A ribbon cutting ceremony for the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center took place on August 19, 2007 on the Iowa State Fairgrounds, just one year after breaking ground at the 2006 Iowa State Fair.
Iowa businessman and philanthropist William Knapp, made a generous $750,000 contribution to the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation which allowed the launch of this new facility at the 2007 Iowa State Fair. The Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center, named in honor of Mr. Knapp’s brother and lifelong business partner, exposes urban and rural Fairgoers alike to the importance of livestock production in Iowa.
The Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center is an integral part of the Iowa State Fairgrounds master plan, and is made possible at this stage with the private funding from Mr. Knapp. “We are very excited to be involved with such an important addition to the Fairgrounds,” said Bill Knapp. “The Iowa State Fair is one of our favorite causes, and as we support the enhancement of the buildings and grounds, we hope others will contribute, as well.”
The state-of-the-art, agriculture-based education facility shows the animal birthing process, as well as the various stages of development in different species, including cattle, sheep and pigs. It helps instruct children on the fundamentals of animal husbandry with the hopes of cultivating further interest on the subject. This project is not only beneficial to the Fair, but to all of Iowa.
The Animal Learning Center is located just south of the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit. Collaborative input was gathered from several institutions in the state, including the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University.
“We at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University are very excited about the prospect of construction of the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center at the State Fairgrounds. Animal agriculture is a major component of this state’s economy and we value any opportunity to teach both youth and adults about best practices in animal husbandry,” commented Dean John Thomson when asked about the Learning Center. “The support shown by Mr. Knapp is a testimony of the respect for the rich heritage of livestock production in Iowa. It is also an opportunity for those of us currently involved in modern livestock production to educate all those who attend the fair about the care of animals.”