August 23 - September 2, 2024

Fun Places for Kids – The Colorado State Fair

If you’re looking for a fun place to take your child this summer, the Colorado State Fair is every kid’s dream.

Little boy and girl on carousel

Every year, parents from around Colorado take their kids to the fair to give them an exciting experience they’ll never forget. With many fun activities to take part in, the fair is the perfect place for children of all ages.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the most fun activities for kids at the Colorado State Fair.

Kids Carnival Rides

Kids love the thrill of carnival rides, and there are plenty to choose from at the Colorado State Fair for children of every age and size.

Pirate Ship

With its signature boat-like look, the swinging Pirate Ship is a favorite among children. It’s quite a thrill but not as scary as some of the more extreme rides. Sit closer to the middle of the boat for a milder ride, or sit in one of the end seats on either side for a greater thrill!

children are having fun in speedy bumper cars

Bumper Cars

There’s likely no other carnival ride that’s a bigger hit among children than bumper cars. There’s something so satisfying about gathering speed and bumping into your opponents while avoiding them doing the same thing to you! A fun and safe ride, bumper cars are a great option for children of all ages—but especially younger children who are too afraid to go on scarier rides.


A classic favorite among young children, the carousel is a fun, safe, and gentle ride. For younger children who may not be tall enough for other rides, the carousel is a great choice since the height requirement is the lowest of any ride in the fair. Children only need to be 36 inches (3 feet) tall to ride the carousel on their own, or less if accompanied by an adult.

Ferris Wheel

The Ferris Wheel is a classic ride that is “moderate” in scariness — scarier than the Carousel and Bumper Cars, but not quite as scary as the more extreme rides like the Zipper Scrambler. As long as you and your child aren’t too afraid of heights, the Ferris Wheel is a great option. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice view of the fair from above.

kids pointing at the ride requirements at the Colorado State Fair

The Zipper

The Zipper is an intense ride that isn’t for younger children. However, bigger kids and teenagers with a love of thrills can go on the Zipper, which is a terrifying (but exciting) ride. On the Zipper, people ride in compartments that are attached to a large metal boom. As the boom swings around, the compartments swivel forward and backward — resulting in two different types of motion simultaneously. This gives it a feeling of unpredictability that makes it very scary and very fun for those who can handle it.

The Kamikaze

Like the Zipper, the Kamikaze (also known as the Hammer) has a high height requirement, and it’s one of the scariest rides at the fair. With the look of a hammer, the Kamikaze swings around 360 degrees on a pendulum, putting riders in a constant state of “freefall” and giving them the fright of their lives. Not for the faint of heart, but a good choice for the big kids and adults who enjoy a good thrill!

The Scrambler

The Scrambler (also known as the Sizzler) spins and rotates at ground level, making it better for kids afraid of heights. It’s not as extreme as the Zipper or Kamikaze, but it’s still quite scary due to this ride’s speed and constant spinning.


Height Requirements for Carnival Rides

For safety reasons, there are minimum height restrictions on every carnival ride. Some general guidelines for height are:

  • Children who are at least 52 inches (4’4″) tall are allowed on almost all rides.
  • Children who are at least 42 inches (3’6″) tall are allowed on most rides in the fair, except the most extreme ones.
  • Children who are at least 36 inches (3’0″) are allowed on some rides in the fair (about eight rides fall under this category).
  • Children under 36 inches aren’t allowed to ride anything except the Carousel (on the lap of an adult) or Kiddie Train (which they can ride alone).

Additionally, height restrictions are lower if an adult accompanies the child. If the child wants to go on a ride alone, the height requirements are higher.


two young children throwing white balls in a carnival game at the Colorado State Fair

Carnival Games for Kids

Children love the carnival games at the fair. The opportunity to test their luck and skill for the chance to win an exciting prize (such as a stuffed animal, gadget, or another toy) is an absolute blast for children.

Some of the most popular carnival games for kids include:

Carnival Clown Toss

In Carnival Clown Toss, children can test their aim by throwing bean bags through holes of various sizes. The smaller the hole, the more points they earn. With enough points, they win a stuffed animal of their choosing!

Caterpillar Kiddie Striker

A smaller version of the High Striker lets kids test their strength by striking a hammer on a platform. If the puck inside the machine hits the bell at the top, they’ll win a prize.


A classic favorite, Whack-a-Mole is a great way for children to test their reflexes and hand-eye coordination. In the game, little vermin briefly pop up, and players must use a mallet to whack them before they disappear again.

A baby is grabbing ducks out of the water at a summer carnival

Duck Pond  

This is a game that sounds easier than it is. As the name implies, you pluck a duck from the duck pond. Each duck has a number on the bottom that corresponds to a prize. The water flows in a circular motion, which makes it hard to grasp the ducklings. Kids love the challenge of trying to catch the rubber duckies.

Milk Can Toss

Kids toss softballs into milk cans. This game is a challenge for kids and adults as the balls are extra bouncy, and they like to jump off the rim.

