Ferris Wheel at Florida State Fair

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

The Florida State Fair returns in 2023 from February 9-20 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 like the Giraffe Menagerie and Great American Petting Zoo.


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: $10
    • Advance Sale Kids Tickets (ages 6-11): $6
    • Advance Sale Anyday Armband: $30
    • Advance Sale Anyday Armband + Fast Pass: $50

*Armband sales do not include admission ticket, 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 Menagerie and petting zoo. The kids will be begging to feed the animals!

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


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 9. Free admission for law enforcement, first responders and military and veterans with valid ID.
  • Senior Days: Any weekday during the fair. $10 admission for seniors 55+
  • Valentine’s Date Night Deal: Tuesday, February 14. Buy one, get one admission after 3pm.
  • $3 Thursday, February 16. $3 admission and select rides, game and food items after 3pm.
  • Family Day: Friday, February 17. Free admission for kids 17 and younger with paid adult until 6pm.
  • Kids’ Day: Monday, February 20: Free admission for kids 17 and younger with paid adult until 6pm.


Florida State Hours

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


Where to park at the Florida State Fair

Expect 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.

You will want to snap a photo of which parking lot you parked because who wants to wander through a parking lot for hours searching for their car??

Parking is free for Florida State Fair guests.


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

    Midway at the Florida State Fair
    The Midway features 90+ rides, including several rides for little kids!

    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!
      Zebra at Florida State Fair
      You can feed zebra at the Florida State Fair!

      2. The Menagerie and The Great American Petting Zoo

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

      Over at the Menagerie (the giraffe are not here this year–this is a last minute change according to the owner), there are adorable animals to feed including zebra and llamas! You can buy a bag of carrots or grain for $3 to feed to the animals. This is a unique opportunity to feed a zebra a carrot and the goats go crazy for the grain.

      At the Salute to Agriculture, you’ll find the Great American Petting Zoo where you can feed goats, sheep, and even a hog! This is the same building where Little Farm Hands is being hosted this year, so it’s a great place to park it for a bit of time if you have little ones. 


      Little Farm Hands Florida State Fair
      You can build a scarecrow at Little Farm Hands!

      3. Little Farm Hands exhibit

      This is an indoor exhibit at Salute to Agriculture designed or 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), lasso a steer, saddle a pony, and more! There are even pedal cars here.


      Mooternity Ward at Florida State Fair
      Mooternity Ward in the TECO Area at the Florida State Fair.

      4. More Unique Animal Encounters!

      The Mooternity Ward is a favorite where you can meet a brand new to the world calf. Two were born on opening day by noon! The Live Carousel with purebred Welsh ponies and Camel Rides will be life long memory makers for sure! Be sure to stop by the Salute to Ag space which features cows, chickens, goats and more! Don’t forget to stop by the Milk Barn too to learn where milk comes from!


      5. Explore Insect Encounter, Cracker Country and More!

      Insect Encounter where you can learn all about the creepy crawly creatures in Florida like mosquitoes, bed bugs, cockroaches, butterflies and more! It’s pretty cool and inside the little red barn, so it’s a nice place to get some A/C as well. Maybe they want to take a step back into history at the Cracker Country museum to learn about the life of a Florida pioneer in the 19th century.

      The Other cool exhibits: Cattle Ranching Museum, Florida Learning Garden, and Florida Fish & Wildlife Exhibit. Learn more here.


      Circus Hollywood Florida State Fair
      Circus Hollywood at the Florida State Fair.
      6. Circus Hollywood and MORE!

      Circus Hollywood will be thrilling several times each day with their amazing acrobatics and performances. There is also a Cycle Circus outside where you can watch FMX freestyle athletes perform thrilling tricks on their bikes!


      Demolition Derby Florida State Fair

      Demolition Derby at the Florida State Fair

      7. Knights of Destruction Demolition Derby

      Head over to the covered arena for a live show like no other! You and the kids can watch drivers compete and crash into one another as they try to be the driver who keeps their engine running the longest! It’ll be loud, it’ll fun and most definitely action-packed!


      Extreme Dogs at the Florida State Fair.

      Extreme Dogs at the Florida State Fair.

      8. Extreme Dogs and other animal shows!

      The Hollywood Racing Pigs and Extreme Dogs shows also have several performances each day and are absolute must sees! Over at the the Salute to Ag Tent, you can watch the Farm Yard Follies, a hilarious educational show about goats, sheep and even troublemaking donkeys.

      We are also excited about Otter Adventure at the Entertainment Hall Pad where you can watch otters perform and interact with their trainers.


      Florida State Fair 2023 Flying Royals Spectacular

      Flying Royals’ Spectacular at the Florida State Fair.

      9. Thrilling shows and live performances!

      There are so many awe-inspiring moments at the Florida State Fair like the The Flying Royals’ Spectacular trapeze act and Wet and Wild, a water stunt show featuring HoverBoards and JetSurfs.
      There will also be a live Rodeo and you can can even experience a Demolition Rodeo and the Extreme Illusions and Escapes Magic Show.


      Tampa Cuban Funnel Cake Florida State Fair
      Tampa Cuban Funnel Cake Sandwich by Mama June at The Best Around food booth at the Florida State Fair.

      10. The 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 got to watch Mama June whip up a featured Tampa Cuban Funnel Cake Sandwich  at ‘The Best Around’. The Tampa inspired sandwich has all the fixings of a Cuban sandwich nestled between deliciously fried funnel cakes. Yum! She tells us she comes up with these unique creations a year in advance and is already cooking up some ideas for the Fair in 2024.
      We’re also looking forward to the Fried Key Lime Pie and the Cookie Taco SupremeYou can find a complete list of what’s new here. There is a Fair Food Too featuring 12 brand new bites and you can even vote for your favorite! 


      You can map out your day by visiting the calendar of events here for a stress-free visit!

      More stories we think you’ll LOVE: