Heading to the Texas State Fair? Like Texas, it’s a BIG place, and almost impossible to do everything in one day. Plan ahead the shows and attractions you really want to see, get a map and check out my Mommy Tips for a great day at the fair!
Know Before You Go
Parking can be a real headache, especially on weekends. Avoid the main parking areas, and ONLY park on the Fair Grounds. We found a great parking spot near the entrance using Gate 2/Haskell just past the Dart Rail. Parking is $15.
Outside food is allowed at the Texas State Fair. No glass or alcohol.
Port-a-Pottys are located throughout the Fair Grounds, but REAL restrooms (with changing tables) are located in all the EXPO buildings.
Purchase a yearly membership to the Texas Discovery Gardens, $65 for a family, and receive up to 6 one day tickets to the State Fair, plus a year of enjoyment in the garden and butterfly house!
Coupon vendors accept credit cards, but you’ll still want to have a little cash.
The Children’s Barnyard is one of our favorites! You can see young camels, porcupines, cattle, zebras, ostrich, goats, pigs and baby joey kangaroo in it’s mother’s pouch and much, much more!!
Before you purchase the $5 cup of food, check out the animals. More times than not, we’ve ended up just dumping our cup of food because the animals weren’t hungry. If you get inside and find a hungry one, then go purchase a cup or use the smaller coin machines.
Little Hands on the Farm
Another tradition for us is the Little Hands on the Farm. Young guest spend a few minutes “working” a day on the farm. We fed not so real chickens, goats and cows, picked a peach from a tree, planted and harvested a potato and milked a cow. Children then take their products to the store to “sell” for play money they can then redeem in the general store for a REAL snack!
There are no real animals in Little Hands on the Farm.
The sights and sounds of the Midway are amazing, but so is the cost of everything! It helps us to plan ahead what we are going to ride. My favorites are the Texas Star Ferris Wheel, Top O’ Texas Tower, Texas Skyway or the 1914 Dentzel Carousel. We usually just pick one, and switch out each year. Plan to spend 12-14 tickets ($6-$7) per person on any of these rides.
The carousel is one of only 3 still working in the United States. It has 66 horses, a Wurlitzer Organ and has been a part of the Texas State Fair for 69 years.
The Texas Star Ferris Wheel is the largest in the United States.
Don’t miss the Starlight Parade, which starts each night at 7:15.
Take a picture with 55′ tall Big Tex. It’s a tradition.
We had just taken a picture 20 minutes earlier on the day Big Tex caught fire in 2012. Those are some of my favorite State Fair pictures!
Visit the State Fair of Texas Auto Show!
Check out the HAVING FUN IN THE TEXAS SUN button my daughter made me, my 6-year-old claims that making the buttons was his FAVORITE part of our visit!
The Auto Show has been a part of the Texas State Fair since 1904!
The Errol McCoy Greenhouse is one of the permanent features of Fair Park, and shouldn’t be missed! Kids, as well as adults, will love the Texas Garden Railway. Check the schedule for gardening and pumpkin carving workshops.
State Fair Chili Cookoff
The Sunday before the Fair opens is the Chili Cookoff, although it has expanded over the years to also include Bar-B-Q, Dutch Oven and many more categories. Winners of each category receive a trophy and cash award! For a measly $15 entry fee, all cooks receive a FREE ticket to the fair and a parking pass!
Lured by the free tickets, this past September we entered the cookoff. As complete newbies to cook-offs, the other contestants were wonderful, giving us tips such as to rub an onion slice in the cup before you fill it to eliminate the styrofoam taste. Despite not winning, we had a blast, made new friends ate great food and received our 5 FREE one day tickets and a parking pass to this years fair!
For more information on the 2019 State Fair Chili,
Bar-B-Q and Dutch Oven Cookoff, click HERE!
11. More Fun at the Fair
- Pee Wee Stampede. Little cowpokes can enter the arena to race stick horses. Showtimes 12, 1:30 and 4 at the Ranch Arena (near the Children’s Barnyard).
- Swan Lake offers swan paddle boat rides in the Leonhardt Lagoon.
- Kid’s Boardwalk
- Bring a small bag of goldfish to toss of the bridge to the carp in the lagoon.
- Canstruction Exhibit at the old Science Place Building
- Daily feedings at the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park
- Let the kids cool off in the big fountain near the Wild West Pet Palooza. They can wear a swim suit under their clothing.
- Texas Discovery Gardens are half price during the State Fair
- Head over to the Hall of State Building, to see the Six Ladies of Fair Park, 20′ statues that represent the 6 Flags of Texas.
Texas State Fair
3921 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75210
Click HERE to visit the official State Fair of Texas website.
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