The annual State Fair of Texas is right around the corner and it’s a great time for families, if you know where to look. Upon first glance, the hundreds of vendors and beer tents might not scream “Family Friendly”, but there are dozens of family activities you can only experience at the State Fair. Here are my Top 12 Family Friendly Activities at the State Fair of Texas:
1. Children’s Petting Zoo
Our favorite part of the State Fair every year must be the Children’s Petting Zoo. You can pet a giraffe, feed a camel, and watch baby goats and sheep play. One year we actually saw a live birth of a baby sheep! It is definitely one of the best petting zoos I’ve seen – especially with a few more exotic animals like emus, kangaroos, and zebras. Admission into the petting zoo is free, but there is a small cost for food if you’d like to feed the animals.
2. Engaging Shows
One returning show (with a new name) is always a hit with the little ones – ZuZu African Acrobats will be performing daily on the Mattress Firm Stage. You might also want to stick around for the after-dark show, Illumination Sensation. It’s a display of water, lights, dancing, and pyrotechnics right alongside the reflection pool. All new this year on Truck Zone Stage, wood carver Burt Fleming will be turning chunks of wood into works of art.
3. Backyard Circus
In this interactive show, audience members can join the cast! Children will be invited to dress up and join the three ring circus in this fun show just for kids. It’s located at the Colosseum Terrace with shows throughout the afternoon.
4. Big Tex’s Farmyard
This all new area will be packed with interactive exhibits that are as educational as they are fun! Kids can learn how famers produce enough food to feed the world. They will also be able to see live animals like piglets, calves, and hatching chicks. It’s located near the Kids’ Boardwalk and the Wild West Pet Palooza. This fun diversion is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m and is free with State Fair admission.
5. Lone Star Horse Spectacular
This show is all new for 2015, featuring professional horseback riders in a performance that celebrates the history of the Texas State Flag. This show is daily at 3, 4 and 5 p.m. in the Pan Am Arena and is free with State Fair Admission.
6. Little Hands on the Farm
This miniature farm is perfect for little hands to plant seeds, gather eggs, drive a tiny tractor, and and harvest crops. There is even a little general store where kids can purchase a real snack with their earnings from the harvest. This little farm experience is open daily from 10:00am to 7:00pm.
7. Starlight Parade
This parade, which runs nightly at 7:15pm is a spectacle of lights and colorful characters. There are electric floats, giant puppets, and (my favorite) stilt walkers!
8. BMX Show
If you’d like a little more adrenaline in your State Fair experience, you won’t want to miss the BMX Show. A professional stunt riding team flips, spins, and defies gravity on their BMX bikes.
9. Livestock Barns
If your little ones are interested in livestock, this is the place to be! You can walk past hundreds of State Fair animals through several barns. If your kids are a little older, they might enjoy a guided tour by resident student experts who are happy to answer questions.
10. Kid’s Boardwalk
The Kid’s Boardwalk was new last year and features free games and activities for kids. There is a show with Ronald McDonald and a witty Buford Buzzard, and new this year is an interactive magic show and a comical cowboy puppet. There will also be kid-friendy favorites like crafts and face painting.
11. The Greenhouse
The Errol McCoy Greenhouse is a permanent exhibit at Fair Park that features the very cool Texas Garden Railway. During the fair, you can also find gardening demonstrations and giant pumpkin carving.
12. Big Tex
Every family needs a picture with this giant cowboy! It’s a certified Texas tradition, y’all!
State Fair of Texas Tips for Families:
- Look for Discounts – Click Here for a great list of State Fair admission discounts, and Click Here for more info on Thrifty Thursdays.
- Go during the school day – it will still be busy, but it might not be completely packed!
- You can bring your own food and soft sided coolers into the State Fair, but you are not allowed to bring in glass containers and alcohol.
- There are Port-a-Pottys throughout Fair Park, but restrooms with changing tables can be found in each of the EXPO buildings.
- Strollers are available for rent, but you might as well bring your own. You will definitely want one because Fair Park is huge!
Did I miss your favorite? Share what you love about the Texas State Fair in the comments!
Photo Credits: Kevin Brown/State Fair of Texas
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