The Indiana State Fair celebrates everything that makes the Hoosier state great, especially Indiana farming and agriculture. Throughout all 18 days of the fair, thousands of horses, cattle, pigs, llamas, and more get off the farm for a trip to the event of the year. Most of these Indiana State Fair animals are competitors, the pride of the farmers who raised them, hoping to become state champions in their respective categories. Others act more as ambassadors, allowing the non-farmers among us a chance to interact personally with some of the livestock raised right here in Indiana.
If you’re at the fair with your kids, chances are they are dying to meet the Indiana State Fair animals. The barns and exhibits are full of impressive examples of Indiana’s best livestock and, let’s face it, many of these creatures are just plain adorable. Luckily, you can find cows, bunnies, horses, sheep, and so many other friends housed all around the fairgrounds. You and your littles won’t have to wait long before you’re face-to-face with some Indiana State Fair animals.
The 2023 Indiana State Fair runs from July 28 through August 20.
Where to See Indiana State Fair Animals
There are so many places to find animals around the Indiana State Fairgrounds that it would actually be hard to spend a day at the fair and not see any. However, if you’re trying to budget your time or want to see specific types of animals, our guide can help! Read on to find the best places to locate all your favorite Indiana State Fair Animals.
Best Overall: Livestock Pavilions
For some, this is what the State Fair is all about. The large barns and pavilions lining the main thoroughfare on the south side of the fairgrounds all house different livestock species. Each pavilion’s residents change regularly throughout the fair, depending on the weekly competitions and events.
Check the fair schedule to find out who you can meet in the livestock barns each day. Small animals like poultry and rabbits are typically located in the Expo Hall on the southwest corner of the fairgrounds. At various times, you can find cattle, horses, llamas, goats, and sheep in the Blue Ribbon and Champions pavilions, as well as the Indiana Farmer’s Coliseum. Swine fill the newest building, the Fall Creek Pavilion, for the majority of the fair. For the last two days of the fair, dogs will compete for top prizes in the West Pavilion.
Enjoy getting to see these amazing competitors and champions up close, but wait to be invited by the owner to touch or pet livestock. There are other opportunities around the fairgrounds to interact more closely with these animals.
Most Informative: Animal Town
Want to see nearly all the animal species at the fair in one convenient location? Head to Animal Town in the MHS Family Fun Park. Representatives from most of the fair’s livestock residents are on display daily in this shady outdoor exhibit. Interpretive signs guide visitors as they learn more about the animals themselves, as well as their significance to agriculture in Indiana.
Each day at 1, 3, 5, and 7 pm, you can listen in on a Let’s Talk Livestock chat in Animal Town. Come prepared with all your questions and get the scoop on these adorable and fascinating Indiana farm animals.
Looking for pony rides? They’re nearby in the Family Fun Park and the experience costs $7 per person this year.
Most Interactive: FFA Children’s Barnyard
Are your kids anxious to pet all those fuzzy sheep, goats, and other creatures they’ve met around the fairgrounds? Petting the animals is welcome in the Children’s Barnyard in the FFA Pavilion. From 9 am-8 pm every day, you can engage with some of the cuddliest, friendliest animals at the fair. Cups of animal feed are available for purchase. You can also play a free round of mini-golf while you’re here!
Best Outdoor Environment: Goat Mountain
Watch dozens of goats roam freely in the exhibit at Goat Mountain on the north side of the fairgrounds. Directly east of the 4-H exhibit halls, you’ll find pygmy goats, meat goats, dairy goats, and Boer goats all playing contentedly together. This shady, landscaped spot is a fun stop as you make your way around the main loop.
Best for Babies: DNR Building
Get your little one up close to the glass fish tanks in the DNR Building. Something about those speedy swimmers really captures the attention of babies and toddlers. Of course, they’re not the only ones who will love seeing the fish. Bigger kids will also love the Butterfly Garden experience and everyone will appreciate the air conditioning in this indoor exhibit!
New in 2023
We can’t wait to experience these new attractions with Indiana State Fair animals this year!
Otters are undeniably cute, so we can imagine that trained, performing otters just take that cuteness factor up a notch or two. This splashy spectacle promises to be an “up-close-and-personal” show with some super sweet otters. Find them in the MHS Family Fun Park at 12, 4:30, and 6 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 2, 4:30, and 6 pm on Fridays through Sundays. Note that these daily performances begin on August 2.
Swifty Swine Racing Pigs
Sure, you’ve seen the pigs in the livestock barns, but have you seen pigs race? The Swifty Swine love Oreo cookies and put on an exciting show as they race for their delicious grand prize. Find these speedy animals in the west lot of the Communications Building. Race times and days vary, so be sure to check the fair’s daily schedule to find out when you can see the Swifty Swine.
Meet some of the fair’s newest residents in this immersive animal experience! Expect to pay a small fee for the privilege of getting up close to these brilliantly colored birds. Find the Parakeet Encounter near the DNR building on the north side of the fairgrounds.
The animals really are the stars of the show at the Indiana State Fair. A visit with some sweet and snuggly new friends just adds to all the fun of a day at the fair. Get your kids up close with livestock, dogs and cats, colorful parakeets or butterflies, or the native fish that fill Indiana rivers and streams. A personal experience with Indiana State Fair animals can help build a deep appreciation for the amazing creatures that are an essential part of the lives and livelihoods of Hoosiers throughout the state.
Find places to meet farm animals year-round.
One of our other favorite parts of the Indiana State Fair? The food!