Last summer, when we traveled to Missouri to view the solar eclipse, we decided to make a mini road trip out of it. I already blogged about the eclipse, but I never blogged about our other stops on that trip.
When we were trying to figure out what would be a good starting point for our trip, we checked out a few midwest cities. St. Louis? Kansas City? What about Des Moines? Oh right, Des Moines! I’ve read about the Iowa State Fair on a few different blogs before. The amazing food on sticks! The butter cow! The livestock! I was curious if the Fair would still be going on around the time of eclipse. And sure enough, it was!
So, we booked our tickets from DC to Des Moines. We stayed in Des Moines for three nights before driving to St. Joseph, Missouri for the eclipse. We saw lots of stuff in Des Moines, not just the Iowa State Fair. BUT, this post is covering just the Iowa State Fair!
It’s worth noting that I’ve never been to a state fair before (or even a county fair for that matter!) so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had no idea there was just SO MUCH TO SEE AND DO at it. I basically thought it would just be lots of food booths and some farm animals. But there was so much more to it than that!
I’m really not even sure where to begin. But, I suppose we’ll start with the livestock!
Livestock at Iowa State Fair
There were so many buildings with livestock exhibits at the Iowa State Fair. One of my favorites (but not my absolute favorite, that’s later!) was the sheep barn!
I couldn’t get over how cute they looked in their little “jackets.” I actually had to ask why they were wearing them. Someone explained to us that there are sheep shearing competitions, and that the little jackets keep them clean from debris until it’s time for the show!
And, shortly thereafter, we actually saw people shearing their sheep!
This next picture makes me laugh every time I see it. I can fully appreciate how much hard work this is and the time and effort that people must put into this! But this guy examining the sheep’s butt just gets me every time!
There were aisles and aisles of sheep pens that we could explore. Some of the sheep were very friendly and curious.
Others seemed bored or lonely.
And, I did find it a bit sad that the lamb food truck was directly outside the sheep barn!
And then there was the cattle barn. Enormous cattle just hanging out!
These folks were like shop-vac’ing their cows:
And then, here were some “award winners”
And then, we spent some time in the swine barn. Which, interestingly, was home to a lot more than just swine. There were also some goats in here, some cattle, and even emus!
And, what might be one of my favorite photos from the Iowa State Fair (well, of livestock anyway). Doesn’t it look like this cow is smiling?
I’m no vegetarian or anything, but I did get a bit sad reading signs that said that the purposes of the animal were “beef” or “meat.”
Then, there was this stern warning!
And, behind the sign was this enormous, but beautiful animal.
And another scary sounding sign:
But, most of the other animals were cute and friendly!
There were even bunnies!
And, I couldn’t help but laugh at this branding “tagline” for the Emus. “Living Dinosaurs!” Who came up with that one, that’s fantastic!
The Iowa State Fair seems like it’s an incredibly busy time for the folks showing the animals. We spotted lots of people sleeping next to their animals!
Animal Learning Center / a.k.a “Baby Animal Building”
But, by FAR my favorite livestock exhibit at the Iowa State Fair was the “Animal Learning Center,” where there are baby animals! In fact, many of the animals in there were actually born DURING the Fair!
This calf had been born the very day we were visiting!
The calf had actually been sleeping as we first approached the pen, and the cow kept licking the calf and mooing really loudly to wake it up. It’s like she was saying “Time to wake up! You gotta eat!”
I’ll let all the other baby animal photos do the talking here:
And, let’s not forget about our trip to the Horse Barn. Some areas of this barn were roped off because they were getting ready for a competition, but we were still able to get pretty close to a lot of them!
I love how this one even had little bows on its hooves!
I’m fairly sensitive to bad smells, and it’s worth noting that some of the manure-type smells in all of these different barns were pretty overwhelming at first. But, after walking around in each barn, I got used to it and it really wasn’t so bad!
My, I can’t believe I ended up spending an entire post’s worth of photos solely on the animals at the Iowa State Fair! My intention was to cover all sorts of things in this post, like the food, the rides, and the other exhibits as well! But, I think that should probably wait for a future post!
Have you ever been to the Iowa State Fair? Or maybe other state or county fair that had tons of animal exhibits?