The Washington State Fair (formerly and still often fondly called the Puyallup Fair) is the kind of event that's fun for all. Whether you're there to chow down on delicious fair food, watch a concert, say hi to the animals or boost your adrenaline on the rides, there's literally something for everyone.
But it's the rides that hold a special place in a true fair-goer's heart.
Washington State Fair rides come in all shapes and sizes, but primarily three categories to be aware of: SillyVille Rides (for kids); Midway Rides (for kids and adults); and rides that require special admission (hold on to your hats!).
Rides for Kids
The fair's kid ride area is called SillyVille. Most SillyVille Rides are located close to the Green and Purple Gates. SillyVille rides are geared toward younger children, and all kids must be at least two years old. Ride height requirements start at 36 inches tall, but some rides require that your child be at least 42 inches tall.
SillyVille Ride Tips
- Ride tickets for SillyVille are 50 cents each. Rides take between 7 and 12 tickets.
- Dizzy Passes will get your child unlimited SillyVille and Midway rides for one price.
What is the best ride for young kids and parents to enjoy together?
If you’re looking for a great ride for parents and children to enjoy together, the SillyVille Train wins this hands down. Not all adults want to zip and spin along with their children, but this peaceful train ride is sure to be a hit with young riders and enjoyable for adults, too.
What is the most exciting SillyVille ride?
SillyVille rides tend toward the gentle end of the ride spectrum, but the Giant Slide is tall and fast enough that even rollercoaster fans will enjoy it, but it’s safe enough for small children to enjoy, too. Parents and children can sit on one burlap sack together. For young children who want to sample the excitement of a rollercoaster, the Lil’ Coaster allows them to dip their toes in without moving too fast.
What rides are best for older children?
If you have an older child, SillyVille may be a bit too tame for his or her taste. Tilt-a-Whirl is one of the few rides that will attract riders young and old that is classified as a SillyVille ride.
Midway Rides and Roller Coaster
Midway rides have height requirements starting at 42 inches tall, but many require that riders are 48 or 52 inches tall. These rides are geared toward older kids, teens and adults.
Best all-around ride:
The Giant Coaster is a popular choice for almost all fair-goers. This coaster is one of the oldest structures on the fairgrounds and has lap bars rather than harnesses, and lots of hills and dips, ensuring riders get lots of air time. It's one of the best roller coasters in the state (there aren't many) alongside Timberhawk at Wild Waves.
Best rides if you want to go upside down:
The best ride at the Washington State Fair for upside-down hang time is Inverter. This ride rocks back and forth and gradually works up to dangling riders upside down, ultimately suspending the ride upside down for several hair-raising seconds. Similar rides are Kamikaze and Super Loops, but the Inverter has much more comfortable seating.
Other roller coasters at the Fair:
While the Giant Coaster is the most visible coaster at the fair, there are a few others that often have fewer people waiting in line. Rainier Rush is a metal-track coaster located in the midway. It's shorter than you'd find at an amusement park, but offers a wild (and kind of bumpy) ride. Wild Cat is is a fast and zippy little coaster, and Monster Mouse is another option, but features jerky, hairpin turns.
Best rides if you like to spin:
If you like going in circles, most rides have you well-covered to varying degrees. For quick spins, head to the Matterhorn, Starship, or Zero Gravity, but be warned—these rides are not for the delicate of stomach. For slower, gentler spin, relax on the Wave Swinger or enjoy a round on the Enterprise, a ride that starts out circling at ground level, and works its way up to vertical loops.
Best rides that combine spinning and vertical motion:
If you enjoy a variety of sensations all at once, this category is for you. Monster and Spider are similar rides that combine two separate spinning motions—each car spins and the ride spins as well. On top of that, cars move up and down, too. Scrambler is another ride that offers multiple levels of spin, but keeps riders on a flat plane. Eingang is yet another alternative. Just maybe skip eating a ton of fair scones before you board these guys.
Rides that Require Special Admission
Usually, the most exciting, most death-defying, thrilling rides at the fair are not included in special deals like the Dizzy Pass. These often require a separate admission fee, but if you really want a rush, these are often the best places to look.
These rides include Extreme Scream and the Sling Shot, which tend to be out in force every year. Some years also feature additional special rides.