Leaping Lizards

For kids who consider themselves skilled at the high striker, they’ll love the next level up. In Leaping Lizards, kids use a mallet to hit a platform with a lizard on the other end. The lizard leaps into the air and hopefully lands on a leaf on the other side. Small leaves award higher points and pose a bigger challenge, so their aim needs to be more precise!

Three kids trying to win prizes at a fair. Focus is on the little boy.

Pop A Balloon

For kids old enough to handle darts, this game is a classic. Pop enough balloons to win points and prizes!

Knock Down Cans

Kids are given three balls to try to knock down ten cans stacked up like a triangle. The more cans you knockdown, the higher points and bigger prizes you get. The hardest cans to knock down are the ones at the very bottom, and with only three chances, it’s a fun challenge for both kids and adults to play together.


Happy boy eating a cotton candy at a funfair

Carnival Food

Do you remember the first time you got cotton candy at the fair when you were a kid and feeling the cloud-like treat magically melt in your mouth? If you’re like many adults, you probably never forgot it, and you might have warm nostalgic memories of it.

Carnival food is one of the most enjoyable things about going to the fair as a kid, and the Colorado State Fair has plenty of delicious fair food that your kids will love and remember!

Some of the most popular carnival food for kids includes cotton candy, candied apples, caramel apples, funnel cake, carnival popcorn, smoked turkey legs, hot dogs, soft pretzels, sweet and sesame kettle corn, corn dogs, french fries, curly fries, nachos, chili dogs, slushies/snow cones, fried ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, fresh-squeezed lemonade, and much more!


Horse Shows

Horse shows are held in two main arenas and are comprised of a 4-H Horse Show, AQHA, NRCHA, NRHA, and Draft competitions. Horse shows consist of a series of different performances where families can watch trained horses leap over fences and maneuver through and around obstacles to complete against one another for awards and various prizes.


baby piggy at the Colorado State Fair

Piggy Races

You might not associate pigs with speed, but you’d be surprised how fast these little guys can run. The piggy races might be the cutest race ever invented. A team of adorable, squealing little piggies race to the finish line while a crowd of onlookers watches in awe. It’s a popular attraction for people of all ages, but young children are generally the piggy races’ biggest fans.

Kids with pony

Pony Rides

Let your child express his or her inner cowboy or cowgirl with a fun pony ride! Pony rides are a fun, safe activity for children three and up. Children are required to wear a helmet (which we provide), and the only requirement is that they’re able to sit up straight and hold on to the reins. While riding, our expert handlers stay nearby your child to ensure they stay safe, and our ponies are well-trained animals that are gentle with children. Pony rides can usually be found close by the petting zoo.

Petting Zoo

A favorite among children, the petting zoo is where children can interact with tame and loving animals who are eager for their attention.

While the assortment of animals changes every year, some of the animals at the petting zoo in previous years include:

  • Baby Pigs
  • Horses
  • Goats
  • Kittens
  • Lemurs
  • Camels
  • Tortoises
  • Zebras
  • Kangaroos

Stop by and check out this year’s animal selection!


Other Fun Activities for Kids

blue train rides at the Colorado State Fair

Kids Train Rides

Hop aboard the State Fair Express — a fun, colorful kiddie train for children of all ages. Parents are welcome to hop aboard too. A great way to see a quick tour around the fair!

Face Paintings

What child doesn’t like to get their face painted? At the Colorado State Fair, children can choose from a wide variety of different face painting options (including animal faces such as a tiger or panda, or their favorite superheroes such as Spiderman, Batman, or Wonder Woman, and much more).

two children with face painting at the Colorado State Fair

Dress Up

Costumes are welcome at the Colorado State Fair. Your child can dress up as their favorite hero or princess and invite their friends to do the same. Also, a fun thing to do for birthday parties!

Photo Ops

There are various circus themed photo stands and booths where families can capture the moments of fun to take home as a fun keepsake. Lookout for these timeless opportunities as they are scattered throughout the fairgrounds.

Carnival Stuffed Animals

Whether kids opt to purchase a favorite little critter or win one as a prize, carnival stuffed animals are a classic and fun souvenir for children of all ages. Made to be oversized, medium, or small, their bright colors, and various shapes, accents, and themes are suited to complement any child’s personality.



The Colorado State Fair Is The Perfect Fun Place For Kids

A trip to the carnival is every child’s dream, and the excitement and joy you see on their faces is proof. There’s arguably no place that is more exciting for your child to visit during the summer.

kids walking around the Colorado State Fair

Keep in mind; the Colorado State Fair is only open 11 days per year, so don’t miss it! Check out our homepage to see the countdown timer for how many days remain until it begins and learn more about specific events that will be taking place this year.


Kids Get In Free Day!

Every year the Colorado State Fair has a day where kids can get in free. The exact date will soon be announced so keep on the lookout and start planning for all the fun activities at the Colorado State Fair this summer!


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