tour of the aviary and butterfly garden. Other live, native wildlife will be on display, including river otters, wild turkeys, a bobcat and a new bat display. The eagle exhibit, which includes a life-size eagle nest constructed by ODNR, explains how Ohio's Bald Eagle Restoration Program has revitalized the state's eagle population. Fairgoers can wish Smokey Bear a happy 65th birthday as they stroll past the 15-foot animated black bear. Smokey greets visitors by name and reminds us all about the importance of forest fire prevention. The parks' edge is showcased by a boardwalk that leads visitors through a beautiful prairie that is showy with colorful flowers. This area represents several of Ohio's scenic state nature preserves. Continuing through the Natural Resources Park, visitors can tour a camping village that highlights some of the special overnight options available at Ohio State Parks including cabins, yurts, and tents. The camping village is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will house Gov. Ted Strickland for one night during the fair. Throughout the shaded park are several interactive exhibits that promote resource conservation and outdoor recreation. Visitors can learn more about access to recreational trails, the movement to reduce, reuse and recycle the exciting diversity of the Lake Erie coast, and Ohio's valuable mining industry. After a complete trip through the park, visitors are invited to relax at the 500-seat amphitheater that hosts a variety of acts from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., including the long-time favorite, the Lumberjack Show. Supporting stage acts include some Columbus Zoo animals, retriever dog demonstrations, and various musical and educational activities. Note: Not all of the excitement is on stage. Seating at the outdoor amphitheater was constructed with more than 190,000 recycled milk jugs. Come "Share the Fair" this year with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and take away lifelong family memories.