A Family Fun Guide to the State Fair of Texas


Dallas Moms Blog tips for family fun at the state fair with kids

One woman, three children, and one visiting grandpa. Find out how this family not only survived the State Fair of Texas 2012, but managed to get everyone back home – on the train – in one happy-smiley piece.

Our trip to the fair began on opening day 2012. We rode the DART, as I dearly love Dallas but loathe the traffic. First stop was of course the wristband station, and I got immediate kudos on my first brilliant decision of the day: matching outfits for all THREE girls, so that at any given time I could quickly find them.

After arriving to the fair, our first stop was the auto show which I maneuvered the girls through by letting them take turns driving the cars. As we exited the building, their eyes were immediately drawn to the fountain on International Boulevard, and I let them have some time to splash while I roasted in the sun.

Next stop: the puppet show inside of the Creative Arts building. This was fantastic for several reasons:
1. It’s air conditioned! [it was still at least 90 out, and by the time you get there from the auto building you and your kids could be incredibly hot, sticky, and thirsty]
2. It was fast paced enough that even my 17-month old was happy sitting on my lap or walking in front of our seats.
3. It was a combination of magic, musical, and puppets – three things that all kids love. Also, if you child raises their hand quickly enough as the show starts they may get to be a part of the show!

As the puppet show ended we decided to extend our air conditioned foray and explore the Embarcadero building, which houses all of the crafts, dollhouses, butter displays [wow!] and cooking demonstrations at the Maytag celebrity kitchen. With chefs from La Duni, French Room at the Adolphus, Dragonfly, Nick and Sam’s and Hattie’s, the opportunity to watch Dallas’s most amazing chefs make amazing dishes is right in front of you!

Now that we were all cooled down, we headed across the way to the children’s petting zoo. From goats and piglets to the more exotic kangaroos and ostriches, the kids were enamored and didn’t want to leave.  For a small price you can even buy a small container of feed.

From the petting zoo we headed directly into the dog show, which is housed in the same building. I was pleased with plenty of bleachers for wiggly children, and a not-too-long show with jumping dogs wearing cute little clothes.

As the show ended we grabbed some snacks and headed around to the Midway.

Sensory overload and cotton candy here we come!

After the Midway we wandered back through some hidden gardens and pathways back to the auto show for one more round of air conditioning before heading out to the train station.

Our trip to the State Fair of Texas 2012 was done and over, I hadn’t lost any of my children, and everyone had a smile on their face as we walked back to the car.

Some Things To Remember:

1. Look for discounts: all members of the Dallas’ Museum of Nature and Science should have already received a voucher in the mail for 2 adults and 4 children.  You can also buy discounted tickets at BigTex, saving you a couple of dollars per ticket. Every Tuesday you can bring an empty Dr Pepper can and enter for $5. Most rides on those Tuesdays (excluding the Thrillway, Texas Star, and selected other attractions) are 5 coupons. On Thursdays you can bring an empty 20 oz. bottle of a Coca-Cola product and enter the fair for $6 (or buy one at the vending machines located immediately in front of the gates).

2. If you can swing it, the DART is your friend. Self-parking at the State Fair runs $15 per car this year, and that can involve horrendous stop and go traffic and a LONG walk to one of the park gates.  Alternately, you can board a train at any of the DART stations [check the schedule beforehand], pay $3.50 roundtrip per adult, and be dropped off literally at the front gates of the fair.

3. Bring your stroller [and your Baby Bjorn]! The State Fair of Texas is BIG [didn’t you know everything in Texas is bigger??] so little feet definitely need a break.  If you’re coming with more than one child you can alternate between letting one of them walk and the other one ride in the stroller [or in your carrier], thereby only having to chase after one child at a time.

4. Things do NOT start on time, plan accordingly. The closest any of the shows got to starting on time was around 6-7 minutes late. When you’re dealing with littles who can’t stand still, it can be a little trying!

5. Remember that kids enjoy the most surprising things. Whether it wandering down a “hidden garden”, sitting in a car at the auto show, or splashing their hands in a fountain, my girls had the most fun when I allowed them to explore and didn’t stress about getting all the “right” shows fit into our day at the park.

What are your favorite family-friendly activities at the State Fair of Texas?



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