Family Road Traveled

mostly NYC adventures with kids

Meadowlands State Fair – Biggest Carnival near NYC and AWESOME! Meadowlands State Fair – Biggest Carnival near NYC and AWESOME!
I’ve been visiting Meadowlands Fair for over 18 years now, it has grown and gotten better than ever. This year I brought my four... Meadowlands State Fair – Biggest Carnival near NYC and AWESOME!

I’ve been visiting Meadowlands Fair for over 18 years now, it has grown and gotten better than ever. This year I brought my four year old for the first time. The fireworks finale sealed the deal and we’ll be making this an annual tradition. State Fair Meadowlands (formerly called the Meadowlands Fair) is not the formal NJ state fair held annually in Sussex County, rather, it’s a huge carnival that takes over the parking lot surrounding the MetLife Stadium. It typically runs for two weeks towards the end June and early July. This year it runs through July 10th. It’s even accessible via public transportation!

This year we made our visit July 3rd with plans to stay for the fireworks. On our 20 minute drive there from NYC I realized the fireworks were to go on at 11pm…we had a challenge ahead of us…we could enjoy some rides together, see the pig races and call it a night or we could be bad parents and keep our four year old hyped on cotton candy so she could do it all and see the show. We chose the latter and the night, in her words, was the ‘best night ever’.

The fair doesn’t open until evening most nights, we arrived around 5pm so it was still light and we got the lay of the land. This fair is HUGE. There are a lot of duplicate rides, just with different decorations. There is a good sized section dedicated to little kids with a nice range of rides. My daughter went on all of these and then into every fun house multiple times. These are the narrow houses with moving floors, spinning hamster wheels you can run through and obstacle course you have to climb through. She and her dad got the all you could ride passes ($25) so he endured all of the fun  houses with her, actually I think he liked them. I only had the admission stamp so didn’t ride anything. But I took tons of pictures!

We didn’t play any of the games, but there was enough to do with the all you can ride and admission pass that we filled our night and our daughter wasn’t disappointed. My favorite part was the pig races. The petting zoo was cute too. They also had helicopter rides for $40/person. We didn’t do this but it looked pretty cool. As the evening turned to night we enjoyed the magnificent sunset, a perfect backdrop to the carnival rides.

As promised, the fireworks went off at 11pm. The display was spectacular. It lasted about 10 minutes and had a variety of colors and sizes of the beautiful splashes in the sky.


  • We left our stroller in the car so bypassed the long stroller line to gain admission. Once we realized we needed it I left and reentered in a separate re-entry area where there was no line…turned out to be a good move. Nothing was inspected, all was very easy.
  • You can buy an admission which includes no rides, a la carte tickets for rides, or an all you can ride stamp. I only paid for admission and still had a blast.
  • There are several portable bathrooms, they are decent considering they’re portable.
  • The fair food ranges in options but there is pretty much something for everyone.
  • If you can make the fireworks, do it. We got our fill July 3rd so didn’t venture into the NYC madness to see the Macy’s fireworks on the 4th this year. We’ll likely do this again next year if the dates work out.
  • Since this parking lot is designed for crowds, there were four exits so we didn’t wait long at all to get on the road and head home.
  • The fair was crowded, but it was a nice family friendly crowd from what I experienced.
  • Check out the entertainment line-up when you arrive, there are a lot of great shows. The pig races are awesome 🙂
  • For directions via public transportation.

Here’s a video of our special night:

For more family fun ideas in New Jersey check out:

100 Things to do in New Jersey


esteepouleris mommy blogger

Estée Pouleris is a mommy blogger based in NYC. She writes reviews about adventures with her 6 year old daughter. Her posts include photos, tips and ideas of fun places to visit with kids.

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