Costa Mesa, July 30, 2018: The OC Fair is fun for the whole family, but this year there are new exhibits that are particularly perfect for the kids. From toddlers to ‘tweens, here’s a kids’ guide for tackling all the farm fresh fun at the Fair!
The Rainforest Experience: It’s a jungle over at Explorium’s newest exhibit. Filled with tropical decor, plants, animals and creepy crawlers, the kids are sure to get a kick out of this exhibit.
Read & Ride: Of course the kids will want to go on rides, and what better way to motivate them beforehand than with the Read & Ride program. Kids ages 5-11 can read earn three free carnival rides by reading two books and writing a short summary. Use the form at ocfair.com/readandride
Animals you can touch: The Great American Petting Zoo is the place to be if the kids are obsessed with animals. Located next to Green Gate, this petting zoo is full of animals that are far from shy – in fact, they’ll follow you around all day if you let them! Don’t forget to stop by Centennial Farm as well, OC Fair’s year-round working farm that features goats, cows, chicks and brand-new piglets that were just born on July 22!
Animals you can cheer on: One of the Fair’s most popular attractions is the All-Alaskan Pig Races, located in the Livestock area. The races are a gas for all ages, and take place nearly every hour every day of the Fair. Plus: the Wild West Turkey Stampede is back in town Aug. 1-5 in the Livestock Show Ring – and those guys are going to cheer themselves on!
Animals with wings: There are chicks at Centennial Farm, but that’s not all! Head back to Livestock for Golden West Game Breeders Bird Barn, plus Fur, Fiber and Feathers (Aug. 8-12). Need more wings? Stop by the Exotic Butterflies Exhibit in Crafters Village. Kids are sure to be amazed by these beauties as they land on cute little noses. (Admission for the butterfly exhibit is separate; $2 for 1 person, $5 for 3 or $6 for 4.)
Eating contests: There are two options for kids’ eating contests, one at 6:30 p.m. every night in the Explorium (signups begin at 6 p.m.) and another at 7 p.m. in OC Promenade. At the latter contest, adults can take a turn after the kids’ round!
Food: $3 Taste of the Fair Food is offered on Thursdays until 4 p.m., giving fairgoers a chance to try select samples of food from every vendor for just $3 each – and these are the perfect size for the kids as well! It’s a great way to try the foods without filling up on too much sugar!
Deals: Kids get their very own day on Thursdays! All kids ages 12 and younger are free all day on Thursdays – and remember, kids ages 5 and younger are free every day. Plus: parents can buy $35 unlimited ride wristbands on Wednesdays and Thursdays (sold until 5 p.m., valid until 8 p.m.) and Sundays (sold until 1 p.m., valid until 4 p.m.).
Arts & crafts: Stop by the tent in front of Heroes Hall so the kids can color postcards for veterans and learn all about the sacrifice our servicemen and servicewomen make every day. There’s also a daily crafts workshop in the Visual Arts Building – a perfect opportunity to cool off during the day.
Shop for fun: The Carnival of Products and Parade of Products has a few toy booths (including Burning Rubber Toy Company, Discovery Toys) as well as Usborne Books featuring educational books. Add in Mom’s Bake Shop or Planet Cookie featuring huge cookies, and it’s basically a shopping fiesta!
Bonus, here are 5 tips for parents
- Photo opps: There are classic photo booths as well as several cutouts throughout the fairgrounds. Don’t forget to stop by the newest exhibit, My Fair Selfie!
- Baby changing stations: Located to the left of The Hangar building and behind the west end of the Sky Ride.
- Fountain/change of clothes: The kids will want to run around in the Main Mall fountain, so make sure to bring a change of clothes!
- What to bring: Bring along your wagon, snacks, extra baggies for leftover Fair food, and soft-sided coolers to keep it all fresh. Reusable water bottles are OK as long as they’re empy upon arrival, and can be refilled at one of our six water fountains (The Hangar, Carnival of Products, Parade of Products, Centennial Farm, Plaza Pacifica, Plaza West).
- Safety: Find a landmark and designate it as a meeting place if you plan on separating. Be aware that the Guest Services and Lost & Found offices are located to the right of The Hangar building.
The 2018 OC Fair runs through Aug. 12 and offers 23 days and nights of entertainment, food, rides, shopping, exhibits and more. Hours are noon to midnight Wednesdays through Fridays, and 11 a.m. to midnight Saturdays and Sundays.
OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa is home to the annual OC Fair and Imaginology. Year-round attractions include Centennial Farm, Table of Dignity, Heroes Hall and Pacific Amphitheatre. Throughout the year, events ranging from recreation shows to cultural festivals are held at the Fairgrounds. For more information, visit ocfair.com
Support of OC Fair & Event Center provides year-round educational opportunities and helps fund community give-back programs.