Florida State Fair 2024

Our Favorite Things to Do with the Kids at the Florida State Fair!

The 120th Annual Florida State Fair returns in 2024 from February 8-19 at the Florida State Fairgrounds with more than a CENTURY of building family traditions in Tampa Bay! A century, y’all! We’re talking about GENERATIONS of families who have experienced the Fair with their kids.

If you’re new to town or have simply never been, this is the year you’ll want to go. If you’ve been, come back! Sure, there are the things you’d expect at a state fair like farm animals and deep-fried everything, but it’s so much more than that.

It truly is a family-friendly event and this year, they’ve got even more FUN in store for you and the kids! There is even an area dedicated just for the little ones with rides and activities just for them.

Fun Fact: Did you know the Florida State Fair and what was the Gasparilla Carnival were celebrated together from 1915-1975 before the Fair moved from downtown Tampa to its current location at the Florida State Fairgrounds?

How to get tickets to the Florida State Fair

First, we need to go over the big details like….tickets! You can’t go without them. You can purchase in advance to save and skip the lines at the gate.

    • Advance Sale Adult Tickets: $11
    • Advance Sale Kids Tickets (ages 6-11): $7
    • Advance Sale Anyday Armband: $32
    • Advance Sale Anyday Armband + Fast Pass: $54

*Armband sales do not include admission tickets, so you’ll need to get that too. Purchase advance sale tickets and armbands here. You can also purchase tickets at participating WAWA locations in Tampa Bay.

In addition to buying your tickets and armbands in advance, we also recommend you bring cash to have on hand for experiences like the games and petting zoo. The kids will be begging to feed the animals!

Keep in mind that there is a Youth Admission Policy this year that requires all youth 17 and younger to be accompanied by an adult ages 21 and older after 6 pm.


Florida State Fair Discount Days

There are several ways to take advantage of discount tickets to the Florida State Fair including a Family Day and Kids’ Day! Here’s a complete list of days to save:

  • Heroes’ Day, Thursday, February 8: Free admission for law enforcement, first responders, and military and veterans with valid ID.
  • Super Savings Sunday, Feb 11: Free admission for law enforcement, first responders, active-duty military, and veterans all day. Also, free admission with the purchase of Any Day Ride Armband after 3 pm.
  • Senior Days: Any weekday during the fair. $11 admission for seniors 55+
  • $3 Thursday, February 15. $3 admission and select rides, games, and food items after 3 pm.
  • Family Day: Friday, February 16:  Free admission for kids 17 and younger with a paid adult until 6 pm.
  • Kids’ Day: Monday, February 19: Free admission for kids 17 and younger with a paid adult until 6 pm.


Florida State Hours

The Florida State Fair is open Monday – Thursday at 11 am with the Midway Rides and Games opening at 1 pm and on Friday through Sunday, the gates open at 10 am with the Midway rides and games opening at 10:30 am.


Where to park at the Florida State Fair

Parking is free for Florida State Fair guests. You will want to plan for some traffic as you head toward the Florida State Fairgrounds which is located at 301 US Hwy 301 North. There are three entrances to enter the parking lots: Orient Road, Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, and US 301.

Pro tip: Snap a photo of which parking lot you parked in because who wants to wander through a parking lot for hours searching for their car??


What’s NEW at the Florida State Fair in 2024:

Sunny Florida State Fair Mascot
Sunny, the Florida State Fair’s NEW mascot!
    • Meet Sunny! The Florida State Fair is debuting its new mascot this year and he represents all things Florida and the Florida State Fair! He’s a bright sun with the coolest sunglasses and even Fair logo print swim shorts. He’ll be available to meet daily during the Florida State Fair.
    • Silent Disco: Choose your own musical adventure at the Silent Disco which is included with admission! You’ll find it near the giant Ferris wheel on February 9 and 10 only.
    • Fireworks: The sky above the Florida State Fairgrounds will illuminate on four select nights: February 9 & 10 and 17 & 18.
    • Tigirlily Gold: Listen to the talented sisters as they take the stage with their blend of country-pop at the Grove at 7 pm on Saturday, February 10. This headline concert is included with Fair admission.
    • Secret Walls: The Ultimate Live Paint Battles Experience: Watch as a team of artists create murals in under 90 minutes using only black paint. Catch this artistic performance February 8-10 at 7 pm in the Entertainment Hall.
    • Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation Photography Exhibit: Over in the Florida Forest Discovery Center, you can walk through beautiful photographs showcasing the animals and fauna that call our Florida wildlife corridors home.

Here are our 10 favorite things to do with the kids at the Florida State Fair:

    It’s safe to say there is no shortage of amazing things to do with the kids at the Florida State Fair. With 150+ live entertainment options, there is something for everyone in the family whether they are a thrill seeker, animal lover, or foodie.

