Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2024's Top Things To Do with Kids

Little boy showing his steer. Photo courtesy of the Houston Livestock Show Rodeo
Little boy showing his steer. Photo courtesy of the Houston Livestock Show Rodeo
2/4/24 - By Carrie Taylor

Pull out those ten-gallon hats because the Houston Rodeo is back! The 2024 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo runs February 27-March 17, 2024. However, amid all the excitement that rodeo brings, even veteran attendees know that donning those cowboy boots and braving the crowds and traffic are still daunting tasks. And when you get there, it's just so... big. We've broken down some essential information to know before planning your visit.

Check out our Rodeo Houston Guide for more posts on enjoying the rodeo with kids.


We also recommend downloading the RODEOHOUSTON app for maps, schedules, and more (available for both Apple and Android products). 

Little boy riding a sheep. Courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Houston Livestock Show Rodeo 2024: Top Tips

Catch the Houston Rodeo's Pre-Rodeo Events: Cook Off, Trail Ride, and Parade

The Houston Rodeo Cook Off, aka the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, is a huge event in its own right, featuring more than 250 teams competing for the title. The team tents are invite-only, but there are several public venues are open, including the kid-friendly carnival. The BBQ contest takes place from Thursday, February 22, 2024 - Saturday, February 24, 2024.

If you're looking for a FREE taste of some of that BBQ, head to the Rodeo Roundup at Houston City Hall, where you can get a free BBQ chopped sandwich, take in a live music show, and enjoy other fun Go Texan Day festivities.

Technically, the trail rides are not an official part of the Houston Rodeo 2024, but they are part of a tradition dating back to 1952 when men traveled on horseback from Brenham to spread word about the rodeo. Now, thousands of men and women ride across what remains of Houston's wilderness to Memorial Park. The Trail Ride is set to arrive in Memorial Park on Friday, February 23, 2024, where there will be an award ceremony at 5pm. On Saturday, February 24, 2024, prepare to arrive around 8am. for a massive Houston Rodeo Parade downtown featuring all of the horses, old-fashioned wagons, caravans, and festive floats. Check the website for maps with locations, street closures, and times to glimpse these time-honored traditions.

RELATED: Attending the Houston Rodeo Cook-Off With Kids

Carnival photo. courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Kid-Friendly Attractions at the Houston Rodeo

The carnival is an obvious hit, with traditional arcade and booth games, fun houses, and tons of different rides, including the exciting Sky Flyer, Cliff Hanger, and crowd favorite Carousel. Longtime rodeo junkies will remember an area for the tiniest cowboys and cowgirls called Kids Country, which has been renamed The Junction. It features smaller rides, games, a farm exhibit, a petting zoo, a kids' carnival, and more (bonus - this doesn't cost extra and is included in regular rodeo admission, and is home to the rodeo's BEST event, Mutton Bustin'). And finally, inside NRG Center's Hall A is AGVENTURE, which focuses on agriculture education and has lots of animal exhibits - from the birthing center to a cow-milking parlor to honey bee hives.

Saving Money: Free Activities & Cheap Admission at the Houston Rodeo

Little girl and mom petting animals. Photo courtesy Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Community Day is on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, when free admission is available to all guests visiting the grounds before noon. The celebration includes buy-one-get-one rides and games in the Junction and community activations. Family Wednesdays, on February 28 and March 13, are a great deal, too, offering free NRG Park admission for seniors and kids 12 and under until noon. You can also buy half-price carnival packs for games and rides (these things add up!) through February 24, 2024, and once you're inside, there are lots of activities, exhibits, and games that won't cost you a dime. You'll find many free activities inside the children's zone, at The Junction, at Fun on the Farm, in the petting zoo, and at the pig races; there is live entertainment at the Stars Over Texas Stage. And in terms of food, you can bring in your own snacks (except into the stadium itself). This is huge, people! 

Transportation & Parking at the Houston Rodeo

This is always tricky, so it's best to accept that no matter what route you take, you're going to be met with crowds and traffic. After you accept this, then everything becomes much less stressful. The good news is the METRORail is a great option and is free for kids ages five and under. There are multiple parking options to pick, and you can buy tickets on the platform. Another option is utilizing the park & ride, where some buses or shuttles bring you to NRG. Check out the map of participating lots and their differing rates for parking and/or riding here. If driving is your preference, there are three public parking lots to choose from, and we recommend checking out this page for maps to get the lay of the land. However, note that the parking lots cost $25 per car. And finally, the rodeo has great resources for patrons needing handicap-accessible parking options.

Entertainment at the Houston Rodeo

Every night of the rodeo, there is a different concert to enjoy. The actual rodeo competition happens before the performance: weekday rodeos start at 6:45pm,  the concerts begin around 9:00pm and weekend rodeos start at 2:45pm with the musical performances beginning around 5:00pm.

Special Accommodations

For any moms who are nursing or in need of a Family Room, there are designated Family Rooms located in the lobby of the first floor of NRG Center on the east end and inside Hall E of NRG Center near the restrooms. Additionally, outdoor Family Rooms can be found between NRG Stadium and NRG Astrodome, as well as at the exit of Fun on the Farm.

Houston Rodeo 2024 Ticket Information

You can buy tickets for just the carnival and exhibits or tickets to include the official rodeo shows and concerts.

  • Grounds admission: $20 (adults), $10 (kids ages 3-12), FREE (kids ages 2 and under) - This price includes the livestock show, shopping and exhibits, horse show and events inside the NRG Arena, and admission to the carnival (excludes individual ride and game prices and the rodeo and concert). 
  • Concert and rodeo admission: Tickets start at $25 for individual performances.
  • Season Pass: $50 (includes daily admission to the Bar-B-Que Contest, daily admission to the livestock show, and access to all public activities in NRG Park, Center, and Arena; excludes rides, games, the rodeo, and concerts).
  • Resale policy: You cannot resell season passes and regular tickets must be sold at face value.
  • Carnival rides, games, and food all cost extra.
  • All unused NRG Park Admission Tickets and Ground Season Passes will be valid during the Houston Rodeo 2024.


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