Are you ready for the rodeo? Watching the cowboys rope and ride, getting your fill of funnel cakes and turkey legs, petting an animal or two. It's all happening Saturday through March 30 at the Rodeo Austin fairgrounds at 9100 Decker Lake Road.
Bring the wallet, though. Fairground tickets are $8 a day for ages 13 and up and $5 for children 2-12, seniors and military. Parking is $15 a vehicle. Rides are $3 to $4 each. Tickets to the rodeo and concert are $20 to $175.
You'll find plenty to do on just your fairground ticket, though. Here are some of the events that would be great to check out with the kids.
You came to Rodeo Austin for a rodeo, right? It's OK if you say no. There are many things to do on the fairgrounds without actually going to the rodeo, but if you do step foot in Luedecke Arena, know that the rodeo and concert happen at 7 p.m. nightly and 3 p.m. Sundays. Events include bronc riding both with and without a saddle, team roping, steer wrestling, tie-down calf roping, barrel racing and bull riding. Throw in a few clowns and some kids riding on the back of sheep. Tickets are $20-$175, except March 25-27, when they are 50 percent off.
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It's too late to sign up the kids for the big arena Mutton Bustin', but they could ride a sheep at 3 p.m. Saturdays in the Wild West Tent. Kids have to be between 5 and 7 years old and weigh less than 55 pounds. You have to bring your child's birth certificate with you and sign a waiver. It's $30 to sign up, and there are limited spaces. Even if you don't have a kid who wants to do it, it's worth checking out.
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Livestock show and Avenue of the Breeds
Each day it's a different animal being shown, often by kids just like your kids. Check out the Show Barn and the Avenue of the Breeds where you can see everything from chicks hatching to animals competing in the livestock show to champion horses. Think of it like a zoo, but with farm animals. It's free as part of your fairgrounds entrance. Avenue of the Breeds is open anytime the fairgrounds are open.
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Kids Town has multiple attractions. One way to get up close with animals is at the petting zoo. Your kids also can take a pony ride or step into a butterfly zone or feed parakeets. The pony rides and feeding the parakeets are $5 each. Kids Town is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Pig Races and Turkey Races
The pigs race for their pride ... or really an Oreo cookie. Watch the Pig Races in Kids Town daily at 10:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 1:45 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The turkeys gobble their way to the finish line at the southside near the Luedecke Arena. The turkeys, unlike the pigs, will be running around all day. Both animal races are free.
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Trick roping, riding and comedy
Tomás Garcilazo shows off his rope skills and horsemanship daily at 1:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., and the Kimzey family shows riding tricks at 12:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. Both are at the Wild West near the carnival. See Tumblewood Crossing's Wild West comedy stunt show daily at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. You can find it near the Luedecke Arena. All these shows are free.
"Earth, Wind, Inspire"
The Thinkery is debuting its new exhibit about the power of weather at Rodeo Austin before it goes on display at the Thinkery in May. Find it in the General Store from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The carnival is open 11 a.m. to close most days, but 4 p.m. to close March 25-29, and features more than 60 rides and games. Most rides cost $3 to $4 a person, except on $2 Tuesdays. There are Magic Money wristbands you can buy and then add more money to them. An unlimited ride band is $35, but look for specials, such as a $20 unlimited ride spring break band to use March 18-21 until 5 p.m. each day and the $15 after-school special for unlimited rides as well as admission for people 18 and younger March 25-28 from 4 p.m. on. Hint: Many rides are for people 3 feet or taller, so younger children might not benefit from an unlimited ride band. Also, in high winds or bad weather, the rides shut down.
Near the carnival is the Bubble Bayou, which is a sea of bubbles for kids to play in. It's free and open when the fairgrounds are open.
Find out more about Rodeo Austin at rodeoaustin.com.
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