Everything You Need to Know About Taking Kids to the OC Fair

We’ve always been big fans of the fair, and for us the OC Fair is a bit easier to get to than the LA Fair in Pomona. Good news: the OC Fair is open and will be running every Wednesday–Sunday until August 11th.

Barns full of animals? Check! Zany and delish food? Check! Concerts under the stars? Check! Midway games and rides? Check! Blue ribbon winners? Check! Acres of shopping? Check!

Head on out and pet a llama, soar up high on La Grande Wheel and try the newest bacon-wrapped, deep-fried, sugar-coated concoction. There’s even soft play and crawling areas for babies, a digging area for kids, woodworking, jam-making and more.

Fair Hours

Wednesday – Friday: Noon – Midnight
Saturday & Sunday: 11:00 AM – Midnight
(Closed Monday & Tuesday)

Prices

Kids 5 and younger are always free.

General (13-59) – $12 Weekday, $14 Weekend
Senior (60+) – $7
Youth (6-12) – $7

There are always specials too, here are a few they are running this year:

Wednesdays

Free admission and one free carnival ride every Wednesday from noon to 3pm with donations. Here’s the list of donations they’ll be accepting each week:

July 17 School Supply Drive: New school supplies valued at $5 (receipt required)

July 24 Canned Food Drive: 5 cans of food
Jul 31  Children’s Book Drive 3 new or gently used children’s books T
Aug. 7 Clothing Drive 5 gently used clothing items

Thursdays

$3 Taste of Fair Food (12-4 p.m.)

Enjoy $3 samples of select Fair treats. Valid noon – 4 p.m.

 

Kids Day

Children 12 & younger receive FREE Fair admission all day.

 

$35 Unlimited Ride Wristband

Ride until 8 p.m., sold until 5 p.m. – includes 2 free games and 1 ride on the Titan; all other rides are unlimited.

Fridays

Seniors Day (60+)
$5 Senior admission plus free Ferris wheel and merry-go-round rides all day.

$2 Rides and $2 Games (12-4 p.m.)
Rides and games are only $2 each in the Main Carnival and Kiddie Carnival. Valid noon – 4 p.m.

Saturdays and Sundays from 11am–1pm

Probably one of the best deals of the fair, and they call it that: Best Deal Ever. Runs from 11am–1pm and gives half-price general admission. Plus: a carnival special of half off ticket redemption – that’s half the number of tickets, same amount of fun!

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Rides

So, admission isn’t all that bad as far as price goes, but rides and games start adding up quickly, not to mention food.

Here’s what to expect for ride prices:

200 Ticket Pass Price: $100
100 Ticket Pass Price: $50
40 Ticket Pass Price: $20

Most kiddie rides are 6-8 tickets, though on several an adult has to ride with them, so you’ll have to double that. Bigger kid and adult rides hover around a whopping 14 tickets, with some like the giant ferris wheel going for 20 tickets each. We put together a list of all the rides sorted by height and ticket price here, so you can get a feel for it.

So, if rides are one of the main reasons you’re checking out the OC Fair, we’d recommend going on a wristband day or on Friday afternoon for $2 rides and games. Wristband days offer wristbands for $35 to get unlimited carnival rides during certain times on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

Wednesday and Thursday: Sold until 5 pm, valid until pm

Sunday: Sold until 1pm, valid until 4pm

Sundays also offer a two hour window of half price rides from 11am-1pm, so there’s that option too, depending on how many rides you plan on.

Parking

The biggest headache of the fair is parking. It always is. Actually, on weekdays it’s not as terrible but on weekends… yeah, it’s rough. General parking price is $10 per car.

Now, you can try your luck at parking on-site at the fairgrounds if you’re early enough, but I’ve certainly had times where I was stuck in traffic for 45 minutes regretting that decision. It’s really always a gamble. Luckily OC Fair has free offsite parking with a shuttle on Saturday and Sunday, but they also partnered with OCTA to run an OC Fair Express Bus Service from several park and ride locations throughout OC on weekends. Extra bonus!

When you take the bus, you get your adult fair admission discounted all the way down to only $4. The ride itself costs $2 each way for everyone age 6 and up, so take that into account too. Nearest stops to Long Beach would be either Huntington Beach or possibly Fullerton stops.

Food and Attractions

Okay, now that you’ve got the logistics out of the way, let’s talk fun stuff. You can get your daily schedule of the fair here.

Food

Of course, one of everyone’s fave things to do at the fair is try out all the weird and wacky foods. This year you’ll have your regular faves like funnel cakes, turkey legs, and deep-fried oreos, but you’ll also find spaghetti donuts formed with pasta and topped with sauce and unicorn cotton candy donuts with sparkling strawberry glitter glaze, rainbow candy, bubble gum cotton candy. Yeah. It’s a lot. Find the list of new and returning favorite foods here.

 

 

Keep in mind, every Thursday from noon until 4pm, they host a Taste of Fair Food option, where you can sample loads of fair foods for $3 per sample.

Experiences and Shows

There are concerts and shows you can pay for additionally at the fair, but there is so much already included with admission too. At the Explorium kids’ area you’ll find a new attraction this year called The Rainforest Experience, where kids can interact with live bugs, see the life stages of butterflies, and view bugs and reptiles. There’s also petting zoos, lots of opportunities to see farm animals and even pig races, magic shows, and just tons tons more.

 

One of the added ticket shows we’d recommend if you have a car and truck lover at home is one of the shows in the action sports arena, they do motorcycle stunt shows, motorhome demolition derby, and monster truck shows. It’s definitely loud, but perfect for the kiddos who are into those things.

 

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