The Iowa State Fair is in full effect at the Iowa Fairgrounds in Des Moines! It is the largest event in the state of Iowa and one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the country.
For 11 days, the Iowa State Fairgrounds is transformed into a huge fun fair! Rides for all ages, food for DAYS, and educational experiences for the whole family.
We decided to visit the fair (for the first time, since we just moved here), because our neighbor told us how big of an event it was annually. With the weather only being 80 degrees, it was one of the better times to try to go with kids.
The last time we were at a fair, was the Kenosha County Fair, before Lucas was even born!
What you can expect:
- If you don’t get there early, you will be looking for parking off-site (generally on someone’s lawn or a business’ parking lot, and they will charge you about $10-$20). We did walk a few blocks- so bring a stroller if you have a little one!
- You can buy your tickets in advance online, otherwise you can purchase at a couple different entry points. The good thing- children 5 and under are free.
- Bring sunscreen and a hat! There was not a lot of shade there, so you will spend a lot of time in the sun- standing in lines for food and rides.
- Attraction credits can be bought on a reloadable card (Thrill Parks). We were able to buy 1 card and use it to scan in the kids for any of the rides. You don’t need to buy 3 separate cards. Cards can also be reloaded at various machines throughout without having to stand in line at the ticket counters.
- Look at the schedule of events ahead of time so that you don’t miss out on events (educational animal, machine, and agricultural displays and operations)
Don’t think that the Iowa State Fair is only for kids. There are tons of things for adults to do there. From rides, to games, to demonstrations of all sorts.
Let’s also talk about the free musical entertainment with paid admission, and huge musical acts that they bring in at night (for an additional concert fee). This year; headliners include Blake Shelton, Sam Hunt, Boys II Men, Styx and The Beach Boys.
If you are a foodie, this place is absolutely for you. Aisles and aisles of fair food surround you! You want it, it’s there. From street tacos, to turkey legs, from desserts to 59 items on a stick!!!
Don’t miss out on the HUGE Beer Tent and various bars throughout the fair. There is not shortage of music and events for adults.
Are you looking for rides? A Day at the Iowa State Fair would not be complete without boarding the Ferris Wheel or going on a thrilling ride with your loved one.
Rides are not included in your general admission, so you’ll need to go to a ticket counter to purchase either a wrist band or a reloadable card for Thrill Ville (rides for bigger kids and adults) or Thrill Town (rides for toddlers and smaller kids).
The two areas are separate from each other, so you won’t be lost in all of the commotion. The kids area is a safe place for stroller parking, without having to navigate the larger park area.
Wristbands would be perfect for those who want to ride unlimited rides! Each person would need to have their own wristband, though.
If you want to purchase a Thrill Park reloadable card, then that card can be used for anyone in your party, and it gets scanned at the start of the ride, and credits are debited for each person riding.
Don’t miss the FOUR amazing wall art murals at the Thrill Town! You can’t go wrong with a family photo with the Fair’s logo on it!
What are you waiting for?!
Head over to the Iowa State Fair and go see the Tractor Pull, Demolition Derby, milk a cow, see who won blue ribbons, and enjoy the surroundings in the wide open fairgrounds location in Des Moines!
Regular Adults (12 and up): $14
Regular Children (Ages 6-11): $8
5 & Under: Free
Have you ever been to the Iowa State Fair? What was your favorite part? There was so much more to see and do, so we’ll be going back this week for sure!
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