If April the Giraffe taught us anything, it's that animal births can be captivating. And time consuming. One of the many new attractions the State Fair of Texas will offer during its run Sept. 28 through Oct. 21 in Dallas is a "birthing barn."
(The Dallas Morning News live-streamed a longhorn calf being born at last year's fair, and it was pretty popular.)
Here's a look at some of the new attractions coming to the State Fair of Texas:
Livestock birthing barn: Attendees to the fair can go into the new birthing barn and watch and learn as pregnant animals birth their babies. "We've been asked about it for many years," says Karissa Condoianis, spokesperson for the State Fair of Texas. Her team noticed that fairgoers had great interest in watching and hearing about animal births. "The goal would be to have a birth every day, but these are real animals," Condoianis says. (So no promises.) The exhibit will also explain the role of breeding. It will be located where the petting zoo used to be.
They're moving the petting zoo: Don't fret: The petting zoo lives on at the State Fair of Texas, in a new location that is air-conditioned. It will be part of an exhibit called Home on the Range, which is designed toddlers through 8-year-old kids. Inside the new space, kids can learn at Little Hands on the Farm, a miniature farm where kids plant seeds, gather eggs, drive a small tractor and more.
A new football game: The State Fair will be home to the Texas/OU game, of course. It also plays host to one of the most delightful halftime shows out there with the State Fair Classic featuring Grambling State University and Prairie View A&M. But new this year, it will add the State Fair Showdown: a football game between Texas Southern University and Southern University.
If you love Texas inventions: Inside the Hall of State, fairgoers can learn about the best inventions and innovations made by Texans. We asked, and yes, the frozen margarita machine might be included.
MLK's influence on Dallas: The Hall of State will also host a special exhibit called "Dallas in the Time of MLK." Visitors can learn about Martin Luther King Jr's. speeches in Dallas in 1963 and 1966. Civil rights leaders from Dallas will also talk about "this critical decade," the press release explains, "as Dallas transitioned away from being a segregated city."
Calling all gardeners: An exhibit called Innovations in Agriculture will show off the fair's Big Tex Urban Farms, which is an organic farm that produces crops year-round and donates them to community members in southern Dallas. Gardeners can learn about DIY growing systems for their own backyards, too.
Sensory-friendly hours: On Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., anyone with intellectual disabilities is invited to the State Fair with their families and friends. A press release says sound and light adjustments will be made around the fairgrounds, and families can get a guided itinerary. Also throughout the fair (and not new this year), a Dallas company called Howdy Homemade, which employs people with special needs, will sell ice cream.
If you love a show: A new performance called Amazing Archery will feature Frank Addington, Jr., who will hit targets as small as an aspirin. And the All-Star Stunt Dog Show will showcase rescue dogs' talents, including jump-roping and juggling.
Concerts: Ludacris is one of the many performers coming to Fair. Park. See the full list here.
These are just some of the State Fair of Texas' new attractions. Find other ones here.