August 23 - September 2, 2024

Top 10 Carnival Rides at the Colorado State Fair

view of the Carnival Rides at the Colorado State Fair rides from up high

Carnival rides are one of the most exciting and thrilling things you can do at the Colorado State Fair. A favorite among children and adults alike, there are rides for people of all ages. While the selection of rides changes every year, we’ll go over some of the best and most common carnival rides seen in past years at the Colorado State Fair in this article.

view of the Ferris wheel at the Colorado State Fair

Ferris Wheel

The Ferris Wheel is arguably the most classic and iconic ride in the carnival, and for a good reason: it’s fun and exciting (but not too extreme), and it’s excellent for children and adults alike. Unlike the scarier carnival rides, the Ferris Wheel allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful view of the fair from above without getting a massive surge of butterflies in your stomach. The fact that you can sit next to a loved one and talk to them while on the Ferris Wheel makes it an excellent choice for parents riding with their children, friends, and couples on a date in Colorado.


On the other hand, the Kamikaze (also known as the Hammer) is one of the scariest carnival rides. With a hammer-like look, the Kamikaze is a pendulum that swings back and forth in a massive sweeping motion. Passenger cars are located on the end, where the g-forces are highest. As the pendulum swings back and forth, it continues gaining momentum until eventually it flips over and completes a full 360-degree swing. Every swing gives passengers the feeling of total free-fall, which makes it a highly adrenaline-inducing ride that isn’t for the faint of heart.


Named for its resemblance to the toy, the Frisbee is similar to the Kamikaze, with one big difference: at the end of a pendulum, it has a round spinning wheel where the passengers are strapped in. This wheel rotates in circles while the pendulum swings from side to side, giving passengers the terrifying sensation of falling and spinning simultaneously. This makes it possibly even scarier than the Kamikaze (which is already one of the scariest carnival rides at the fair), a ride most certainly geared toward the bravest thrill-seekers!


Unlike many other carnival rides, which use many swinging and lateral spinning motions, the Hi-Roller is known for its constant upside-down rotation. Cars are attached to an oval track that flips around nonstop. It’s like being inside a drying machine — constantly tumbling around and making you feel completely disoriented. Make sure you don’t eat before getting on the Hi-Roller, or you may find yourself feeling nauseous!

the zipper carnival ride at the Colorado State Fair


If you’re a fan of scary carnival rides, the Zipper is famous for being utterly terrifying. In the Zipper, several passenger cars are attached to a rotating oval boom. As the boom swings around, passengers get the feeling of falling. Simultaneously, the passenger cars rock back and forth on a swivel, giving riders a sense of disorientation as they swing around. This gives even the toughest thrill-seekers a huge surge of adrenaline, which is why the Zipper is known as one of the scariest rides in the carnival!


Unlike the Zipper and Kamikaze, which operate high in the air (and scare the jeepers out of people with a fear of heights), the Scrambler operates at ground-level, relying on fast horizontal spins instead of vertical falls to induce fear in its passengers. The ground-level spinning makes it slightly less stomach-churning than the previously mentioned carnival rides but is still an exciting experience for those looking for a more “moderate” thrill.

Swing Ride

Families at the fair on a swing ride

The Swing Ride, also known as the Yo-Yo, is a (much scarier) variation of the carousel. Instead of being at ground level, this carousel-like Yo-Yo towers high in the air. Passengers sit in swings that are attached to the carousel, which spins them far off the ground. The Swing Ride is a fun ride for older children and adults who are looking for something a bit scarier than the classic carousel ride.

Pirate Ship

With its signature boat-like look, the swinging Pirate Ship is essentially a less extreme version of the Kamikaze. It swings on a pendulum, but it doesn’t go as fast, and it doesn’t go upside down with 360-degree swings. The Pirate Ship is an excellent choice for people who want a scary ride but not too frightening. Keep in mind, the ride becomes more or less scary depending on where you sit. If you sit at an end seat, the g-forces will be more significant, giving you a greater thrill. On the other hand, if you sit closer to the middle of the boat, the force will be less intense, making it a “milder” ride.


Of all the rides in the carnival, the carousel is arguably the most “child-friendly” carnival ride of all, with the lowest height requirement and mild intensity. The carousel is a gentle ride that young children have favored for years and is exceptionally significant for kids who aren’t tall enough or too afraid for the other rides.

Multi-ethnic mixed family brother and sister having fun riding horses on amusement park carousel ride

Most children ages five and up can ride the carousel on their own, but tiny children must ride on the lap of an adult. An absolute blast for babies, toddlers, kids, teens, and even adults, the carousel is one of the most well-known and well-loved rides at the fair. The carousel also makes an excellent backdrop for family pictures and creating fun memories and remains a classic for any fairgoer.

Bumper Cars

Of all carnival rides at the fair, none are a bigger hit among children than bumper cars, and for a good reason. Bumper cars are a fun ride that allows a child to test their driving skills and compete against other children in a safe and friendly way. Bumper cars are a favorite among teens and adults too. No matter how old you are, there is something genuinely satisfying about driving this small electric vehicle with a squishy rubber bumper and ramming into your opponents’ cars!

Happy mother and son having fun on the bumper cars at an amusement park - lifestyle concepts

Enjoy All of the Carnival Rides at The Colorado State Fair!

At the Colorado State Fair, there are carnival rides for people of all ages and temperaments. If you want the scariest, most thrilling experience possible, you might consider going on rides such as the Kamikaze, Frisbee, Zipper, or Hi-Roller. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more “moderate” thrill, the Swing Ride, Scrambler, and Pirate Ship are exciting but not too scary.

Finally, If you have young children, they’ll love the classic carnival rides for kids like the Carousel, Bumper Cars, and Ferris Wheel. So if you’re looking to have an absolute blast this summer, bring your family and take a trip to the Colorado State Fair! We look forward to seeing you here.

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