As the site of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition, Fair Park remains the only original, unaltered, pre-1950’s world’s fair site in the country. The architecture at Fair Park is distinctively Art Deco and home to over seven million visitors a year. The park hosts a slew of festivals and events year-round, including the ever popular Texas State Fair. The Music Hall, The Science Place, the Texas Star Ferris Wheel and the Cotton Bowl all call Fair Park home, in addition to several other museums, exhibit halls, performance venues and gardens. They also offer two historic walking tours of the grounds for those interested in the architecture and history of the park. Visit fairpark.org for more information.
Not many city skylines boast a Ferris wheel and roller coaster amid the spires and office towers. Thanks to Elitch Gardens, downtown Denver does. Moving to its current site alongside the Platte River basin from its original location in 1995, the 120-year-old theme park presents a kaleidoscope of classic thrill rides—from the Mind Eraser with its double corkscrew turns to the Tower of Doom, which drops daredevils groundward from 200 feet in the air. For the tots, old-time favorites abound: there’s a carousel, tilt-a-whirl, and teacup ride, as well as the Island Kingdom Water Park with a high dive, wave pool, and array of slides. Kicking off in May, the season ends with a spooky bang during October’s Fright Fest—a boo-filled blast of haunted houses and trick-or-treat trails.