How can you have Fun and Save Money at the State Fair of Texas?
updated for 2019!
We just love this time of the year – bring on the corny dogs and Big Tex in Dallas, TX. It’s such a fun time to take the kids on a fun day out!
This year it runs from September 27 – October 20.
Here’s our top tips on what to see and do and how to do it without breaking the bank!
Big Tex – He is a landmark who’s been photo bombing since 1952! The area around him gets really crowded but is a great meeting area.
Animals – Visiting and feeding the animals is a huge highlight every year. Don’t miss the Petting Zoo and the Mom and Baby Animal Area.
The Fair has always promoted Agriculture, Education and Community Involvement and some of the best Contests and Animal Shows feature highly in most childhood memories.
For Kids aged 3-6 years old, head to the PeeWee Stampeed and Rodeo in the Ranch Arena. They can saddle up on a stick horse and participate in mock rodeo events.
Check out the Little Hands on the Farm in the Coliseum exhibit – Kids can try out farm life, learning about seeds, planting, harvesting and taken them to market
Kids can also feed and see a variety of Barnyard animals and a Petting Zoo at the Coliseum.
Head over to the Texas Discovery Gardens for the Daily Monarch Release at noon watch as they release butterflies into the Butterfly House, as well as daily Toddler Talk at 11am, and Critter Encounter at 2pm.
Dog Show – if you are a dog lover then don’t miss the indoor dog show. This is a nice treat to be able to sit down in the a/c! This is a great show that is kid friendly and short and sweet. It does draw a crowd so be prepared to wait.
Shows – favorites from last year include Pogo Sticks, Bike Show, dog tricks, cat show, Light show, cooking demos. The Bird Show is also very popular.
The Big Wheel – Lines are usually long but if you can wait, the views are awesome.
The Fair Park Buildings – This is the largest collection of Art Deco in the country and many have interesting sculptures and exhibits inside too. Don’t miss the Car Shows and the Texan Pavilion.
Midway Games – popular with the kids, you’ll need to buy tickets to play and ride. Don’t miss our favorite – the Dentzel Carousel! One of only 3 still working in the United States, it has 66 horses, a Wurlitzer Organ and has been a part of the Texas State Fair for 72 years.
Check out the Miniature Trains in the Errol McCoy Greenhouse – it’s a favorite for smaller kids too.
Mom Tips for the State Fair of Texas
- Pull up the map and events online before you go so you can plan your walking route
- Get there before it opens for shorter queues
- Ride the DART so you don’t have to deal with parking
- If you have younger children, go during the week, while the big kids are at school
- Buy tickets online
- Know where bathrooms are
- There is a kids area across the pond with free kids activities
- If you can avoid the weekend of TX/OU game – it is very busy
- Play midway games at the end so you’re not lugging around prizes
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes
- Lower crowds on week nights and Sunday mornings
- Ride the swan paddle boats
- Watch the Parade
- Ride coupons don’t expire so you can use last year’s
State Fair Food – this is one of the highlights of the Fair. You can’t leave without eating a Fletcher’s corn dog. They never taste as good anywhere else than they do at the State Fair. Other food favorites include funnel cake, turkey legs and don’t miss the food court area to try the award winning foods of the Fair.
The State Fair Big Tex Choice Awards began in 2005 and highlights the most unique and interesting dishes you can sample at the Fair.
Mom Tips on Food
- bring in food, water and coolers (no glass, no alcohol)
- Share bigger portions so you can taste more of what’s on offer
- Arrive after lunch so you’re not hungry
- The taffy stand near the rides sells single pieces for 25c
- Most recommended – funnel cake, corny dog, steak on a stick, fried snickers bar, fresh lemonade
- There are samples in the shopping pavilion
- There are coupons in the program for the food
- Buy a refillable souvenir cup to save money on drinks, can use previous year’s cup too!
- Find the 2 coupon water bottle stations
- Food coupons don’t expire so you can use last year’s
Now, we know taking your family to the Fair can be expensive. We have a lot of ideas on ways to save!
On Opening Day (September 27) fair-goers can buy cheap tickets for only $9 by bringing an unopened 20 oz bottle of Dasani Water or a 20 oz Coca Cola product. Donations benefit the North Texas Food Bank. One donation per person. Cannot be combined with any other offer.
