Knox looks forward to the month of March in Houston all year-long and it isn’t for spring break or the warmer temperatures.

Visiting the Rodeo as a family each year has been one of our very favorite family traditions since moving back to Texas. (You would never guess Knox was a New York City Baby!)  Knox remembered EVERYTHING from last year (down to only using two fingers to touch the fish. ha!) and couldn’t wait to get back to the Rodeo.  Even though Andrew went with us last year, this was his first time to truly experience all RODEOHOUSTON has to offer.

It was so fun to see them walk around wide-eyed at all the animals, carnival rides, and the delicious foods to choose from. But navigating the world’s largest rodeo can be a bit overwhelming so I teamed up with RODEOHOUSTON to share with you a behind-the-scenes look at our favorite family activities so even if it is your first rodeo, no one would ever know. Watch our video from our day at the Rodeo, and read on below for the full scoop on our tips and cant-miss list.



Located inside the NRG Center is AGVENTURE, one of the boys VERY favorite places to visit at the Rodeo. They absolutely love the hands on experience at the petting zoo, getting to ride the ponies and watching the baby chicks hatch out of their eggs!  We always stroll down the aisles of “Breed Row Barn” to get a close-up look at cows and other large farm animals. The owners are usually around to let you pet the animals and share fun facts with the boys about the livestock.  The rabbit exhibit is another kids’ dream!  Who wouldn’t want to hold and cuddle the adorable, furry animals?!  We visited the Horticulture exhibit for the first time this year and the boys planted sunflower seeds to bring home.  They have already put them in our flower bed and Knox ask daily when it will start to grow.  😉  Also, don’t miss the Fisheries Touch Tank (it’s right at the entrance) where you can get a closer look at what’s in the water and even touch starfish!  The photo opportunities in this area are priceless! It’s open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and access is free with your Rodeo ticket.  I highly suggest being there when the doors open at nine.  We went on a weekday and enjoyed the first few hours crowd free!

The Junction

Just outside of the NRG Center is The Junction, an outdoor area overflowing with hands-on agriculture experiences as well as carnival rides and games. To be honest, last year Andrew had hit his fun expiration after AGVENTURE so we skipped this area and opted for his nap.  But this year, the boys were still raring to go so we got to experience it ALL.  And they LOVED it!  My favorite was probably Fun on the Farm which teaches kids about the farm-to-table process.  The boys got to ‘plant seeds, pick their crops and then sell them at the ‘market’ where they get paid ‘money’ to purchase a treat. They had so much fun and I, of course, loved the educational value.  Knox had fun with the tractor pull race, too!  Other fun experiences include camel rides and pig races (adorable!), you could spend all day in this area. If you have a five or six-year-old, don’t miss Mutton Bustin’ where kids try to hold on to a sheep for a wild ride across the arena — the absolute cutest activity!  I have big hopes for Knox next year! Of course the carnival is a huge hit with kids and adults alike, and it’s open daily until midnight. We let the boys play a few games (they have something for all ages) and they even brought home a few winnings!  But let’s talk about the real reason any sane person goes to the Rodeo – the food.  After all this fun, you have certainly worked up an appetite for a Fletcher’s corn dog, funnel cakes and anything else your heart desires.  After all, what’s a rodeo without some friend food on a stick?! 😉


Shopping & Wine

The Rodeo is obviously a magical place for kids, but it’s also just as popular with adults. There are great opportunities for amazing Rodeo-centric shopping, including Lone Star Market, a new outdoor shopping area featuring local vendors selling everything from leather goods, to food, to art pieces. And for wine lovers (that’s me!), the Champion Wine Garden is a must-visit to sip on award-winning wines from the Rodeo’s international wine competition. We have plans to go back for a concert (or two), sans kids, and we are so excited to get there early to check out the wine garden (and more fried food) before the rodeo and concert.


I feel like I have already shared so much and we haven’t even talked about the actual rodeo, yet!  Every evening (afternoon on the weekends), fans fill NRG Stadium to watch the main event – the top athletes and animals compete in one of the world’s largest rodeosKnox’s favorites competitions to watch are the bare back riding, the bull riding, the chuck wagon races and the Mutton Bustin’!  He is so serious about watching he literally sits on the edge of his seat and shushes me when I try to talk to him.  Despite his upbringing in big cities, I think my small-town roots have left a lasting impression. 😉  After the Rodeo, stick around to enjoy live music from today’s biggest stars!  (We took the boys on Blake Shelton’s night and we are going back for Garth Brooks!)  You can see the full line up here.

I hope you enjoy your visit to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ as much as we did!

We are proud to partner with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ to bring you this post.  Thank you for supporting the brands and products we love at HOUSE of HARPER.