We've put together a guide to this year's Wisconsin State Fair in hopes of helping you navigate this great family-friendly event with ease. The fair is Aug. 6-16.
Keep in mind that the fair opens daily at 8 a.m. and several vendors offer breakfast. The fair is likely easier to navigate with small children earlier in the day, when the crowds tend to be less.
And if you have any tips to share about taking kids to the fair, please share them in the comments section below!
What's new this year
Sea Lion Splash: Sea lions will entertain the crowds during free daily shows at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The exhibit will be open daily from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunscreen Stations: If you forgot your sunscreen or need to re-apply, look for on of the three free sunflower sunscreen stations located in SpinCity, near the Guest Services Pavilion and in from of We Energy Park. The sunscreen is SPF 30 and good to use on anyone older than age 1.
Sprecher Landing: Get an amazing view of the fair at the newly expanded Sprecher Landing on North Grandstand Avenue. A variety of beers will be served on the park-like terrace along with food and live music.
Sporkies Finals: The eight finalists of the fair's annual food competition is competing during the fair this year. On Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 12 p.m., fairgoers can was the finals at the Bank Mutual Amphitheater. Fairgoers are encouraged to participate in the judging by sampling all of the entries and voting on social media using #FairgoersFave or at the Guest Services Pavilion.
Plein Air at the Fair: On Monday, Aug. 10, artists will paint their way around the fair. Pick your favorite artists and purchase Plein Air artwork after judging is complete on Tuesday, Aug. 11 in the Exposition Center lobby.
FREE family-friendly entertainment
These FREE entertainment stages offer some family-friendly events, including a yo-yo contest, racing pigs, music and more! Click on the links below to see the line ups at each stage.
- Activity Stage
- Bank Mutual Amphitheater
- Horticulture, Craft & Culinary Pavilion State
- Racing Animals Arena
- We Energies Energy Park Stage
- Wilderness Resort Family Variety Stage
- Wisconsin Products Pavilion Stage
- World Cafe Stage
Other family fun - especially for the youngest fairgoers:
Farm and Family Building: The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection offers hands-on activities for kids, including the Veggie 500 and the Cow Pie Pitch!
Badgerland Financial Discovery Barn: See baby piglets, chicks and calves and learn about agriculture in this area. The littlest fairgoers can enjoy playing with corn and wool with buckets and toy trackers. Located in Ag Village, east of the Farm and Family Building.
K-9 Sports Arena: Located in the Big Backyard, the area will showcase K-9s with hourly demonstrations on weekdays with additional shows on weekends. Visitors can see dog dock diving, dancing dogs, agility courses ad more.
We Energies Energy Park Stage: Visitors can enjoy food, horticulture, eagles, sun-powered cars and more on the westside of the Fair Park on Wetley Way at Center Street.
Milwaukee Bucks Milk House: A must-stop at the State Fair. A glass of milk is only 25 cents! Find the Milk House on South Grandstand near the Exposition center.
- Children 5 and under are FREE!
- 6-11: $6
- 12 and up: $12
- Seniors (60 and up): $7
- Military/Veterans: $7
- Thursday, Aug. 6: Admission is $2 before 4 p.m. when you donate at least two non-perishable food items or make a cash donation to the Hunger Task Force.
- Friday, Aug. 7: Not from Wisconsin? This day is for you! Present your out-of-state ID at any ticket window and get two adult admission tickets (ages 12+) for $12.
- Monday, Aug. 10: It's Kohl's Family Value Day! All kids 11 and under get in FREE from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adults are $5 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Wednesday, Aug. 12: Get $4 off adult admission until 6 p.m. when you spend $10 or more at Meijer between July 26 and Aug. 12 and receive a Custom Coupon.
- Thursday, Aug. 13: Two adult admission tickets are $12 until 2 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 16: Veterans, military personnel and up to three family members receive FREE admission until 4 p.m.
- Earn a coupon for one FREE youth admission (ages 6-11) when you complete the summer reading program at any Milwaukee County Library.
- State Fair Bargain Book:This discount book features 68 coupons on food, beverages, gifts, souvenirs and more. You can pick one up before the fair for $3 at Wisconsin Bank Mutual Bank offices through July 31 and at the State Fair Ticket Office and online at wistatefair.com through Aug. 5. $4 bargain books will be available during the fair at all Fair Information Centers.
- SpinCity Deals: Receive a sheet of 40 tickets for SpinCity for $20 at wistatefair.com or at the State Fair Ticket Office, 7722 W. Greenfield Ave, before the fair starts.
- Crazy Grazin Day: More than 50 food vendors are offering discounts. Pick up a Crazy Grazin' brochure at any Fair Information Center.
- Patrick Cudahy Day: On Aug. 14, show your grocery store receipt with a Patrick Cudahy product on it dated Aug. 1-14 in Central Park to receive a voucher for $5 off a $30 SpinCity 40 ticket sheet.
Family/Baby Care Centers
There are THREE places at the State Fair where you can breastfeed your child in air-conditioned comfort, change diapers or just take a break. Brought to you by Steinhafels and in partnership with metroparent, these centers are located at the Guest Services Pavilion, the Exposition Center and on North Grandstand Avenue.
There are TWO centers to help you in case you get lost or any of your belongings get lost. One is located at the Guest Services Pavilion. The other is on North Grandstand Avenue. Be sure to pick up an ID bracelet at these locations that you can put on your child in case you and your child get separated.
What you can bring in
Bags, coolers, strollers, wagons, etc., can all be brought in. Everything is subject to search. State Fair officials recognizes that many families have children with food allergies and therefore allow outside food to be brought it.
If you need to leave the Fair Park and plan to return the same day, get a stamp on the way out to ensure re-admittance upon your return.
Where to find shade
Wisconsin Way - north side of the Wisconsin Products Pavilion and seating in SpinCity are great destinations to get out of the sun.
Restrooms are located throughout the park. A family restroom is located in the north lobby of the Exposition Center.
FREE "Cow-Fi" hotspots are available throughout the Fair Park, including the Exposition Center, Wisconsin Products Pavilion, Central Park and the Guest Services Pavilion.
Daily rentals are available at the U.S. Cellular Main Gate, South Grandstand Avenue near the Exposition Center and the State Fair Transit Center near Gate 4.
- Single Stroller: $10
- Wagon: $15
- Driving directions
- Trams run daily from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. from the infield parking lots.
- Bicycle parking is available in the lots near the U.S. Cellular Main Gate and at Gate 2 on S. 81st Street and W. Greenfield Avenue.
- $20 Preferred Parking spaces are available. Learn more: Preferred Parking
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