It’s been years since I went to the Florida State Fair (with good reason…I’m not big on fair rides, and I don’t do well with crowds). I decided to go this year, to introduce my toddler to the event. It hasn’t changed much. Lots of rides, tons of food vendors and gobs of people. I was, however, pleasantly surprised at some of the smaller, lesser-known activities.
We skipped the exhibits on the expo hall – partly because we knew it would take a while to see the rest of the place, but also because the few booths we did pass by were extremely salesy (I hate it when people walk out into the aisle and ask me to try their products).
Our favorite area, believe it or not, was the Florida Forest Discovery Center. We walked in just because it wasn’t crowded and were pleasantly surprised. Kids can sit inside a real helicopter (and you can take a picture if you have a camera/phone). They can also get a prize for guessing the animals on a poster and get an instant picture of themselves in fireman gear. The people there were super nice, and were educating people on fire safety. They also had information on the importance of natural resources.
We also liked Cracker Country, which offers a glimpse into Florida’s rural history with hands-on activities and entertainment. Kids can make their own dolls and take them home (cost is $3) or make a candle for a $1. There’s also a band, and you can watch people make cane syrup, beef jerky and more. We might even go back and visit during non-fair times.
We went into the livestock area, which was extremely hot and crowded. Definitely not my favorite part, not to mention the animals being so hot and crowded.
Overall it was a good, but tiring day. Tips if you go: wear comfortable shoes, and bring lost of cash! Lots of places only accept cash. They do have ATM’s, but they charge fees. Another tip: skip the greasy, expensive fair food! The Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame has a cafeteria-style food area, where all items are $3 or less.
And while you’re there, be sure to check out the new recycling bins, from The Green Can!