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The best things to do with kids at State Fair this year


At just the mention of the Wisconsin State Fair, I can almost taste the corn on the cob and smell the cow manure. It's one of our favorite yearly outings with the family.

I've scoured the Wisconsin State Fair website to find some of the most fun things to do with kids this year.

(I'm sure I've left some things out, so please feel free to add ideas in the comments for other readers!)

1. Stop by the Kohl's Activity Zone

The Kohl’s Activity Zone is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and it’s located on South Grandstand Avenue. You'll find:

  • Art projects with Kohl’s Color Wheels / Milwaukee Art Museum

  • Hands-on design projects with Kohl’s Design It! Mobile Lab / Discovery World

  • Conservation-themed theatrical performances with Kohl’s Wild Theater / Milwaukee County Zoo

  • Activities for children with special needs

  • Safety and health information

2. Save money on Kohl's Family Value Day

During Kohl’s Family Value Day on Monday, August 7th, ALL Fairgoers will be eligible for discounted Fair admission from 8 am until 6 pm. One of the best promotions during the State Fair, adults will receive admission for only $5 (a $7 savings), and youth 11 and under will receive FREE admission (a $7 savings).

Find out about other admission deals here.

3. Ride WonderWheel, the brand new ferris wheel

Head over to the west side of the park and ride the WonderWheel. It's North America’s largest traveling Ferris wheel, and it's making its Wisconsin debut at the State Fair. The WonderWheel is 15 stories high, weights 400,000 lbs, and twinkles with 528,000 LED lights. It features 36 fully enclosed, brightly colored gondolas that can each hold six people (and one gondola offers accessible seating). Each ride is about 10 minutes long and costs $5 per person. You can see for 10 miles from the top of the wheel!

4. Find a Strolling Street Entertainer

As you walk around, you might catch a random performance by Mango and Dango Theatrical Circus, Canines a la Cart, StatueViva, Matt’s Family Jam, Sam The Wheeler, Steve Trash, Alex Clark, Brant The Fireguy, Allez-OOPS!, and the World Record Balloon Stunt Show.

5. Catch a parade

The parades kick off at 3:00 pm daily (2pm on the final Sunday, as part of Miller High Life Veterans and Military Recognition Day). See the your favorite street entertainers, mascots, tractors, marching bands and more.

6. Watch "Sea Lion Splash"

The 30 minutes Sea Lion Splash show is located on South Grandstand Avenue, and will feature seal lions blanking balls, shooting hoops and doing handstands. The show will also teach about marine wildlife and conservations.

7. Visit the K-9 Sports Arena

The K-9 Sports Arena, located in the Big Backyard, features shows and demonstrations hourly on the half-hour on weekdays with additional shows on weekends.

See dog dock diving, frisbee, agility courses, Police K-9 units and more. Plus, new this year, the Dog Trick Competition will be held on Sunday, August 13th.

8. Do a solar car race at We Energies Energy Park

Learn about electric and gas safety with interactive games and exhibits at the We Energies Energy Park. There will be cooking and gardening presentations, birds of prey up close, game shows, solar car races, and more. It's located on the west side of the fair on Wetley Way at Center Street.

Plus, get an identification wristband to keep your child safe at the fair.

9. Be inspired at the Young People’s Art Exhibit

This year’s exhibit features over 360 paintings, sculptures and drawings from youth grades 6 - 12, located in the lobby of the Exposition Center. Kids of all ages can create a free art pieces in the Make It, Take It Art Project Area.

10. Learn about nature in Exploratory Park

Take your family on an adventure through Exploratory Park, located on the south side of the Fair Park. The DNR is featuring hands on stations for kids of all ages to spark creativity, learn about state parks, forests and natural areas.

11. Meet Alice in Dairyland in the Farm & Family Building

Race a potato Porsche or carrot Camaro in the Veggie 500 and meet Alice in Dairyland. Learn about farm animals with our new life-size board game. Play Plinko, spin a big wheel or toss some bean bags to learn more about Wisconsin products and safe food for people and animals.

Plus, get a special stamp on your scavenger hunt card at each game station and when you’ve filled your card, color a button to take home.

12. See baby farm animals in the Discovery Barnyard

Learn about Wisconsin's agriculture, see live demonstrations and meet baby farm animals from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. daily. The Discovery Barnyard is located in Ag Village, east of the Farm and Family Building on Sue Wetley Court.

13. Ride the yellow slide

Admit it. You kinda want to. And your kids definitely do! This Fair tradition is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Hop on a burlap sack and take a magic carpet ride. Trips down the 200 ft. slide are only $2.50 each.

14. Get adventurous with food

Of course there are always cream puffs, and the amazing Wisconsin Product expo. But there lots of new foods this year that you may want to try. Our favorite include:

Apple pie nachos: Cinnamon and sugar nacho chips topped with apple pie filling, caramel, whipped cream and walnuts. At Jayme's Chipstix.

Root Beer Pops: It's that old fashioned flavor of Sprecher Root Beer, but even more refreshing for those hot summer days. At Sprecher Root Beer Everything.

Banana boats: Banana Boat will remind you of the days of being a kid sitting around a campfire and enjoying this banana stuffed with marshmallows and chocolate chips. At Knucklehead.

Cricket chips: Gluten free and high in protein, these chips feature one cricket per chip. At All Things Jerky.

(Just for mom and dad) Sangria On-a-Stick: Frozen sangria pops. A refreshing, adult delight made with Copa Di Vino wine, club soda, fruit juices and fruit puree. Choice of red or white wine. At Leadfoots Race Bar & Grill.

If you want to save some money, head to the fair on Crazy Grazin Day (August 8th) and save with select food and drink vendors.

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So, what did we miss? What do you love to do with your kids at the fair?


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