Also, on opening day, all active military, retired military, and veterans receive FREE admission when they present valid documentation of military service at the gate. Spouses of service men and women with a valid Military Spouse ID, as well as accompanying children under the age of 18, also receive FREE admission.
Friday, October 11 is First Responders Day – As a special tribute to our first responders’ public service and dedication, the Fair will host a day recognizing the various organizations of first responders and their contributions to the community. All first responders, including all active and retired public law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency service agencies, will receive FREE admission to the Fair when they present a valid badge or ID card from their department or organization. In addition, up to three admission tickets will be available for their family members.
Every Tuesday of the Fair – October 1, 8, & 15 is Dr Pepper Half-Price Tuesday – Bring an empty Dr Pepper can to a State Fair of Texas gate on any Tuesday during the Fair and receive a $9 admission ticket. One can per person, discount may not be combined with any other offer. Tuesday savings also extend to the Midway – most rides are discounted on Tuesdays (excluding Thrill Way and Ferris Wheel).
Every Wednesday of the Fair – October 2, 9, & 16 – visitors have the best discount opportunity to save big AND give back to the community. North Texas Food Bank – $4 Admission – Bring four cans of food to a State Fair of Texas gate as a donation towards the North Texas Food Bank on any Wednesday during the Fair and receive a $4 admission ticket. One 4-can donation per person. Discount can not be combined with any other offers.
Every Thursday of the Fair – October 3, 10, 17 – Senior Days – Free Admission for Senior citizens 60 years and above get into the Fair FREE every Thursday of the State Fair. Discount may not be combined with any other offer.
Coca-Cola Half Price Thursdays – Bring an empty 20 oz. bottle of any Coca-Cola product to a State Fair of Texas gate on any Thursday and receive a $9 admission ticket. One bottle per person, discount can not be combined with any other offer.
Coca-Cola Thrifty Thursdays – Every Thursday of the Fair, guests can save while snacking, where participating food vendors offer one of their signature menu items at a reduced price. From cotton candy and funnel cakes, most discounted food items are between two and seven coupons.
Every Day Savings
Save when you buy online – Online tickets are $1.50 less than tickets purchased at a State Fair gate. Remember, when you buy online, you skip the lines at the ticket booth and go straight to the fun.
Save with a Season Pass – With a wide variety of discounts available throughout the run of the Fair, there are endless ways to save. One of the best ways to save is by purchasing a State Fair of Texas season pass. Seeing and experiencing everything at the State Fair in one day is nearly impossible. What is the perfect solution? Season Passes are now available for only $45, which includes 24-day admission as well as a variety of special VIP benefits.
Discounted Group Tickets – Want to get a group of friends or your company together for a day at the State Fair of Texas? They offer discounted group tickets starting for groups as small as 20.
Get Discounts Delivered to your Inbox – Sign up to become a Big Tex Insider and get the latest ticket discounts emailed to you. Insiders also receive first access to pre-sales, information on every show and State Fair attraction, discounted merchandise from the Big Tex store, and a special message from Big Tex on your birthday!
DART GoPass – Starting September 10, you can buy discounted tickets to the State Fair of Texas right from your DART GoPass app. General admission tickets are just $16, and child/senior tickets are $12. You can also buy a DART GoPass to the Fair. Both your DART GoPass and your Fair tickets will be available on your phone to be scanned at the gates. Traveling by Dart is a good choice!
Kroger Discounted General Admission and Season Passes – Purchase in advance at your local Kroger and get general admission tickets for only $16.50 or season passes for $39.95. They may be purchased at the check-out counter or service desk from September 2, 2019 to October 20, 2019.
Dr Pepper – Half Price After 5 pm – Bring an empty Dr Pepper can to a State Fair of Texas gate after 5 p.m. on any day of the week and get a general admission ticket for half price. One can per person, discount may not be combined with any other offer.
McDonald’s Coupons – Discount coupons are available at participating McDonald’s locations throughout North Texas on tray liners and bag stuffers. Bring your coupon to a State Fair of Texas gate on any day and SAVE $5 off a general admission ticket or HALF OFF a children’s tickets (with purchase of general admission).One coupon per person, discount may not be combined with any other offer.