In full disclosure, I’ve been a big fan of the California State Fair for a long time. It embodies everything your kids would want in a fair. This was my fair growing up. Recently I’ve been fantasizing about how amazing it would be for Josie to get to experience the magic of the state fair.
This year the stars aligned. Josie is tall enough (42″) to ride most of the kiddie rides and the dates of the fair this year coincided with our upcoming trip to visit Josie’s cousins. Plus, The California State Fair was kind enough to give us a few tickets to make our visit even more special!
We wanted to share this with our friends and hopefully you can add this to your must-visit-destination list. Pintrest this story now! ;) This is not your local county fair. Read on to see why.
1. Animals, Animals, Animals!
My mom always laid out our trips to the fair starting with animals first thing in the morning. Sacramento in the summer gets pretty hot, and the everything about animals is better when it’s cooler.
First we watched the horses race around a little. Then we enjoyed pony rides and then experienced a wide variety of animals at the children’s petting zoo. Of course there were the usual suspects; pigs, ducks, and goats. But surprisingly there were also deer, kangaroo, I think a Llama or maybe an Alpaca, and more! There were so many animals. We spent about 20 minutes in this area alone.
2. The Monorail
You have two choices. You can ride the monorail when you first walk through the gates. This choice allows you to plan your attack and acclimate yourself to the lay of the land. The other choice is to wait until after dinner when the sun is going down and the concrete is releasing the last of the heat from the day. You can ride the monorail to relax and transition to night time fun and decide on your dessert!
3. Tasting California
Did you know that Butte County is the home to a huge olive oil festival? That’s one of the facts I learned while we chilled out a little in the air conditioned exhibit hall featuring many of the counties of California. (See the giant waiter behind my niece eating ice cream?) I imagine we wandered around this exhibit hall for about an hour. The girls loved seeing the different displays about where our food comes from. They especially liked sampling the apple butter, apple mustard, apple jelly over and over and over again. Sweet ripe peaches were chomped and spoons of fresh local honey were licked!
4. It’s So Big it Feels Small
I noticed at one point that it seemed like there were no lines for ANYTHING. As we walked around, we experienced virtually no crowds. We were first in line for the balloon animals and pretty much everything the girls wanted to see and do was instantly accessible. My only theory on this was because the fair covers so much acreage, there was plenty of fun for everyone, making it easy to cruise around with kids.
5. So Many Free Exhibits (Can you believe we only went on 3 rides!)
Yes, you read that right! We only went on 3 rides and we spent about 7 hours at the fair! The girls were so distracted by all of the things to see and do that they were only mildly interested in the rides. The organizers of the California State Fair stocked the fairgrounds with so many hands on activities ranging from petting sharks, to a scavenger hunt of about coastal wildlife where kids earned a prize at the end.
6. Cool Roaming Performers
The pictures below say everything. That is all.
7. Farm Style Fun
This year’s California State Fair definitely had a strong agricultural appreciation component. There were so many unique activities for kids ranging from a robo-cow to milk to an opportunity to rope “bulls” to playing in a hug planter box of corn. While the girls were amazed at the rows upon rows of tomatoes, the adults of the group were impressed that the fruit would be donated to local food banks.
Although exhibits will change from year to year, I strongly suggest making the California State Fair a family destination. For current info check out their website California State Fair.