What To See And Do At This Year’s State Fair With Kids

By Alyssa Green

The 2012 California State Fair is winding down, but there is still time to get out and enjoy what our lovely state has to offer.  The fair, which began on July 12th, ends this weekend.  If you haven’t had a chance to get out there yet, now is the time!

Just the mention of a fair brings to mind flashy games, fun rides and lots of yummy (and fattening) food.  All of that is, of course, what brings many of us out to the fair in the first place.  We want to have fun!  And we want our kids to have fun.  But don’t be fooled into thinking that rides and games are all that will entertain your kids.  The State Fair also offers wonderful activities and exhibits that expose your children to new and educational ideas and experiences.  Having spent quite a bit of time at this year’s event, here’s my recommendations of what to see and do with your kids.   Here’s what you won’t want your kids to miss out on.

The Farm.   If you visit “the Farm,” your kids can learn about California
agriculture by receiving a “farm passport”  which encourages them to walk around the farm area looking for specific fruits and vegetables, learn fun facts along the way and get their passport stamped.  Once completed they will receive a prize – a snack of their choice of a fruit or vegie.

They’ll also enjoy a farm tractor with slide to climb on, a little “piggies” ride for the teeny tiny kiddos, John Deere tractor pedal cars to ride, pony rides, a small petting zoo free of charge and have the opportunity to milk a (fake) cow.

Birds in Paradise.  This year’s floriculture exhibit is fantastic.  Kids will love seeing all the exotic birds, some in cages, some just perching contentedly around the exhibit which makes visitors feel as if they are in the jungle.  There are parrots, macaws, cockatoos, emus, peacocks and more.  My kids loved the photo op with colorful parrots sitting on their shoulders.

Toytopia.  Both today and yesterday’s most popular toys abound in Toytopia.    Enjoy the world’s largest Etch-a-Sketch, a retro 80’s video game arcade, a life-size transformer, a lego wall, a Barbie Doll display, and more.  Just be aware that there are also some toys for sale…and your kids will probably ask for some.

The Wizards Challenge.  This is a great place to let your kids run around in a contained area.  Let them try their hand at making gigantic bubbles, or test their balance as they run through the dragon’s lair.  Fun and challenging activities abound in this exhibit, so be prepare to spend some time.

The Animal Nursery.  Don’t pass up this wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about mamas and babies.  They’ll love the mama pig and her cute little piglets as well as some new little lambs.  There is also a video showing the birth of these babies, something kids in Sacramento don’t see everyday!

The County Exhibits.  If nothing else, this is a nice cool building to cool off in when it’s just too hot outside.  But really, once you get inside, you’ll want to take a look at all the fun exhibits the different California counties have put together.

Believe it or not, kids really enjoy the county exhibits too.  I don’t know about yours, but my kids love to collect stuff.  Especially if it’s free.  And here, there is plenty of stuff for your kids to pick up.  For instance, if you stop by our booth (Sacramento County,) you can pick up a “boarding pass” and once it’s stamped, your kids can walk away with a free airplane glider of their choice.

These are just a few of my recommendations.  There is so much more to see…the livestock of course, the horse shows, the doggy diving, the monster trucks, and much, much more.  So sure, have some fun on the rides, play a few games and try that chocolate covered bacon.  But don’t forget to explore all the other wonderful things the fair has to offer. Click here for a full schedule of events.

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