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Finding Fun at the State Fair

In all honesty, I was quite surprised to gaze through the State Fair program and envision so many things that young kids might enjoy. This is certainly not a comprehensive list of all there is to see and do, but the ones that I thought most interesting. Families with older kids may want to skip down to the bottom with the not-as-many-but-more-thrill-packed list. If it intrigues you too, be sure to check out my last post with discount ideas to make it more of a budget-friendly trip.


  • In the Floriculture tent is the “Jungle and Reptile Experience”. It features a variety of birds, amphibians and reptiles, including colonies of alligators and large tortoises all housed in a whimsical garden (read: shaded and cool) environment. You will be able to see and touch these creatures close up.
  • Expo Center #6 is dedicated to the exotic world of fur and feathers, There are small poultry, rabbits, exotic birds, cavy and pocket pets. Don’t miss the Hatchery and see chicks hatching from eggs before your eyes.
  • There is a Ranch for Kids that features pony painting, pony school, chicken petting, goat hill, the petting farm, and the interactive children’s dairy center where kids can milk a cow or goat. Entrance is free and runs from 1 – 6pm. Some exhibits, such as the petting farm, require a small fee. It’s located near the entrance to the Livestock Pavilion.
  • The Livestock Nursery at “The Farm” houses a variety of animals (dairy, goats, sheep and swine), ready to give birth. Veterinarians and veterinary science students from UCD are there around the clock. You may get an opportunity to witness a live birth.
  • Kids ages 6 and under and under 60 lbs. can attempt to ride a real sheep and hold on for 6 seconds. The cost for this Mutton Bustin’ is $10 and all the safety equipment is provided.
  • Nancy Kobert is one of the most entertaining personable and innovative bird/animal show producers. You can catch her show with exotic birds at the Expo #3.


  • Days of the Dinosaur is making its first US appearance. The all-ages indoor attraction will feature more than a dozen life-sized dinosaur robots, skeleton replicas, interactive areas and photo opportunities. The exhibit is free with Fair admission and includes hands-on activities like an paleontological dig site where children will have the opportunity to find their own fossils using authentic paleontology tools!
  • At the California Building, Buildings A&B is the Aerospace Adventure. The interactive exhibit features a hot air balloon basket and skirt, replica of the NASA Mars Lander Phoenix with video from Mars, artifacts relating to Sacrament aerospace heritage and more.


  • Street Beat is a high-energy explosion of urban rhythm, acrobatic movement and dance. It is described as a “high-impact percussion and acrobatic show”.
  • The Passport Parade starts each evening at 6:30pm on the east side of the Promenade. Anyone is welcome to be part of the adventure by falling in line behind the fire engine and joining the fun. Costumes are encouraged.
  • Lawnmower Racing will be held July 17th and 18th. This isn’t your average backyard lawnmower, these machines reach up to 60 miles per hour!
  • The Fire Pixies comes alive at Expo Center #3. These performers use fire eating, breathing & dancing as part of their show.


Older kids may be more interested in the following:

  • Metal Mayhem, the high-impact demolition derby held on July 31st and August 1st at the Horse Show and Rodeo Arena.
  • The Bull Fest will take place on July 25th at 7pm.
  • For a small fee you can get the ride of a lifetime in a 4X4 monster truck at the Extreme Zone.
  • Saturday July 24th at 7pm is the annual Step Up Dance Competition. Talented local dancers will compete on the Promenade Stage.
  • Raging Water – the largest Sacramento waterpark. Cutoff for some of the slides are at 48”. Discounts can be found that combine entrance to the State Fair.
  • The Fireworks show is every night at 10pm at the Miller Lite Grandstand.
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