Alameda County Fair: 6 Tips for Family Friendly Fun
We went to the Alameda County Fair yesterday and had a great time! This was the first time my 3 kids had been to any county fair and were excited to go and see what it was like. We made a family-friendly day of it.
We made the drive to the Alameda County Fairgrounds and arrived shortly after 11am when they opened. We were easily able to find parking in a paid lot close to the entrance. (Tip #1: Arriving earlier in the day makes it easier to find parking. When we left at 4pm many of the paid lots had signs out saying “small cars only.”) I know not everyone is able to take advantage of it, but we really appreciated that they offer Discount Days. (Tip #2: Taking advantage of Discount Days can make the Fair a much more affordable excursion.) Yesterday, they offered free admission with a donation of 4 non-perishable food items to a foodbank and $1 rides until 5pm. We just brought our cans with us and followed the signs to donate them to the foodbank. (Carrying that bag with 12 cans was heavy in addition to the backpack I packed, let me tell you!) They then handed us 3 tickets for admission. So easy! And bonus: my little one got in free since she is under 6 years old.
There was so much to see! We started out at Brad’s World Reptiles Educational Exhibits. The kids loved petting the turtles and even a tame alligator! I, on the other hand, stayed at a safe distance. Lol! After that the kids enjoyed a little obstacle course and started eyeing the fair food that was coming into view. Unfortunately, my little one fell and so we ended up at the First Aid station to pull out an ugly splinter. Captain Mahar was a star and got out the splinter. He sent us on with band-aids and an ice pack so we could enjoy our day. Thank you Alameda County Fire Department!
Splinter free, we headed over to see the animals. We visited some of the livestock exhibits and got to see Clydesdale horses, cows, pigs, sheep, goats and chickens. The kids were enthralled with watching the piglets being hand-fed. They were super cute running around and going to visit mama pig.
We moved on to Cowboy Bootcamp, which was the favorite of my 7 year old. They had so many stations for the kids to play in and learn the basics of being a “cowboy.” They had stations to dress like a cowboy, milk a cow, pan for gold, make a rope, saddle a horse, a horseshoe toss and the spot my little one spent her time, a big box of dried beans (think large sandbox with beans instead of sand) that they could dig in, scoop and shovel to their hearts content, and more. This was so fun! And a great place that the littles could play and give the adults a little break to stand back and enjoy the smiles. (Tip #3: Also, it is a good place to let the littles blow off some steam since it can be hard to stay close, stand in lines and be around lots of noise and people.)
At 1:00pm the All Alaskan Racing Pigs were making debut and we couldn’t miss that. Who doesn’t love watching a bunch of little pigs run!?! Just as cute as those baby goat videos you can find online. Lucky #7, Sloppy Joe, won the race. My little one loved this. It was great to get a chance to sit in the shade and be entertained. This was definitely a fun show and one not to miss!
By this time my oldest was hungry. We had already eaten the lunch we packed at home. (Definite money saving Tip #4: You can bring food and drinks with you. You can save a bundle on food this way. Just leave glass, cans and alcohol at home as they are not allowed.) He was in the mood for some fair food! He told me, “All the food here looks so good here! It just makes me hungry!!” Lol. I bought some nachos for the kids to share with the promise of a treat before we left. The jalapeños on the nachos were super spicy and the kids drank through all their water. I split my water between them, but wish we had brought more. (Tip #5: Bring extra water or plan to buy water there. You get hot and thirsty in the sun!)
Since it was $1 rides yesterday, we couldn’t pass this up. We spent our time in the Kid’s Park Carnival. The kids rode the carousel, Lolli Swing, Spinning Family Coaster, Rock N Tug and Jungle of Fun. Since my kids are getting older, they were able to ride a bunch of these by themselves. Others I rode along, when my littlest didn’t meet the height requirement. After we had blown through our ride tickets, we played a balloon popping game that had a “winner every time” sign. The kids ended up with a couple cute little stuffed animals and yet another fidget spinner to added to our household. This one is pink and belongs to the 4 year old. Sigh.
By this point it was way later than I had planned to stay, but we were having too much fun to pay attention to the clock. It was time for treats and a restroom stop before the ride home. The girls wanted shaved ice and my son wanted an ICEE. The shaved ice was easy to find and buy, but there were only 2 ICEE stands. My son had seen one on the way in to the fair, so we ended up making laps to find it and get his treat. Unfortunately for us, there was a $10 minimum for credit card use. The cost of one ICEE was half that and I only had a couple dollars left in cash. (Tip #6: Come with cash; more cash than you think you need even. A lot of the vendors work in cash or have a minimum credit card purchase like the ICEE stand did.) We ended up passing on the ICEE and stopping at 7-11 on the way home. He got a Slurpee there and everyone was happy!
All in all, our day at the fair was amazing. The kids have been asking if we can go back tomorrow, this weekend and next year. If you have the chance, make your way to the Alameda County Fair. The Fair is running through July 9th with a few more Discount Days and even fireworks on the 4th of July. You don’t want to miss out!
You can click here for more info on the Alameda Count Fair.