Disclosure: This post is brought to you by our sponsors at the Wisconsin State Fair. Our love of all things Wisconsin, food on a stick, and deep fried cheese is completely our own.
The Wisconsin State Fair — Families and friends alike look forward to these 11 days of summer all year long.
It’s deep-fried cheese, cream puffs, farm animals, pickles the size of your face, live music, and so much more. People from all over our great state and beyond flock to the fair in August, but we Milwaukeeans are so blessed to have it right in our backyard! After being forced to cancel in 2020, our beloved Wisconsin State Fair is back for 2021!
2021 Family Guide to the Wisconsin State Fair
You could spend all 11 days at the Wisconsin State Fair and still not hit every attraction. So, as much as we want to give you the ultimate guide to every single thing our amazing Fair has to offer, including it all would make for pretty much the longest post EVER. Instead, we’ve got the highlights for you, putting the spotlight on the features FAMILIES will want to know about and our “must-see” Fair favorites.
Want to know the big updates for the 2021 Wisconsin State Fair (including all COVID-19 related policies)? CLICK HERE!
*Masks will not be required at the Wisconsin State Fair and individuals are encouraged to follow the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.
Getting There and Getting In
Regular Admission Policies
August 5th – 15th
There are updated hours of operation for 2021. The State Fair is open from 11 AM – 11 PM each day with the exception of the final Sunday, where hours are 11 AM – 10 PM.
Adult Admission (age 12 to 59): $14 (purchase before July 16 and save $5 on adult tickets!)
Youth Admission (age 6 to 11): $9
Kids Age 5 and under are FREE!
*Parents of older kids: Fairgoers under 18 years of age entering the Fair after 6 pm must be accompanied by a parent 21 years of age or older. Proof of age is required.
Looking for the inside scoop on how to save big at the fair? Check out these Deals & Discounts:
Missed the pre-sale discounted tickets? No worries! Check out these Admission Deals for more info on how to save on regular admission prices. Discounts vary by day. See website for more details.
- August 5th: Wells Fargo $2 Day benefiting Hunger Task Force
- August 6th: Celebrate Wisconsin Day
- August 11th: Meijer Day: Honoring First Responders, Healthcare & Grocery Workers
- August 12th: Prairie Farms Dairy Day: Honoring Educators
- August 15th: Miller High Life Veterans & Military Recognition Day
How to Get There and Where to Park
Planning on driving to the Wisconsin State Fair? Parking lots open daily at 10:30am during the State Fair. All parking is first come, first served. In 2021, CASH IS NOT ACCEPTED. Purchase your parking in advance HERE.
Update for 2021: MCTS and Waukesha Shuttles will not be running to the Fair this year
Insider Tip: Looking to burn off the funnel cake and corn dog calories? FREE bicycle parking is available in lots near the U.S. Cellular Main Gate and Gate 2 at S. 81st Street and W. Greenfield Avenue. So if you don’t live too far from the park, buckle up those helmets and hit the road to score the Fair’s best (and FREE!!) parking spot!
Can't Miss Fair Classics
These are the can’t miss stops that everyone talks about – basically, if you don’t check these off the list, you were never really at the fair.
Original Cream Puffs
One does not simply buy ONE Original Cream Puff. Spring for the 6-pack and never look back. Half the fun is waiting in line at the Original Cream Puff Pavilion and watching the famous pastry chefs create these delectable delights right in front of your eyes!
Save big on Cream Puffs by ordering in advance! Grab your Cream Puff 6-Pack vouchers from June 8 – July 31 for only $18 ($4 savings). Vouchers can be redeemed at the Original Cream Puff Pavilion or Cream Puff Express locations.
The Giant Slide
It’s iconic. It’s cheap. Kids and adults alike love it. In 2018 alone, the Giant Slide had 120,000 rides! This beloved attraction has been a Fair staple for more than 50 years. It’s so much fun, we dare you to only slide once.
The ultimate in people-watching from a birds-eye view! Tickets are available at each end of the SkyGlider near the Exposition Center and on North Grandstand Avenue.
North America’s largest traveling Ferris wheel features 36 fully enclosed, brightly colored gondolas. Each gondola has a capacity of six people, and one gondola offers accessible seating. The ride time from start to finish is approx. 10 minutes, and an average of 1,100 fairgoers can ride each hour. $6/ride.
What to Eat
There is so much food to try here that there’s no way to hit it all! There’s even a competition called the Sporkies for the best of the best food at the fair.
NEW Foods for 2021:
Find the full list of NEW FOODS HERE!
Some of the new foods we are looking forward to trying include:
– Blue Ribbon Chocolate Bacon Cookies
– BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potato
– Caramel Apple Cinnamon Roll
– Country Fried Steak on a Stick
– Cinnamon Roll and Bacon Cheese Curds
– Deep Fried Wisconsin Fish Fry (like, all rolled together!)
– TONS of Gluten Free Treats!
– Paradise Po’Boy
…and so many more!
The Go-To Fair Food Favorites:
Meat on a Stick
Foot long corn dog. Kabobs. Bacon-wrapped shrimp tempura on a stick. BBQ Pork Chop on a stick. Beer-battered, bacon-wrapped Cheddar Sausage on a stick. The Wisconsin State Fair has a seriously impressive selection of on-a-stick delicacies and we can’t wait to sink our teeth into them!! And yes, there is a list.
Roasted Corn on the Cob
A trip to the fair just isn’t complete without a butter-dripping, husk-holding, tender, roasted sweet corn on the cob. For many families, this food stop is non-negotiable.
Original Cream Puffs
The iconic Original Cream Puff, sold at the Fair since 1924, is the most popular food item among Fairgoers – an average of 400,000 are consumed each year!
And did you know there is a Cream Puff Drive-Thru?!
Insider Tip: Check out Crazy Grazin’ Day at the Fair. On August 10th, you can sample a variety of Fair foods from more than 50 food vendors who offer smaller sizes of your favorite items at reduced prices! Check out the lineup to make your plan of attack!
Best Attractions for Kids
We Energies Park
If you are coming to the Fair with toddlers or young children, make We Energies Park your very first stop upon arrival. You can pick up a safety wristband to help keep your child safe while you and your family enjoy your day. There will also be fun demonstrations about electricity and teaching kids about energy. Cooking and grilling presentations, gardens, up close and personal encounters with eagles, hawks, owls and other birds and so much more make this attraction on the west side of the Fair Park on Wetley Way at Center Street an absolutely must-see for families.
K-9 Sports Arena
The K-9 Sports Arena, located in the Big Backyard, features shows and demonstrations hourly on the half-hour on weekdays with additional shows on weekends. See dog dock diving, frisbee, agility courses, Police K-9 units and much more!
Sea Lion Splash
Have an ocean-lover in the family? Sea Lion Splash will teach valuable lessons about marine wildlife and conservation while entertaining crowds of all ages. The sea lions will amaze as they balance balls, shoot hoops and even perform handstands! Located on South Grandstand Avenue. The exhibit will open daily from 11 am – 7 pm. Shows will take place daily at Noon, 2, 4, and 6 pm.
Relax, recharge, and soak up the tranquil gardens of Exploratory Park. Check out all the new additions: Stevens Springs water feature, an oversized dragonfly bench, and the quirky toadstool hideaway. The native bugs and bees are in for a treat with new pollination “bugalows.” Need some fun? Hop on over to one of our hopscotch courts or take a crack at a game of oversized chess with the gang. This dreamy oasis awaits your visit! Located on the south side of Main Street across from the Original Cream Puff Pavilion.
Cow-Temporary Art Walk
The cow-temporary art walk features traditional favorites and new artistic creations in an outdoor gallery.
Mooo-ve from one art stop to the next and take in all the inspirational pieces made of steel, wood, plant matter, traditional art, and so much more to earn a special ribbon.
Saz’s Racing Pigs are another one of those Wisconsin State Fair staples that you just can’t miss. With races running throughout the day, it’s easy to find a race that fits your family’s schedule. The presenters always do an amazing job of getting the crowd involved and the pigs are just so stinkin’ cute! Pick a pig and get cheering! Found at the Racing Animals Arena.
Barns & Animals
A trip to the State Fair just isn’t complete without visiting the animals. Introduce yourself to cows, horses, pigs, sheep, goats and more! You can also check out the Milking Parlor in the southeast corner of the Horse Barn to learn about Wisconsin’s vibrant dairy industry. Insider Tip: Put your visit to the barns at the early end of your day. As the temperature climbs outside, the barns also heat up quickly so it’s better to check them out early. Kids enjoy watching competitors – many of them kids themselves – working hard to bathe and prepare their animals for competition.
More Cool Kid Stuff
The list just keeps on going! There are more kid-friendly activities and things to see than we have room to share here. Here are a few more activities and features you might want to check out.
- Spin City, with more than 50 amazing rides and attractions, plus a Kiddie Area for the younger fairgoers. Insider Tip: If your kid lives to ride the rides, spring for the unlimited daily rides wristband or you will go broke buying a la carte ride tickets.
- Pig Slide, located on Sue Wetley Court near Compeer Financial Discovery Barnyard. Everyone knows about the Giant Slide, but there are photo-ops galore at the Pig Slide. Moms and Dads, consider yourselves challenged to do it, too. The kids will LOVE it!
- Milking Parlor: See where the milk you get in the grocery store comes from! View the cow milking demonstrations four times daily at 11:30 am, 1, 3 and 5 pm and goat milking demonstrations noon, 2 and 4 pm. Don’t miss story time with Alice in Dairyland daily at 2:30 pm. Located in Ag Village at the southeast corner of the Livestock Horse Barn on Central Avenue.
- Wilderness Resort Family Variety Stage: Find family entertainment on Wetley Way in the Big Backyard! This stage features jugglers, comics and more.
Pro Tips and Insider Info
Changes for 2021 Season
It’s been a wild ride of a year, so obviously some things need to be adjusted to be able to have the Wisconsin State Fair be as safe as possible for everyone. Be sure to check out the 2021 Fair Updates before you go!
*Download the 2021 Wisconsin State Fair Preview Guide to have all this info at your fingertips!
Forgot your sunscreen? You can still enjoy the sunshine safely. Look for one of three FREE sunflower sunscreen stations conveniently located throughout the Fair Park (by the SpinCity info center, near the Guest Services Pavilion, and in front of We Energies Energy Park). Sunflowers will be stocked with SPF 30, suitable for fairgoers ages one year and older.
Take advantage of over $300 in savings with the State Fair Bargain Book, featuring over 80 coupons from Fair Vendors and partners. Get discounts on food, beverages, gifts, souvenirs and more. Plus, be sure to check out the SpinCity coupon on the back cover of your Bargain Book!
Free ID Bracelets
Stop by the We Energies Park to grab a safety bracelet to help keep your kids safe throughout your fair experience.
Nursing Stations and Baby Care Areas
Families can visit one of three private, comfortable areas designated as Family/Baby Care Centers; one in the Exposition Center, one in the Guest Services Pavilion, and one off North Grandstand Avenue. Each center offers an area for nursing mothers as well as a diaper changing station. Diaper Changing Stations are located in most men’s and women’s restrooms throughout the Fair Park.
Stroller and Wagon Rental
If you’d rather leave your stroller at home (on account of the livestock barns, perhaps?), it’s easy to rent a single stroller or wagon at the Guest Services Pavilion or Transit Center.
Adult Admission (age 12 to 59): $14
Youth Admission (age 6 to 11): $9
Kids Age 5 and under are FREE!
FREE Printable Scavenger Hunt
Make the Wisconsin State Fair even more fun with this FREE Scavenger Hunt!
Print it out or save it to your phone and send the kids on a mission to complete all the squares. Snap photos along the way and share them with us!