    With so many different options, you can explore the Florida State Fair Visitors Guide to curate your day based on show times. We’re sharing some of our favorite things to do to help you get started on mapping out your best day ever at the Fair!

    *Our media partners at TampaBayDateNightGuide.com are sharing some fun ways to plan an epic date night at the Florida State Fair!

    Rides at the Florida State Fair
    There are rides for all ages at the Florida State Fair!

    1. Visit the Midway

    This is the place to go for bragging rights because we all know how kids love to share the BIG things they’ve tried for the first time, like a new ride! The Florida State Fair’s Midway is the largest Midway in North America with more than 90 rides. There are even several rides for the wee little ones and of course the family favorite, the Ferris wheel.


    2. Meet the animals at The Great American Petting Zoo and Rainforest Encounter

    There are so many animal encounters at the Florida State Fair, but these are probably our favorites:

    • Great American Petting Zoo: Head over to the Ag Hall of Fame where you can feed goats, sheep, and even a hog! 
    • Rainforest Experience: This is something we are looking forward to–it’s a chance to see unique animals including the sloth during this educational experience. You’ll find it over in the Mall area, on the 5 Points Stage behind the giant slide and Ferris wheel area.


    3. Play like a farmer in the Little Farm Hands exhibit

    This is an indoor exhibit at the Ag Hall of Fame designed for kids ages 2-7 years old which we LOVE as a way to seek some shade, but the kids might love it even more!

    This is where they can get hands-on with fun farm activities like building a scarecrow, picking up animal poo (fake, of course), lassoing a steer, saddling a pony, and more! There are even pedal cars here.


    4. Experience More Unique Animal Encounters and Shows!

    The Sea Lion Splash returns this year along with other fun animal-themed entertainment like Hollywood Racing Pigs also have several performances each day and are absolute must-sees!

    The Mooternity Ward is a favorite where you can meet a brand new to the world calf. Last year, two were born on opening day by noon!

    The Live Carousel with purebred Welsh ponies and Camel Rides will be lifelong memory makers for sure! Be sure to stop by the Salute to Ag space which features cows, chickens, goats, and more. Kids can even step inside the Milking Parlor in TECO Arena to learn where their milk comes from.


    5. Experience the Exhibits.

    Kids can learn all about where their food comes from in the Ag-Venture exhibit, step inside the 500-year-old tradition of Florida cattle ranching in the Forestry & Cattle Ranching exhibit, tour the Florida Learning Garden, and see creepy crawly bugs at Insect Encounter in the red barn. 

    Cracker Country is open daily during the Florida State Fair and included with Fair admission. It’s a chance to step back into Florida’s pioneer days and tour actual historic homes and buildings from throughout the state.

    We also love walking through the creative living exhibits where you can see the art shows, baking and crafting demonstrations and competitions, plant shows, and more!


    Foam Zone at the Florida State Fair

    6. Visit the Foam Zone and participate in a Kids Game Show

    Kids love bubbles and the Foam Zone near the Welcome Center is an opportunity for them to immerse themselves in the quick-drying foam! Kids can also step inside a game show at the Kids Celebration Game Show exhibit!


    7. Enjoy the Fireworks.

    Fireworks will illuminate the sky over the Florida State Fairgrounds after sundown on select nights: February 9-10 and 18-19


    8. Meet a local farmer and say Thank You!

    Thank a Farmer is a unique opportunity for kids to meet local farmers and learn more about what they do. A local farmer will be available daily in the Ag Hall of Fame from 3 pm-5 pm. You can also write postcards to local farmers and see exhibits of every trade.


    9. Enjoy thrilling shows and live musical performances!

    Circus Hollywood returns along with Cycle Circus, Wall of Death,  Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, Lawn Mower Races, and MORE!

    There are also several live concerts on schedule with national acts including Tigirlily Gold (Feb 10), local performances from area schools, and Silent Disco (Feb 9-10). All are included with admission.


    10. Experience the Fair FOOD!

    Last, but not least…the Florida State Fair is where you find the most unique fair food, and this year, there is a whole new menu to try!

    We’ve got our eyes on the Pop Rock Pickle from Shockley’s, a pickle wrapped in a Fruit-Roll Up, dipped in chocolate, and rolled in your choice of Pop Rocks, Fruit Pebbles, or Flaming Hot Cheetos.

    Other new items this year: Strawberry Shortcake Kabob from DeAnna’s Fried Banana Pudding, Waffle Chicken Sandwich from The Bean Bar Co., and Lemonade Funnel Cake from Topscan Funnel Cakes.

    Lemonade Funnel Cake NEW Food at the Florida State Fair
    New Food at the Florida State Fair: Lemonade Funnel Cake

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