COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Natural Resources Park has returned as a must-do destination for families at the Ohio State Fair, featuring a couple of new attractions. 

During the fair’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources built a new accessible playground featuring low-impact, easy-to-access entertainment for children exploring the park. 

“Whether kids are searching for remarkable fossils, navigating a path through a maze of towering barrels, exploring a mini truck, or pretending to camp under the stars after an unforgettable canoe adventure in a life-size boat, there are opportunities to unwind and experience imaginative play in this newly constructed oil- and gas-themed area of the Natural Resources Park,” the Ohio State Fair said. 

In addition, a new life-size sculpture of Dunkleosteus terrelli, also known as “The Dunk,” has been installed within the park. The Dunk is Ohio’s official state fossil fish and is now on display at the Geological Walk Through Time exhibit.

The eight-acre Natural Resources Park is also home to a number of family-friendly activities including kayaking, fishing, archery, a butterfly house, a wild bird aviary, habitat trail, a river touch pond, an outdoor amphitheater, and Smokey Bear.

“People at the state fair may not realize how much outdoor adventure we have here in Ohio,” said Mary Mertz, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. “That’s why we put it all in one place at the fair, letting people test their skills with a fishing rod or on the pond – and I hope this experience will inspire families to go out and discover all the amazing places we have all over the state.”

Fair-goers prepare to kayak at the Natural Resources Park.

At the Kayak Pond, fair-goers can grab a life jacket and take a stab at one of the fastest-growing outdoor sports, kayaking. Interested paddlers should check in at the Discover Pavilion within the park. Participants must be at least 50 inches tall. 

Using provided cane poles and tackle, kids ages 14 and younger can also fish for bluegill at the Kids’ Fishing Pond. Those guests who catch a fish will be aided by an Ohio wildlife officer to take it off the hook and will be given the option to send the fish back or take it home. 

Students perform at the amphitheater, part of the Natural Resources Park.

Visit the outdoor amphitheater to catch the Lumberjack Show at noon, 2 p.m., and 6 p.m. This family-friendly show features lumberjacks showing off their skills with fast-paced log rolling, chainsaw carving, and wood chopping. 

The Natural Resources Park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ohio State Fair. View more details here.