10 Ways to Enjoy the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo with Kids and Tips to Know Before You Go

As a small-town girl from West Texas with deep ranching roots, February has become one of my favorite months of the year to live in San Antonio. The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo feels like home to me, and I’m usually there at least 3-4 times while it’s in town. This year, the rodeo runs February 6-23, and as always, there will be something for everyone.

  1. Attend a Rodeo Performance

If you’ve never seen an actual rodeo performance, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. From Bareback Riding to Bull Riding and some surprises in between, you and your kids will be glued to the action. My kids have been enjoying the rodeo since they were three years old, and they look forward to it each year. Their favorite part? Mutton bustin’ of course! There’s nothing cuter than watching a bunch of 4-7-year-old kids dressed to the nines in Western gear riding a sheep across the AT&T Center. My oldest daughter even participated a few years ago, which will always be a treasured memory. But even after the last cowboy rides away, the entertainment is just getting started. With amazing entertainers like Keith Urban, ZZ Top, Jon Pardi, and KC and the Sunshine Band, there is truly something everyone will enjoy.

  1. Ride A Sheep

Getting selected to participate in Mutton Bustin’ during an actual rodeo performance has become about as rare as winning the lottery. There are a lot more little cowboys and cowgirls who want to ride a sheep than there are slots for contestants. So this year the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has done something about that. To help meet the demand for Mutton Bustin’ and give more little buckaroos a chance to ride, the rodeo is now offering Bustin’ in the Barn, where more than 1,400 kiddos will have the chance to compete on a sheep. The best of the best will win a spot to compete during an actual rodeo performance! To participate, children must be between the ages of 4-7 years old, weigh less than 55 pounds fully dressed, pay a $35 participation fee, and parents must fill out a medical questionnaire and release form. Spots are limited, and you can register online. There are also a few spots reserved for walk-ups.

  1. Enjoy Some Dairy Products

Learn all about milk production, watch a cow-milking demonstration, and (best of all) purchase homemade ice cream and milk shakes at the Dairy Center in the Animals and Agriculture area. Open daily at 10:00 am.

  1. Watch a Pig Race

Always a favorite with my kids, watch pigs race around the track vying for the coveted Oreo cookie at the Swifty Swine Pig Races. Check the daily schedule for race times.

  1. Learn About Agriculture in Animal Adventures

See live animals, including hatching chicks, sheep, goats, and more, and learn about the importance of agriculture in everyday life. This exhibit is always a family favorite, with plenty of hands-on activities, demonstrations, and audience participation. Open daily from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm in the Animals and Agriculture area.

  1. See Wild Animals at the Wildlife Expo

This exhibit usually houses live wildlife and a variety of interactive and demonstrative exhibits. Children can learn about wildlife native to Texas and the importance of conserving natural resources. Open Monday-Wednesday, 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, and Thursday-Sunday, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm.

  1. Go for A Spin at the Carnival

Of course no trip to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo would be complete without a trip to the carnival or a ride on a pony. Before you buy carnival tickets, make sure to check height restrictions. I’ve made the mistake of buying a handful of tickets only to find out my child was too short to ride most of the rides. The classics are always there: bumper cars, the Ferris wheel, the giant slide, the roller coaster, and those intriguing fun houses and mirror mazes. All-you-can-ride carnival wristbands are available. Tip: Buy online before 2/6/20 for $22 or pay $25-30 at the gate.

  1. Break Your New Year’s Resolutions at the Food Court

Oh, that rodeo food court. What’s not to love? The smell of funnel cakes wafts through the air as sounds of live music and fun surround you. There are turkey legs and sausages-on-a-stick and hot beef sundaes and everything you said you would stay away from on your new year’s resolution. But everyone deserves a cheat day! And my personal favorite, the Island Noodles, seems healthy, right? (At least it has vegetables in it.) The food court is open Sunday – Thursday, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm, and Friday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 12:00 am.

  1. Feed Animals at the Petting Zoo

The petting zoo at the SA Stock Show & Rodeo is like an extreme version of the petting zoo you probably visited when you were a kid. In previous years there have been the usual sheep, goats, and pigs, but also llamas, deer, ducks, and kangaroos, all roaming freely together. Food is available for purchase if you’d like to feed the animals, but otherwise admission is included with the regular fairgrounds ticket. Personal tip: Watch your handbag! I’ve had animals try to eat items out of mine before!

  1. Visit Little Buckaroo Farms, presented by H-E-B

This fun, hands-on exhibit teaches kids about where their food and clothing come from. Visitors can see a live beehive, sample dairy products, visit with Bexar County Master Gardeners, and much more. New this year is Dan-Dan the Farmer Man, who will give presentations that teach children how rain forms and falls to the ground.

Other opportunities for family fun include Zoomagination, a live animal program for all ages, Horse Discovery, an opportunity to learn more about horses and the sport of rodeo, the Army Bass Anglers Coalition Kids Fishing Tank, where kids can fish alongside experienced fishermen in an indoor tank, Amazing Archery and Extreme Dogs shows, Robert Castillo’s BMX Freestyle Team, and Cowboy Boot Camp, where kids can experience educational hands-on activities. It’s also fun to walk through the animal barns to see the show animals.

What To Know Before you Go:

  • The SA Stock Show and Rodeo offers FREE fairgrounds admission for any guest with a valid military issued ID EVERY DAY. Does not include admission into the AT&T Center for Rodeo performance.   
  • Dollar day will be held on Thursday, February 6. All fairgrounds entry will be one dollar for admission. Select food, rides, drinks are available for $1 in the carnival area until 6 p.m.
  • Two dollar admission onto the fairgrounds will take place on Tuesday, February 11 and Monday, February 17. Select food, rides, drinks are available for $2 in the carnival area until 6 p.m.
  • All other days, admission to the fairgrounds (without a rodeo ticket) is $12 for adults (or $10 if purchased online in advance), $5 for children (3-12 years old) and senior citizens (65+), and free for children ages 0-2 years.
  • Admission to the fairgrounds is included with a rodeo ticket. Rodeo tickets start at $20 and also include the concert after the rodeo performance.
  • Parking is available for $10-$20.
  • Bring a stroller if coming to the fairgrounds! You will be walking A LOT!
  • There are two nursing lounges available for moms. See #17 and #28 on the Rodeo Map.
  • Hours:

Family Fair, Wildlife Expo & Shopping:

  • Sunday – Thursday: 10 AM – 8 PM
  • Friday – Saturday: 10 AM – 9 PM

Carnival:

  • Sunday – Thursday: 10 AM – 10 PM
  • Friday – Saturday: 10 AM – Midnight

For more information, visit the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Web site or view the Schedule of Events. 

 

 

 

 

 

Jill
Jill is a small-town girl at heart but has loved discovering all San Antonio has to offer since moving here in 2004. She and her husband of 16 years are proud Texas Aggies and parents to two elementary-age girls. Jill worked as an editor, writer, and 4th-grade teacher before discovering her dream job as a taxi driver (for her girls). As a stay-at-home-mom, she spends her days volunteering at her kids' school and at church, attempting to exercise, pondering how four people can accumulate so much dirty laundry, and driving her kids to numerous extracurricular activities. She has recently taken her love for all things Disney to the next level by becoming a Disney Travel Planner. Follow along on her family’s adventures in San Antonio and beyond on Instagram at @satxfamily or email her for a Disney (or Universal Studios) vacation quote and planning assistance at [email protected]