Get the Most Out of the OC Fair on a Budget with Kids

the OC Fair opens today, and if yours kids are anything like mine, they are already begging to go. the OC Fair is an icon of summer here in Orange County, and every year there is a month long celebration of fair favorites. i love almost everything about the fair except for the prices. not everything is expensive, but with four kids, everything can add up. so i am sharing a list of ways on how you can Get the Most Out of the OC Fair on a Budget with Kids.

for our family, we usually go to the Fair 2-3 times each year. we usually go once, and splurge a little bit one food, rides and activities, but the rest of those day are most definitely budget days. a typical budget day will include: going on Opening Day for free or a Kids Free Day. the kids will get three free rides doing the Read & Ride program (more info below), sharing a treat, visiting Centennial Farm, checking out the exhibits, playing in the Explorium, and watching the free shows happening around the fairgrounds.

sometimes i give each kid $10 to spend how they like. if they know ahead of time, that it’s the only extra money we will be spending, i curb any begging for extra items at the Fair. plus, they get to learn about budgeting and really getting what they want.

OC Fair Ticket Deals

visit the OC for free or almost free. the OC Fair has free days, free kids days and discounts on admission prices. first things first, on Friday, July 13th, Opening Day, everyone is Free ‘Til Three (12-3 p.m.). and did i mention FREE PARKING.

• We Care Wednesdays run from noon to 3:00 p.m. just donate the specified items to each Wednesday Non-profit partner and get a FREE admission to the OC Fair and one carnival ride per person.

July 18th – School Supply Drive
(bring new school supplies valued at $5 or more, such as pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks (items must be sealed; no coloring books or workbooks)

July 25th – Share Our Selves Canned Food Drive, benefitting Second Harvest and OC Food Bank
(bring 5 canned food items)

August 1st – Children’s Book Drive, benefitting THINK Together
(3 new or gently used children’s books

August 8th – Clothing Drive, benefitting Goodwill OC
(bring 5 gently used clothing items)

Thursdays Wear Overalls Day
Guests in overalls will receive FREE admission. Valid noon to 3 p.m.

Thursdays Kids Day
Children 12 & under receive FREE Fair admission all day.

 

OC Fair Discount Tickets

• on Fridays, it’s Seniors Day (60+). Seniors get in for $5 plus FREE Ferris wheel and merry-go-round rides all day.

• First Responders and Law Enforcement get free admission the Week of August 8th through 12th. this includes active-duty and professional staff of the police, sheriff, fire and emergency services departments.

• on Saturdays, the OC Fair offers the “Best Deal Ever” from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. general admission is half price AND carnival rides are half off ticket redemption – that’s half the number of tickets, same amount of fun!

Sunday Fun Day is 11 a.m.-1 p.m. general admission is half price AND carnival rides are half off ticket redemption – that’s half the number of tickets, same amount of fun! or get a $35 unlimited ride wristband.

How to Save Money on OC Fair Rides

the rides are so much fun and they are one of the things that the kids beg for the most. but tickets can really add up, and each ride can cost anywhere from 3-10 tickets! yikes. here are some ways that you can get some free or discounted tickets.

did you know that your kids can get 3 free rides just for reading?!!! it’s a great deal and worth as much at 20 tickets. the OC Fair Read & Ride program allows kid ages 5-11 can read two books to earn three free carnival rides by writing a short book report on this form. and just so you know, i don’t think they are strict on ages, because i made all my kids read and write the reports last year and they all got free rides. such a great deal. completed book report forms can be redeemed for ride tickets at the Centennial Farm Information Booth during Fair hours.

• Wednesdays $35 Unlimited Carnival Ride Wristband
Enjoy all the rides you can handle for one price. (Sold until 5 p.m. Valid until 8 p.m. Wristbands must be purchased onsite. Required Fair admission sold separately.)

• on Fridays, get $2 Rides and $2 Games noon to 4:00 p.m. in the Main Carnival and Kiddie Carnival.

• Saturday Carnival Special is half off ticket redemption – that’s half the number of tickets, same amount of fun! Valid 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Sunday Carnival Special is half off ticket redemption – that’s half the number of tickets, same amount of fun! Or, get a $35 unlimited ride wristband. Valid 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Free Things to Do at the OC Fair

there are lots of free things to do at the Fair, you don’t even really need to buy anything to enjoy it. our favorite things are Centennial Farm, the Explorium (Kid Zone), acrobatic & hypnotists shows, arts exhibits, Culinary Exhibits, Reptile House, Pet Center, 4H exhibits, water area, garden and farm area, free rides for kids with the Read & Ride program, and browsing vendor booths.

seeing the baby animals is the most favorite activity on our list, followed by the Explorium Kid Zone shows.

How to Save Money on Food at the OC Fair

out of all the attractions and amusements at the OC Fair, the food is what can cost the most. it really adds up if everyone wants a meal, and a drink, and a treat, and another treat.

if you are on a budget and want to spend as little as possible on food, i suggest eating first and then visiting the Fair. a fair isn’t a fair without food, so plan on at least getting a treat to share. some suggestions of my favorite sharable Fair treats are – Funnel Cake (with ice cream topping), Caramel Crack Fries, Berry Treat Bowl from Sherri’s Berries, Giant Donuts (look for the Unicorn Cotton Candy Donut), Giant Foot-long Corn Dogs, Loaded Curly Fries, Fried Zucchini and the Big Skillet Cookie.

plus, on Thursdays, you can get $3 Taste of Fair Food from noon t0 4:00 p.m. its a great way to get to enjoy a variety of select fun-sized Fair treats for a value price. samples include funnel cake, tri-tip, lemonade, cinnamon rolls, tacos, gelato, cotton candy and more.

How to Save Money on OC Fair Parking

general parking is $10 everyday. you can always park for free offsite at some of the free parking lots and walk to the Fair. or you can get FREE Off-Site Parking on Saturday & Sunday and Free shuttle service from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. at the Experian parking structure located off the Bristol Street exit of the 405 Freeway. follow the signs to “Experian.”

the OC Fair Express costs $2 each way, or 75¢ for seniors 60+ and persons with disabilities. when you ride the OC Fair Express, you will receive a coupon for $4 OC Fair admission, that’s a $10 savings! OC Fair Express buses depart from nine locations on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the duration of the Fair. if riding Metrolink, you can connect to the OC Fair Express at the Anaheim Canyon, Santa Ana, Irvine or Anaheim-ARTIC Metrolink stations. show your valid Metrolink ticket and ride the bus for free.

Now it’s time to enjoy the OC Fair!

the OC Fair runs for a whole month, this year it runs from July 13th through August 12th. hopefully with these tips and tricks, you can visit multiple times and not break the bank.

You Might Also Like:

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.