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The State Fair of Texas

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Texas vacations taking place in late September thru early October should include the Texas State Fair.

The State Fair of Texas is the biggest in the U.S. There are SO many things to see and do that you could spend several days there to do it all.

The Texas State Fair is held in Dallas, Texas in Fair Park. Fair Park contains the world’s largest collection of 1930s Art Deco exposition buildings, so notice them as you walk thru the fairgrounds.

Cheap Family Vacations at the Fair

Cheap family vacations are possible at the fair because you can get all kinds of admission deals.

During the week there are all sorts of promotions such as "bring in a coke can for $4 admission", that sort of thing.

Check the guide in the newspaper to see what price break is available which day. Also, in the past Tuesdays has been $2 day - $2 for each ride. What a deal! The little children rides are usually $2 or so anyway, but the bigger rides are more. Sometimes a lot more.

If you don't have a newspaper guide, the website (bigtex.com) also has a listing of everything happening each day and can help with planning Texas vacations to the park during the fair, and also during other times of the year.

This is what we do when we go to the fair, and it works well with our kids:

Children’s Barnyard

When we go to the fair we always first go to the Children’s Barnyard. This if free. You can buy a cup of food to feed to the animals. They have goats, pigs, turtles, zebras (these you look but don’t touch), camels, longhorns, deer, kangaroos, etc. You get to see them up close. The earlier you go to this during the day the better – it gets crowded as the day goes on. If you go around the side of this building they have some cages with baby animals – tiny baby kittens, puppies, rabbits and chicks. They get bigger as the fair goes on! Free!

Little Hands on the Farm

Children can pretend to harvest food and live out a day at the farm and at the end “trade” the “money” they received for their crops for a prize. A Texas vacations favorite with the little ones. Free!

Animal Shows

There are lots of animal shows at the fair. All are Free!

The dog shows are great – they have Frisbee dogs competing and doing obstacle courses. You can’t take strollers inside the arena but they have a spot to park them on the side of the arena floor. The show isn’t very long and after it is over the kids can go to the arena floor and pet the dogs if they are quick.

There are also pig races - something to see if you haven't seen them before.

There is also a neat bird show where birds are doing tricks. It has been there for many years, and always a crowd favorite.

h3>More Shows, Concerts and Entertainment

There are lots of fun shows all over Fair Park at different times – acrobats, puppet shows, music groups, etc.

There are also well-known music acts appearing all over the fair. Fun entertainment for Texas vacations in Dallas. All Free!


There is lots of stuff on display at the fair, and it is all free!

The Creative Arts has arts and crafts, as well as cooking contests and a puppet show.

The Agriculture building features Elsie the Cow, and free samples of lots of great foods that Texas is known for.

Cars, cars, cars. The Texas State Fair has got them! New cars, classic cars...lots to see,

Big Tex

Big Tex, the icon for the fair, is a great photo opportunity.

Even though Fair Park is a place to visit year round for Texas vacations, you'll only see Big Tex during the fair. As a matter of fact, folks come out to watch him being assembled each year.

Big Tex is a big deal!

Texas vacations, Big Tex, State Fair of Texas, Fair Park

Big Tex at the Texas State Fair


Towards the end of the day, we go to the Midway. If you go to the Midway earlier, you’ll never get them out of it to go do something else – so save it for last. Besides, if Texas family vacations have you at the fair after dark, there is something magical about the lights of the midway at night.

We usually buy a certain amount of tickets and then let the kids pick what they want to ride until the tickets are all used up.

They have a special “Kidway” with rides for smaller kids.

Not free, but see notes above about how to save money on the Midway.

Starlight Parade

There is a parade each evening, which includes floats, the Marine Corp Band as well as the Hella Shrine band. Free!


Fair Park, where the state fair is held, is home to many musuems. Some require a separate admission.

One is the Texas Discovery Gardens. Some years they have had a butterfly garden in the conservatory where they hatch lots of butterflies and they are flying all around you. You have to pay a separate admission for this. Some times there are more butterflies than others. We’ve been with not many flying around, and we’ve been with them all around you and landing on you! How active the butterflies are depends on if it is cloudy outside. So before paying to go in make sure that the butterflies are active and plentiful.

The aquarium is the perfect size to take a break from the fair (in air conditioning) and rest before heading back out. Admission is free if you are a member of the Dallas Zoo.

State Fair Food

Don’t forget the food – available from stands everywhere and in the Tower building. This is one of the highlights of the fair, and you should sample all that is here on family Texas vacations. There is also a restaurant, the Old Mill Inn. Bring a lunch and you’ll save lots of $$ and bring snacks too, then you can always supplement it with food there when you’re hungry or want a treat. There are picnic tables all over or you can go to the lagoon for a nice spot.

Each year there is a new featured food. Recent items have been friend peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fried margaritas, and one of our favorites, fried butter.

See you at the fair!

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