Fur (and feather) enthusiasts can expect a wide variety of animals and animal shows at the New York State Fair in 2022, which runs from Wednesday, August 24 through Labor Day, Monday, September 5.
For a full list of animal competitions and exhibitions, visit the fair’s website.
Here’s our short list:
Sea Lion Splash Show
Back after a six-year hiatus is the family favorite—and free—Sea Lion Splash Show, located in the Family Fun Zone behind the Expo Center near the Talent Showcase. Three weekday shows are scheduled for 11:00 AM, 2:30 PM and 5:00 PM; on weekends, four shows begin at 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. The show features performing sea lions, with a bit of education thrown in. You can even take a moist selfie with one of the stars at the end of the performance.
World of horses
Watching skilled riders prance around the Colosseum’s ring is arguably one of the fair’s best free shows, but you can get an up-close equestrian experience at the recently revived World of Horses exhibit, located in the shed along Sioux Avenue at Gate 4, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Featuring a rotating stable of different horse breeds, World of Horses offers training and education on everything from keeping a horse as a pet, competition and training tips, career opportunities, how horses are used in police work and what happens after one the horse races are over.
Birds of prey
Lake Onondaga is a great place to see bald eagles in the dead of winter, but you don’t have to take your butt off it to see birds of prey up close. The Birds of Prey exhibit has daily shows at 11:00 AM, 2:15 PM, and 4:30 PM in the State Park area in front of the Horticulture Building, behind Chevy Court. An educational exhibit is open daily from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Hollywood Racing Pigs
Pig artists organize a daily race at 12 noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the Family Fun Zone behind the Expo Center near the Youth Building.
Birth center for dairy cows
After you’ve finished watching sea lions and running pigs, witness the miracle of life firsthand by watching a dairy cow give birth to a calf at the Dairy Cow Live Birthing Center, located in the Family Fun Zone behind the Expo Center, near the Youth Building. Open daily from 10am to 9pm. Volunteers are on hand to assist with the births and to explain the process to the fairgoers.
Animal encounters Petting zoo
The Coronas family of circus performers who run Circus Hollywood (and those fantastic racing pigs) also have an Animal Encounters petting zoo in the Family Fun Zone, between the Expo Center and the Dairy Cow Live Birthing Center. There are daily circus performances at 1.30pm, 4.30pm and 7.30pm and the petting zoo is open daily from 11am to 9pm.
If you prefer to roam at your leisure, the animal buildings will be filled with your favorite farm animals, including:
- Goats (not the screaming kind)
- Poultry and poultry (the rooster crowing competition is a must-hear)
- Rabbits (be there at the right time and you can pet one)
- Cows, both beef and dairy
- Sheep (watch a sheep being clipped)
- All types of horses (draft, quarter, Arabian, etc.)
- Pigs (and yes, baby pigs)
- New York State Police K9 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team gives shows twice a day at 1:15 PM and 3:15 PM
Can I bring my fur baby to the fair?
No. Pets are not allowed at the Fair unless it is a trained service animal working or performing a task for a person with a disability. Pets participating in a competition are also allowed, but fair visitors with such animals must keep them on a leash or harness. You are also not allowed to keep your pet in your car while you are at the Beurs.
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Steve Featherstone covers the outdoors for The Post-Standard, syracuse.com and NYUP.com. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @featheroutdoors. You can also follow all our outdoor content on newyorkupstate.com/outdoors/ or follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/upstatenyoutdoors.